Alan Bennett’s play The Habit of Art, first performed at the National Theatre in 2009, is a play within a play.
The stage is set as a seedy rehearsal room with the principal players having a “run through” with the director absent, the writer present and the assistant stage manager filling in for two actors who are tied up somewhere in a matinee.
Ostensibly, the drama being rehearsed is about a fictional meeting between the poet, W H Auden and the composer Benjamin Britten. However, it becomes a discussion about writing, acting and the exploitation of rent boys. And what it’s like to be one.