The Rock was a pageant play with words by T. S. Eliot and music by Martin Shaw, first performed at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London on 28 May 1934. I came across excerpts from the play in the recently released The Poems of T. S. Eliot: Volume I: Collected and Uncollected Poems and was taken aback by their trenchant wisdom and prescience relative to modern-day attitudes toward the church. It is always helpful to locate what feel like unique contemporary conditions within older arcs of history. Positivism was on the rise in Eliot’s day, fueling a growing confidence in most Western societies that science, technology, and capitalism would inexorably usher in a new era of human flourishing and enlightenment. This was accompanied by a sense, similar to today, that the church was archaic and vestigial.
One chorus in particular seems to capture the inquiry that estuaries is currently exploring. This is the text we explore in the video below, experimenting with alternate modes of representation in an effort to unpack the import of these words for our ourselves and our generation.
-Christian Gonzalez Ho