The trailer for this summer's McCaldin Arts performance, Vivienne, is available here, featuring recordings from the initial play-through of this new piece with composer Stephen McNeff last week. Directed by Joe Austin, and featuring mezzo Clare McCaldin, the piece explores the character of Vivienne Vivienne Haigh-Wood, TS Eliot's first wife, whose marriage was disastrous and behaviour increasingly erratic, and who was subsequently taken to an asylum.
[TS Eliot's] own sister-in-law was able to admit that while Vivienne may have ruined her husband as a man, “she made him as a poet.” This is Vivienne’s life told in a series of short scenes each containing a song. There are hints of cabaret or music hall (a favorite of both Eliots), perhaps something seedier or grander, full of Vivienne’s wit and intelligence as she finally takes charge of her own story. She wasn’t mad – though she was ill – but became increasingly desperate when rejected by Tom and his Bloomsbury friends. She, too, was a talented writer. Did she deny her own gifts and potential to support a man whose work she believed so completely?
See more on Clare's blog here.