What’s Sweet and Proper

Stage play premiered June 9, 2017, the Sheen Center, New York City • Producer: Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P., Blackfriars Repertory Theatre • Director: Peter Dobbins, Storm Theatre Company • Assistant Director: Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P. • Choreographer: Jennifer Delac • Cast: Nicholas Carrière (Sassoon), Sarah Naughton (Death), Michael Raver (Owen)

Joseph Pearce has created what he calls a “verse tapestry,” a weaving together of the poetry of Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, two English poets whose experiences in World War I brought them to profound anger and despondency, each of them expressing his pain in some of the finest poetry of the 20th century.  Pearce also weaves into his “tapestry” poetry by Thomas Gray, Gerard Manley Hopkins, T.S. Eliot, G.K. Chesterton, Rupert Brooke, Edith Sitwell, some of the playwright’s own verse, and a powerful selection of prose from Hilaire Belloc that comes at a crucial moment in the drama.

Pearce’s poetry is quite good and very different in style and meter from the poetry of the others.  Pearce makes the very wise choice of having only one character voice his own verse—the character of Death, who weaves her way through this tapestry in a manner that is enticing on the page and unforgettable on the stage.

The stage production of Death...