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Four Quartets

Four Quartets

London
1 Hour 15 Minutes (no. interval)
12+
Tickets from £23
Prices you'll brag about

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About Four Quartets

Ralph Fiennes delivers an extraordinary tour de force in T S Eliot’s final masterpiece which offers four interwoven meditations on the nature of time, faith and the quest for spiritual enlightenment. Mostly written during the Second World War when the closure of the playhouses during the Blitz interrupted Eliot’s work in theatre, Four Quartets contains some of the most exquisite and unforgettable reflections upon surviving periods of national crisis.

Tell Me More

Ralph Fiennes is bringing his extraordinary performance of T .S. Eliot’s masterwork to the West End. This powerful recitation of modernist poetry began life at Theatre Royal Bath and toured the UK. Now, it’s coming to London’s Harold Pinter Theatre, and it’s a tour-de-force turn from one of our greatest thespians. Plan your trip now and book your Four Quartets tickets.

Eliot’s poem offers dazzling meditations on the big existential questions, like our relationship with time, the universe, faith and the divine. It was coloured by the Second World War, including the poet’s own experiences as a watchman during the Blitz, and so also digs into how our nation might survive such a conflict and emerge from it — potentially with a new religious understanding.

Fiennes, who created, directs and stars in this Four Quartets play, has spoken about how it struck him anew during the pandemic, as we all grappled with what time meant in that strange, suspended year, and looked for new meaning in our disrupted lives. He also gave incredible support to regional theatre by touring the play around the country, beginning at Theatre Royal Bath. Now, we get a very welcome Four Quartets West End run.

Similarly to the regional tour, the Four Quartets London run will benefit from design by Hildegard Bechtler, lighting design by Tim Lutkin, sound design by Christopher Shutt, and creative production from James Dacre. All are supporting Fiennes’s vision, and this is a rare opportunity to see the incredible actor hold the stage solo for 75 minutes. Don’t miss out: make sure you book your Four Quartets tickets without delay.

What to Watch For

  • This translation of Eliot’s poetry to stage is apt, as it was created in the period where he was moving into playwriting. In fact, there’s a definite overlap between one of the four sections, Burnt Norton, and Eliot’s play Murder in the Cathedral: both focus on time, and conclude that, ultimately, it’s the present moment which really matters.
  • There are numerous references to other art works, faiths and artistic traditions in Four Quartets. They include Dante’s Divine Comedy, Hindu stories like those of the Mahabharata, the philosophy of St Augustine, and Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love. The Four Quartets poem is in active conversation with other great thinkers and writers.
  • This isn’t the first time that Fiennes has tackled Four Quartets. It’s a childhood favourite, and he previously recorded an audiobook version of it. Eliot himself also recorded an audio version, as did acting titans like John Gielgud, Alec Guiness and Jeremy Irons. But this is the first full stage version of Four Quartets.
  • Music is a recurring motif in Eliot’s work; he even gave a lecture entitled The Music of Poetry in 1942. Four Quartets operates rather like a musical work, in that it has ‘themes’ which appear and intertwine in every part, even though each of the four sections is distinct in terms of its setting and subject. There is also an implied soundscape in the poem, drawn out by Christopher Shutt’s sound design - from crashing waves to the horror of the Blitz.
  • The sound design in Four Quartets is also evoked in the production via an old-fashioned radio mic, suggesting wartime broadcasts; there’s even a fragment of Benny Goodman’s Don’t Be That Way. And, remember, war meant that our theatres were plunged into darkness, just as they have been during the Covid crisis. One unforgettable moment in the show gives us a taste of that 1940s blackout.
Run time

1 Hour 15 Minutes (no. interval)

Start date

November 18th, 2021

End date

December 18th, 2021

Venue

Harold Pinter Theatre

Tickets from £23
Prices you'll brag about

We're your one-stop shop for everything theatre. We work with theatre partners from around the world to bring you unbeatable prices for must-see shows.

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