The Long Life and Great Good Fortune of John Clare

Arts Centre
Reeves Yard, Norwich, Norfolk NR2 4PG
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WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

John is delusional. He is obsessed with Neil Diamond, pub menus but mostly the 'peasant poet' John Clare. His psychiatrist, Melody, is swotting up on the history of Clare trying to fathom the reasons behind her patient's unusual preoccupations. Meanwhile, Melody's partner, would-be TV writer and literature graduate Rafe, is fixed on his own version of the Clare legend. In their search for the truth all three people reveal some startling characteristics. We think we know all about Clare - 'innocent poet' sent to the asylum by the 'evil Skrimshire'. On one hand he was our most loved pastoral poets, 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 a man robbed of his birthright, the patsy of publishers and professionals and a lunatic unfairly locked up for his visions. Clare is remembered for his life more than his poetry - lime-burner, labourer, womaniser, walker, depressive.