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The Seduction Of Almighty God
By The Boy Priest Loftus In The Abbey of Calcetto,1539

October-November 2006

This disturbing Howard Barker play characteristically uses re-imagined events ostensibly set in a historical context to explore the human experience of a major moral issue with a powerful contemporary resonance.

The result is inauthentic in documentary terms but filled with the arguments and atmosphere of its day in a way that makes it uncannilly relevant to our own time with its search for a spiritual identity during a time of moral uncertainty.

The Seduction of Almighty God is set during the dissolution of the monasteries, a critical moment in the history of the English priesthood. The loss of faith and cynical corruption that characterised the priests of this period is unexpectedly challenged by the arrival of a young man with an unsullied and passionate belief in God.

Taken in by a pitying abbot, the boy Loftus gradually acquires a huge moral ascendancy over the few priests left in the Abbey of Calcetto through the intensity and purity of his faith. With mounting alarm they discover that he possesses the power of life and death over others. This power enables Loftus to rid the abbey of government agents who pester it but gradually it corrupts him.

Barker's boy priest is a portrait of an adolescent empowered by his absolute belief in what he thinks he knows but pained to find it debased by cynical compromisers for whom faith is a convenient cloak for more selfish personal agendas.

Powerful poetic language builds a fast moving and unpredictable tale of extreme religious conviction, moral decay, savage revenge, sexuality and death. Howard Barker invents a world of shocking and universal metaphor in a place that might be anywhere struggling with the rise of extreme belief and the dangerous distorted power it unleashes.

  'A welcome return to form for The Wrestling School…
a great piece of theatre by any standard.'

                                                              Culture Wars

Seduction was directed by French theatre director, Guillaume Dujardin, who recently directed Howard's Brutopia to great acclaim in France. The production formed part of an Anglo-French collaboration in which Howard directed his Animals In Paradise in Rouen in March 2005 and two bi-lingual French actors from that show joined The Wrestling School to create Seduction. Director Guilliame Dujardin and the two French actors will brought a wealth of experience and fresh ideas to the interpretation and realisation of Howard Barker's work from their highly successful work on Howard's plays in France.

Seduction toured to Birmingham, Poole, Colchester and London Riverside Studios.




Supported by Arts Council England