Becket, pictured in a stained glass window at Canterbury Cathedral
We hear occasionally of new verse dramas being produced on radio or on the stage but never with any great trumpeting along the lines of 'Verse drama is back!'
Many of us would think of T.S. Eliot's 'Murder in the Cathedral' as one of the last critically acclaimed verse dramas; not exactly a recent work though, is it? Verse drama simply isn't popular. It makes people uncomfortable.
Speaking verse? As a character in a play? The concept itself sounds old-fashioned and highfalutin. As though the playwright is a little too big for his/her costume drama boots. None of us are Shakespeare or Racine, after all.
So although verse drama is still being written, it tends to be sidelined whenever it resurfaces in public - nothing of any real importance, pleasantly arty and worthwhile, perhaps, but not to be lingered over by the critics.
Can we shake off that 'worthy but dull' image of the verse drama? How do we turn around the predictable 'lovely but I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole' reaction of so many producers and publishers?
Is the effort worth making, or is verse drama irretrievably dead?