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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  LATEST LONDON NEWS

at the Richmond Theatre

Published March 3 2009

London's Orange Tree theatre is to stage the world premiere of a lost play by the late British poet laureate Ted Hughes.

The Story of Vasco, which begins performances at the Richmond theatre on March 25, is a free verse adaptation of Georges Schehade's French anti-war play, which was first seen in Paris in 1957 at the height of France's war in Algeria.

The story is set in a European town whose men have gone off to fight, except for Vasco, the town's timid barber who inadvertently agrees to a dangerous mission.

Hughes undertook his version of the story ten years later, under commission from Sadler's Wells to provide source material for a libretto. Sections of his work informed the libretto for a 1974 opera by the composer Gordon Crosse.

However the complete text of Hughes's adaptation featuring classic Hughes imagery such as the crow, has never been published or performed.

Director Adam Barnard discovered that the manuscript was among the poet's papers archived at Atlanta's Emory University. Barnard then asked the university to send him copies of the handwritten and typed manuscript.

In a statement Barnard said, "I'll never forget the moment I opened the box from America containing the full set of papers. There was page after page of material, much of it written in Hughes's own hand, that no one had seen for years. Hughes's imagination was clearly sparked by the source material, but his is a very free adaptation. While the original is in prose, his is in verse, and while he roughly follows Schehade's story, the dialogue is substantially different.&rdquo

For more information on The Story of Vasco, please call (0)208 940 1041


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