Waste Land

by  Don Nigro

Full Length Play, Drama  /  4m, 3f

The events leading up to and immediately following the creation of the most influential poem of the twentieth century, T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land,are the background of this funny and moving investigation of Eliot's life, loves, friendships, and torments.

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Waste Land

by  Don Nigro

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    4m, 3f
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

The events leading up to and immediately following the creation of the most influential poem of the twentieth century, T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, are the background of this funny and moving investigation of Eliot's life, loves, friendships, and torments, centering on his relationship with his troubled and frustrated wife, Vivienne, and his loyal but seriously demented friend, the poet Ezra Pound, as well as their relationships to other legends of modernism: James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, and Vivienne's lover, the philosopher Bertrand Russell. Vivienne was extremely supportive and absolutely critical to Eliot's development as a person and an artist, but she was also insecure and unstable, a situation which was only made worse by Eliot's private emotional and sexual demons. Their love was real, their marriage tragic, their fates wildly different, as Eliot moved on to international fame and a happy second marriage, while Vivienne languished in the madhouse to which Eliot had committed her. The troubled geniuses of the early twentieth century, all complex and often self-contradictory people, move in and out of their troubled lives: the funny, compassionate, scattered, bigoted, demented Pound, who was so kind and generous to other writers, but who descended into despicable radio broadcasts from Fascist Italy, imprisonment in a cage, charges of treason, and a madhouse; the neurotic and self-obsessed Joyce, author of Ulysses, the great book of the century, but chronically impoverished, terrified of thunderstorms, and with a mad daughter himself; the brilliant, jealous, suicidal Virginia Woolf, a good friend who described Vivienne as a bag of ferrets around Eliot's neck; the lecherous Russell, and the wickedly funny but compassionate Gertrude Stein, all come alive in Eliot's chaotic life as the poem forms in his head. Part of Nigro's series of plays about the great Moderns that includes Anima Mundi, Lucia Mad, What Shall I Do For Pretty Girls? and Lost Generation.
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Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1920s
  • Setting: A fragmented set. Parts of rooms and streets in London, Paris and elsewhere. 

Casting

4m, 3f
VIVIENNE ELIOT 
T. S. ELIOT
EZRA POUND
BERTIE RUSSELL/ W. L. JANES
JAMES JOYCE
MRS. PORTER/ MISS STEIN/ MOTHER ELIOT
VIRGINAIA WOOLF

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Cast Attributes

  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)

Resources

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Authors

Don Nigro

Don Nigro is among the most frequently published and widely produced playwrights in the world and has continued to build a deeply interrelated and diverse body of dramatic literature, employing a wide variety of dramatic conventions and styles of presentation. He has written monologues and epics, spare realistic dramas ...

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