Actors are rehearsing a play called Caliban's Day at the National Theatre about Benjamin Britten, sailing uncomfortably close to the wind with his new opera Death in Venice, who is seeking advice from his former collaborator and friend, W H Auden. During this imagined meeting in 1973, their first for twenty-five years, they are observed and interrupted by, amongst others, their future biographer and a young man from the local bus station.
Alan Bennett's play is as much about the theatre as it is about poetry or music. It looks at the unsettling desires of two difficult men, and at the ethics of biography. It reflects on growing old, on creativity and inspiration, and on persisting when all passion's spent: ultimately, on the habit of art.