Once again I’ve neglected for a long time to post anything here, part of the explanation being that I was caught up in so many activities I didn’t stop to think about writing about them. Highlights would have included attending, with Marina Warner, a play titled Tiger Country, by the new playwright Nina Raine, whose father Craig Raine, the poet and critic, also a professor at Oxford, I met many years ago at Amy Clampitt's apartment in New York. The play is set in a large London hospital and presents some of the difficulties of any such institution working under current rules established by the National Health Service.
Other plays seen: a revival of Noël Coward’s playlet Red Peppers, followed by his short play Still Life, at Pentameters Theatre, which will produce my play Lowell’s Bedlam this April. Also, Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour, at the Comedy Theatre, whose cast included stars Ellen Burstyn ad Keira Knightley.
Invited by Kathryn Maris, I attended the award ceremony for the T.S. Eliot Prize, held this year at the Wallace Collection (not in the galleries themselves, but in the covered courtyard). You can never say much at these gatherings, but at least it was a chance to greet poet friends like Don Paterson, Elaine Feinstein, Colette Bryce, and Ruth Fainlight, and to meet for the first time Robin Robertson and Lavinia Greenlaw. Anne Stevenson, the head of the prize committee, announced that the winner was Derek Walcott (not present), and discussed the virtues of his magisterial collection White Egrets. I spoke to Anne afterwards, and we calculated that we hadn’t seen each other since 1986, at a time when she was still living in here London, in Belsize Park. That’s how, insensibly, a quarter century can pass.
|The Queens College, Oxford|
I mentioned the upcoming production of my play Lowell’s Bedlam and am happy to announce that rehearsals for it have now begun. The cast is as follows:
Theresa Brockway Celeste Haydon
David Manson Robert Lowell
Hannah Mercer Elizabeth Bishop
Roger Sansom Dick Jaffee
The director is Daniel Ricken, and the producer is Leonie Scott- Matthews.
Bookings can be made at http://www.pentameters.co.uk/index.html