The Auden Test
A play about a poem about a painting about a myth - and what it means to be human. A queer tale, interweaving the lives and workS of the poet W.H. Auden and the mathematician Alan Turing.
What if? W.H. Auden is recognized as one of the great English poets of the twentieth century. In “The Auden Test” we encounter him as he delivers a lecture about his work to an audience in New York City in the early 1950s. But Auden has more than just his poems on his mind.
What if he had been friends with the celebrated mathematician Alan Turing, who broke the German Enigma code during the Second World War?
What if he had just learned of Turing’s suicide, a tragedy brought on by his conviction for “gross indecency” as a homosexual man in the England of his day? How would Auden react?
“The Auden Test” marries a lecture on Auden’s famous poem “Musée des Beaux Arts” with the anguished cries of a man both saddened and enraged by the death of his friend. The play uses the imagery of Auden’s poems to address the social injustices exposed by Turing’s death; it challenges the audience to think about what it means to be human – and dares them to declare whether they too can pass Auden's Test and be considered truly human.
Written by Lawrence Aronovitch
Starring Johnny Wideman