Howard Barker's form of tragedy - his Theatre of Catastrophe - is a speculation on the way individuals dislocated by social or personal crises
make meaning from their pain, sometimes willing their own extinction, sometimes altering the terms on which they might continue to exist. Their actions are not judged and no attempt is made to influence or console.
In Harrowing and Uplifting Interviews, a gifted musician is banished to the remotest region of an empire by an autocrat he had complacently regarded as a patron and a friend. A moral and intellectual duel is played out over the distance of a thousand miles.
In the Depths of Dead Love is set in a feudal China. A similarly exiled man scrapes a living by renting out his peculiar property - a bottomless well - to aspiring suicides. Among these is a married couple who exert an appalling influence over him. As in all great tragedy, an uncomfortable vein of comedy runs through the work, not to relieve but to intensify its contradictions...
In the Cloth Cathedral describes the rise of an assassin, the killer of an archbishop who he condemns for preaching religion without God. His prosecutor, a brilliant but tormented lawyer, finds himself seduced by the integrity of the criminal's character, ending up as his accomplice. One of the finest discordant duets in Barker's work, the warring protagonists are surrounded by a chorus of the vengeful, the forgiving, and the dead...
More No Still is set in yet deeper chaos. The female protagonist Sway takes refuge from the nausea of debate by substituting practised poses for articulated speech. In her search for a model society, she is accompanied by an escaped criminal with whom she finds a city of rampant roses and draconian laws. She falls in love for the first time - not with the city's governor, a reactionary priest - but with his infant self who exists simultaneously and in the same dimension. Barker's capacity for meditation and the most daring theatrical imagination are here combined with particular intensity.
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|Size: ||423 KB|
|Publisher: ||Oberon Books|
|Date published: || 2016|
|ISBN: ||9781783193127 (DRM-EPUB)|
|Read Aloud: ||not allowed|