The Wasteland

Brett Steel | Jude Elliot

T.S Eliot’s 1922 poem The Waste Land will be investigated and explored as a site-specific theatre production in a barber-shop. The idea is to stage the production in the chamber confines of a real working barber’s lounge. Sweeney, a minor character in the poem, would become the protagonist. This is the rise of Sweeney Todd (The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) as he battles with his own demons to find his place in society after the Great War has ended. Narrated by Tiresias (Maria Lurighi) the idea is to create a hybrid theatre production involving music, spoken word, singing and most importantly to aim to create a contemporary audience experience that would be intimate, dark and unrestrained, as the poem was felt to be when it was written post World War I. The Waste Land is frequently hailed as one of the most important modernist poems of the 20th century. More than 90 years after it was written it still sounds and feels remarkably contemporary. Live performance of poetry, like music, can be richly theatrical and we believe an intimate staging of this text, in a chamber-like atmosphere, for 25 people at a time, could be an incredibly rich theatrical experience and a very exciting prospect to create. Three Thirds Barber Shop in Hampden Road, Battery Point has agreed to the use of their venue for the Hobart production.