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I Saw Myself 9-19 April 2008   

In 2007, Arts Council England refused further funding to the company and after 20 years of cutting edge work we faced closure. However, a US fan determined to see our ground breaking work continue pledged to replace that funding for the next three years and our first production with this support was I Saw Myself

Sleev, a rich and promiscuous woman wants to confess her scandalous sexual history to a world that has never dared acknowledge it…

ISM Photo1 Sllev & Club The men are at war. The women weave a great tapestry portraying the conflict. The death of Sleev's husband in battle compels her to insinuate her sexual adventures into the tapestry, provoking fear and hostility in all those around her...

In her struggle to assert the right to depict her personal experience
Howard Barker has created another gloriously self-willed, erotic and fascinating character.

This thought-provoking work explores the role of the mirror, the autobiography and the self-portrait in an intriguing and unpredictable way.

ISM Photo3 NickHoward Barker's last work on the role and responsibility of the artist in society was the internationally acclaimed Scenes From An Execution. Here this theme is further explored with the artist character ferociously denying the importance of depicting the collective experience to insist on her right to tell her own story. Her punishment is cruel but her courage never deserts her. In her struggle to survive war and social hostility, and her determination to complete her individual vision of events, Howard Barker has created his most outstanding female character since Gertrude The Cry.

I Saw Myself ImageThe intention in this production will be to accumulate dramatic pressure in the struggle of Sleev against the hostility of those around her and her increasing blindness, set against the rush to complete the tapestry before the approaching war reaches the village and threatens its destruction. We will convey the essence of the human emotional truth at the heart of each moment without recourse to naturalistic stage values. Rather we want to use the unique interaction between actor and audience only available in a live performance to directly convey the emotional power of each moment to that audience.

I Saw Myself was our 20th birthday year production.

9 - 19 April 2008  
Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre London  

Photos: Top and Mid: Simon Kane     Bottom: Robert Workman

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Howard Barker's latest book:
A Style And Its Origins

A commentry on the development of Howard Barker's theatre aesthetic over the past 20 years
Published by Oberon Books
+44 20 7607 3637