The Rock at Washington Stage Guild Monday, May 6

Since its founding in 1986, Washington Stage Guild has made its name by presenting the complete works of George Bernard Shaw and T.S. Eliot. The company rounds out the Eliot canon with its ongoing production of his final play, The Elder Statesman (shown), but it’s tossing in one more Eliot work for good measure: a staged reading of The Rock, his earliest attempt at dramatic writing. It’s a pageant play, intended to be performed at churches, but the work addresses the collapse of cultural Christianity that Eliot observed in the 1920s and ’30s. Unlike his later, prose-inspired theatrical works, The Rock is poetic; it includes a chorus of actors, harkening back to ancient Greek drama. After its completion, Eliot was so embarrassed by the work that he initially only allowed portions of it to be published. Think of it as an Eliot bootleg of sorts—or just enjoy an evening listening to the poet’s carefully crafted words.

The performance begins at 7 p.m. at the Undercroft Theatre, 900 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Pay what you can. (202) 582-0050. stageguild.org.

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