Five Poet Plays
Dickinson: The Secret Story of Emily Dickinson-- The story of Emily Dickinson, told primarily as a one night conversation
(perhaps even confrontation) between the playwright and the poet. To learn more about this play, Dickinson
Eliot: His Tortured Wasteland-- The story of T.S. Eliot, told in the form of a surrealistic Broadway style musical reminiscent of a
cross between Moulin Rouge and Cabaret. Libretto and lyrics by William Roetzheim, music by the Czech composer Vladimir
Spasojevic. This musical also deals with issues of sexual identity. To learn more about this play, Eliot
Pound: The Poet on Trial-- This play gives Ezra Pound his trial on charges of treason that the government never permitted. This
play also deals with issues of freedom of speech, economic theory with an emphasis on the Social Credit movement of the
1930s, and prejudice with an emphasis on anti-Semitism. To learn more about this play, Pound
Lowell: Liberating Modernism-- The story of Amy Lowell, told in the form of a drawing room comedy. The focus of this play is on
the transition from things traditional to things “modern,” including poetry, music, art, industrial art, and sexual mores’. The
destruction of things traditional to make way for things new is a common theme. The play also deals with issues of woman’s
rights and gay rights. to learn more about this play, Lowell
Frost: The Return of the Master-- The story of Robert Frost, told as if he has come back from the dead to visit the stage for
another of his famous readings and chats with the audience. This play also deals with issues of mental illness. To learn more
about this play, Frost
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N.I.C.E.: A poignant comedy that uses the National Health care debate as a
springboard to explore issues surrounding the value of human life. N.I.C.E.
Bonzo: A slapstick romantic comedy about love trying to grow in a
dysfunctional family. Bonzo
Five Poet Plays: "Five Poet Plays" is a series of loosely integrated full-length
plays about the five poets at the turn of the 20th Century who did the most to set
the direction of modern poetry through the remainder of that Century. Each play
is named after the last name of the poet involved, Dickinson, Eliot, Lowell, Frost,
and Pound. The plays integrate biographical information about the poets with
their poetic work to offer the audience greater insight into them as individuals,
into their poetry, and into the issues that surrounded them. Each of the plays is
described in more detail below.
PLAYWRIGHT (speaking to the spirit of Emily Dickinson)...
but, with you, there are as many answers as there are people
William Roetzheim's Five Poet Plays is a clever integration of five full-length plays imaginatively shaped to
artistically render the lives of five poets who he believes set the direction of 20th Century poetry: Ezra Pound,
Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost and Amy Lowell.
Each of the five plays has a unique style, which effectively contributes to the diverse characterizations Roetzheim
has intensively crafted to bring five distinct personalities alive on the page and ultimately the stage.
Pound... what the ever lovin' ehill is going through the Serbo-Croatian head of this god damned putrid seahorse
of a printer?
Frost... everyone's sanity hangs by a thread. It is up to each of us to save ourselves unaided.
Lowell... I was brought up like a man, and I'm glad for that--though I sometimes wish I had been born a man, just
to be complete about it.
Eliot...the future is a faded and crushed flower, a wistful regret of those who are no longer here to regret.
Emily... they shut me up in prose, as when a little girl they put me in the closet, because they liked me "Still."
Additionally, Roetzheim's extensive research, covering the biographical and historical context of the lives of each
of the five writers, was drawn from writing, documents, letters, diaries, radio broadcast recordings, transcripts
etc. and then seamlessly merged into the engaging dramatic action of all five plays.
The distinctive creative forms and honest portrayals featured in each of Roetzheim's Five Poet Plays, will not
only offer audiences rich insights into the respective poetic and literary works and lives of each of these
extraordinary talents, but in much the same way a single poem can capture the essence of its poet, each of the
five plays captures the talent and essence of Roetzheim.
Founder Regina Roetzheim