THEATRE / Between the lines: Actor Michael Maloney on the cool charm of T S Eliot's verse

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
'The Host with someone indistinct / Converses at the door apart / The Nightingales are singing near / The Convent of the Sacred Heart'

From 'Sweeney Among The Nightingales' by T S Eliot

'THIS is the poem I would stand and read aloud at summer holiday drama courses while still at school. I think I started doing this at age 10. I hadn't a clue what it meant then and have never really tried to define it since. Its sinisterness corresponds with mine. There is a style here that is peculiar to the Anglo psyche. A subterranean menace never expressed, always suppressed. I imagine hot-bloods in the world to be left cold by this writing, but for Roman Catholics of the British Isles and perhaps just for plain Christians, this poem is a must]'

Michael Maloney is currently playing Romeo in David Leveaux's production of 'Romeo & Juliet' at the Barbican Theatre and John Frankford in 'A Woman Killed By Kindness' at The Pit.

(Photograph omitted)