Soldier turns Afghanistan near-death experience into stage career
WARNING: The audio documentary attached to this story contains extensive profanity
WARNING: The audio documentary attached to this story, "The Two Worlds of Cassidy L.," contains extensive profanity.
A lance corporal from Newfoundland has turned a near-death experience in Afghanistan into a new career on stage.
Cassidy Little, who lost his leg in the war, is the lead actor in a provocative new work of experimental theatre that has played to packed houses and won critical acclaim across England. The play, The Two Worlds of Charlie F., opens on Feb. 25 at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto.
CBC radio's The Sunday Edition has produced a special documentary about the play, called The Two Worlds of Cassidy L., but due to profanity in the item CBC's language policy prevents the airing of the documentary in the show's regular time slot and before 9 p.m. CBC is able to post the audio documentary on the show's website, as a link from the player at the top of this story, and it will also air on The Sunday Edition around midnight on Feb. 17.
It was the time of my life. I was living the dream, the Royal Marine commandos. I had responsibility, I had a job to do, I did every patrol that I possibly could. I was on the ground every day. And then I was blown up.- Cassidy Little
Cassidy Little grew up in St. John’s and had his heart set on being a performer, but an injury cut short a promising career as a dancer. In an effort to re-invent himself, he enlisted in the British Royal Marines - following in the footsteps of his father who had served in the military. He was sent to Afghanistan.
“To be fair, it was the time of my life. I was living the dream, the Royal Marine commandos. I had responsibility, I had a job to do, I did every patrol that I possibly could. I was on the ground every day,” said Little. “And then I was blown up.”
His leg was ripped off in the explosion, he sustained multiple additional injuries and was kept in a medically-induced coma for two weeks at Headly Court, a rehabilitation centre in England for soldiers.
Injured and wounded military personnel are the majority of the cast of The Two Worlds of Charlie F., which weaves together the stories of soldiers before, during and after the war.
“What the show has done for us is actually given us an excuse to communicate about the trauma,” said Little. “It’s one of the most therapeutic things I’ve done in my entire life.”
WARNING: The play and the documentary The Two Worlds of Cassidy L. contain many expletives, reflecting the gritty language and harsh realities of these soldiers’ lives. You can listen to the documentary here on The Sunday Edition's website.