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  • A Recitation of TS Eliot’s “Four Quartets” from Memory

    John Farrell

    John Farrell, Artistic Director of Figures of Speech Theatre in Freeport, Maine, will perform a recitation of T.S. Eliot’s renowned Four Quartets completely from memory.

    First undertaken in 2011 with permission — rarely granted — from Eliot’s estate, John Farrell’s recitation of Four Quartets affords audiences an opportunity to immerse themselves in Eliot’s literary masterpiece, a complex, deeply moving meditation on time, memory, and experience itself. Farrell has performed the poems throughout the U.S. and Canada.

    Eliot completed Four Quartets in 1941, as Britain slid into the abyss of World War II, and he feared that civilization itself might perish in the coming years. Writing at the height of his artistic powers, Eliot packed into the suite of poems a summation of his views on poetry and art, on mystical experience, and on the never-ceasing search for the divine.

    “Unlike encountering the poems on the page,” says Farrell, “hearing them spoken from memory brings people a complex and nuanced work in a very direct way. At the same time, I bring an actor’s sensibility to the text and a commitment to delivering the poems in a way that allows the poetry to speak for itself.”

    Figures of Speech Theatre, co-founded by Farrell and his wife, Carol Farrell, has toured the world for more than 35 years with original works created at the intersection of drama, poetry, sculpture and dance. The company has performed in venues including the New Victory Theater, the Smithsonian Institution, the Kennedy Center, and Tokyo’s International House. In 1999 the Farrells were among five American artists awarded Creative Artist Fellowships from the Japan-United States Friendship Commission, allowing them to spend six months in Japan studying Japanese theater, textiles and gardens.

    More information about Figures of Speech Theatre is available on their website:

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