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February 12 , 2009

The Elder Statesman


T. S. Eliot's last play, drafted originally in 1955 but not completed until three years later. Lord Claverton, an eminent former cabinet minister and banker, is helped to confront his past by the love of his daughter, his Antigone.

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April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain . . . Published in 1922, The Waste Land was the most revolutionary poem of its time, offering a devastating vision of modern civilisation which has lost none of its power as we enter a new century.

The dialogue in The Elder Statesman, the love scenes in particular, contain some of Eliot's most tender and expressive writing for the theatre. The play was first performed at the Edinburgh Festival in 1958.

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