Stark Sands; A Soldier on Stage
Stark Sands has recently become one of Broadways brightest stars over the recent years starting in 2001 to present day. As a stage and screen actor, Sands has been climbing his way to fame in the productions Journey’s End (the revival) where he received a Tony nomination for Best Actor, American Idiot the musical, and Kinky Boots the musical where he again received a Tony nomination for his lead role. His screen appearances include Six Feet Under, Daphne, Pack of Dogs, Die, Mommie Die, and Inside LLewyn Davis. In many of these productions Stark Sands has taken on the roll of a U.S. Soldier braving war. Sands role in Journey’s End acts as a moral booster supporting troops who served in the First World War by showing bravery, sacrifice, and endurance.
The play Journey’s End is quoted to be a “human drama”. The play shows the struggle of soldiers in the trenches of World War I where Stark Sands in his role of Raleigh demonstrates the bravery these men had to put forth to survive. Sands’ character with the others has to brave the fact that leaving the trenches could mean that they may never return back to their fellow troops and let alone see home again though Brittan’s trenches during the First World War were far from safe themselves. Soldiers enduring the trenches showed bravery beyond compare. Sands’ character Raleigh is an 18-year-old fresh out of high school that goes into the war with the bravery that comes in one’s pride for serving their country. He longs to be a hero just like some of the others he is asked to serve with that were heroes for him back at home before the war. In an interview with Broadway Blat, Stark Sands explains how he relates to his character. He explains to us how he too in his life has had heroes he looked up to and the chance to even be noticed by them, let alone participate in something with those he looked up to, establishes a sense of satisfaction and bravery within himself. In Act III scene I, Sands’ character Raleigh demonstrates another kind of bravery with his fellow soldier Osborne. They are talking about home before they raid the German line and complete the mission of capturing a German soldier. The smoke bombs are fired and the German soldier is captured but it is not without the bravery of these soldiers risking their lives. Osborne is killed in the effort although Raleigh survives. Sands shows through his character the bravery one puts forth in war for the prospect of returning home, even if it means losing your own life or the possibility of a friend’s among enemy lines. The bravery Sand’s portrays in his character acts as a moral booster towards those viewing this human experience. Sands’ portrayals of bravery the soldiers put forth on the war front draws the audience to have respect for soldiers and reveals the truth of what it takes to have that bravery in one’s moral choices not only in war but in life itself.
The act of sacrifice can also boost one’s moral and their decisions they make in life. Sacrifice can come at a heavy cost in war but is often known to be worth it in the eyes of a soldier making their sacrifices for the lives they save and the freedom of their country. In Act II scene I of Journey’s End Raleigh and Osborn talk about school and the rugby teams the two characters played on. Osborn points out how that past life is now useless to remember and think about. Sands’ takes this moment to show the sacrifice his character has made by giving up his comfortable life to join the war. Sands’ doesn’t see Raleigh as one who would have made his sacrifice to see the life he left at home useless, he is proud of the sacrifice that he made. This small display of sacrifice that Sands’ puts forth in his character acts as a moral booster by showing how certain sacrifices are made for the better good. Another sacrifice Sands’ and his character go through in the play is the scene where we learn that Raleigh’s spine has been damaged after the German attack on the trenches and no longer has the use of his legs. Later when we see Sands on stage approaching his character’s death. His character explains how he is growing cold and that darkness is falling over him. Sands knows that his character sacrificed his life and lost it for the efforts of freedom in war and shows this performance in his character’s last moments of life. Though the death of Raleigh shows yet another soldier who tragically lost their life in the pursuits of war, Sands’ portrayal of Raleigh and his attitude towards the worth of sacrifice can show how one’s life can be worth the lives of a nation and how sometimes it is the right choice to be made; another great example of a moral booster.
Endurance as a moral booster is another great portrayal Sands put forth in his character of Raleigh. After the death of Osborne, Raleigh sees his higher ranked officers drinking and feels that they do not care about the death of their fallen soldier. Raleigh makes the decision to eat with those who are lower in rank than him. This offends one of his fellow officers. Sands character admits that he cannot eat and drink with his fellow officers knowing his best friend in war is dead and not being honored. The fellow officer admits that he drinks to cope with death of soldiers around him. As the scene continues, Sands shows the endurance to fight to the end for his character’s friend and for the other soldiers fighting in the war. Endurance was a huge part of the soldier’s continuing strives to win and survive the war. There is so much to sacrifice and to fight for and none of it could be done without dedication and endurance. Sands made sure that his character’s decision to endure the war honorably and not see people fighting beside him as people who are below him in rank was a moral booster towards making decisions to see people for who they are and not their statuses. Everyone there is fighting for the same causes and they all must endure to the end and not give up. Sands showed his character fought for honorable endurance and saw drinking as a dishonorable way out of the reality they were facing.
Journey’s End was only one of the many shows that gave Stark Sands the opportunity to play a soldier fighting tragic and brutal wars. Through his character of Raleigh, Sands was able to be an example of a moral booster to an audience by showing how to make the right over wrong decisions when showing bravery, sacrifice, and endurance in war.
Journey’s End by R. C. Sheriff