“Barker’s work remains emotionally true, poetic psychologically and full of startling insights.” —The Arts Desk
“Shows Barker’s poetic talent at its most disciplined and has the feel of a contemporary classic.” —Guardian
“Accessible and stringently witty… [mixes] austere intellectual rigour and knockabout, anachronistic humour.” —Independent
“A modern study of the meaning of art and the truth of war… this play has a timeless power and truthfulness.” —The Stage
Commissioned to paint a vast canvas celebrating the triumphant Battle of Lepanto, the free-spirited Galactia creates instead a breathtaking scene of war-torn carnage. In her fierce determination to stay true to herself, she alienates the authorities and faces incarceration. Her younger lover Carpeta is approached to take over and seizes the assignment for himself.
Howard Barker’s Scenes from an Execution makes sixteenth-century Venice the setting for a fearless exploration of sexual politics and the timeless tension between personal ambition and moral responsibility, between the patron’s demands and the artist’s autonomy.
Art is opinion, and opinion is the source of all authority.
This edition includes a new essay by Howard Barker, entitled “The Sunless Garden of the Unconsolled: Some Destinations Beyond Catastrophe”
Howard Barker is an internationally renowned dramatist, whose first plays were performed at the Royal Court and by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Since 1992 his work has been presented by his own company The Wrestling School. Barker’s theatre is characterized by its poetic, non-naturalistic form and inhabits worlds of contradiction, suffering and sexual passion. Barker is also a poet and theorist of theatre, whose “Theatre of Catastrophe” defines a new form of tragedy for our times.