“Four Quartets: Variations,” revolving around T. S. Eliot’s inimitable sequence Four Quartets, is a theatrical, musical and poetic tour de force. Moored by the performances of four vocalizing actors and four poets interacting with excerpted and remixed text of Eliot’s Four Quartets, the project also features byways into performance sets by the Bryant Park Quartet (string quartet) and The Guidonian Hand (trombone quartet), as well as guest artists Iktus Percussion Quartet, which expand the musical reaches and correspondences of the poem. Emphasizing the profundity and structural revelations of Eliot’s book-length text, the actors and musicians surround the poets’ recitations with extended techniques of all varieties, from improbable instrumental sounds to extremes of vocal and improvisatory production, letting the text re-echo in time past, time present, and time future. Fare forward, voyagers.
The quartet of actors are Marya Lowry, Phil Timberlake, Corianna Moffatt, and Nate Speare, while participating poets include Thalia Field, R. Dwayne Betts, Cathy Park Hong, Katie Ford, Major Jackson, Paige Ackerson-Kiely, Jon Woodward, and Oni Buchanan.
Grateful thanks to the following individuals for their support in producing this project:
Sponsors: Colleen Hovey and Chris Bator, Sirkku Kontinnen and Harri Kytömaa
Contributors: Robin Welte and Art Murray, Paula and Jack Barthel, David and Joella Hricik, Tom and Debbie Bross, Greta and Bob Ingraham, Jan Pechenik, Jaqueth Hutchinson