A play that sets Clare free from the story of his life
Written by Tony Ramsay and directed by Ivan Cutting.
A fifty-minute play, commissioned by John Clare Cottage, exploring the facts and myths about the life and health of England's most loved ‘peasant poet'."John" is in a secure unit and believes he is John Clare. His psychiatrist, Amita, is swotting up on the history of the poet trying to fathom the reasons behind her patient's delusion. Meanwhile, Amita's partner, television producer Rafe, clings to his own version of the Clare legend. In their search for the real story all three characters reveal some startling truths about themselves.
We think we know all about Clare - ‘innocent poet' sent to the asylum by the ‘evil Skrimshire'. On the one hand he was an admired chronicler of change and recorder of nature, an eco-warrior for his time, railing against the enclosure land-grabbers. But we also see him as someone robbed of his birthright, the patsy of publishers and professionals and a madman unfairly locked up for his visions.
Clare is remembered for his life more than his poetry - lime-burner, labourer, womaniser, walker, visionary lunatic - with his experiences increasingly used as a yardstick for our own issues. But, in Tony Ramsay's play, a new John Clare emerges, set free from the story of his life.