Lavinia Greenlaw Preview for Culture Whisper
POETRY: Lavinia Greenlaw - Troilus and Criseyde: A Double Sorrow. £12/£6
Thursday 27 February to Saturday 1 March at 7.45pm
Spirit Level at Royal Festival Hall
Boy meets girl, they fall in love ... and then what? From Shakespeare’s famous “star-crossed” lovers, to the romantic twists and turns of a soap opera plot: we will never stop being fascinated by romantic love, sex - and betrayal.
The poet Chaucer knew this only too well when, in the 1380s, he composed Troilus and Criseyde, which re-tells the tragic tale of two lovers from warring factions in a poem many believe to be his finest.
The passionate young lovers also captured Shakespeare’s imagination and were re-cast in his darker adaptation - Troilus and Cressida.
And now renowned poet Lavinia Greenlaw has followed in the footsteps of these literary giants with her own take on the verse drama that promises to be as compelling as the original.
Lavinia Greenlaw burst onto the UK poetry scene in the 1990s with her precise, musical poetry that has won a string of awards and garnered widespead praise from critics in the last 25 years.
This new reading is adapted from her new book, A Double Sorrow, billed by her publishers Faber & Faber as a “pin-point retelling” that is neither a translation nor strictly a “version” of Chaucer's work, but instead “creates something new: a sequence of glimpses from the medieval poem that refine the psychological drama of the classical story.”
Writing in seven-line vignettes, Greenlaw has managed to bring Troilus and Criseyde bang up to date for a 21st century audience while remaining true to his original, questing and slyly humourous spirit.
We suggest you don’t miss out on this special premiere, directed by James Runcie, which, in Greenlaw’s hands, is certain to be as captivating as the indomitable spirit of Chaucer’s lines composed over 650 years ago.
Never, it seems, have the vagaries of the human heart been so relevant - or so true.
A Double Sorrow - Troilus and Criseyde is published by Faber & Faber in February 2014.