About "The Long Life & Great Good Fortune of John Clare"
We think we know all about John Clare - 'innocent poet' sent to the asylum by the evil Doctor Skrimshire'.
On the one hand he was an admired chronicler of change and recorder of Nature, an eco-warrior for his time, railing against the enclosure land-grabbers. But we also see him as someone robbed of his birthright, the patsy of publishers and professionals and a madman unfairly locked up for his visions.
Clare is remembered for his life more than his poetry - lime-burner, labourer, womaniser, walker, visionary lunatic - with his experiences increasingly used as a yardstick for our own issues. But, in Tony Ramsay's play, a new John Clare emerges, set free from the story of his life.