9-19 April 2008: I Saw Myself
Last year 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 has now pledged to replace that funding for the next three years and we are delighted to be able to announce a full production of one of Howard Barker's newest works this April in London.
Sleev, a rich and promiscuous woman wants to confess her scandalous sexual history to a world that has never dared acknowledge it
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.
As the great work progresses, she and the servants gradually loose their sight, such is the intensity of their labour. In the end, as the war she has obscured erupts in the village and the servants must hide the tapestry from their enemies, she must face a new life unable to see her own pictorial confession
Howard 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.
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.
ruthless precision, courage, honesty of base emotions,
I Saw Myself will be our 20th birthday year production.
- 19 April 2008 Mon - Sat 7.30pm Matinee
Sat 19 April 3pm
Tickets will be on sale from the Box Office from mid February.
This intensive practical four day residential School led by Wrestling School members will explore the practice, techniques and underlying theories of theatre that make up the Wrestling School's method of preparing and presenting Howard Barker texts in performance. It will include an opportunity to observe Howard Barker directing company members in the initial exploration of an as yet unpublished and unperformed new text.
The School will be held in the beautiful surroundings of the University of Exeter, a simple 2.5hr train journey from London.
Check back here in mid February for further details on dates, costs and how to book or email us to ask to be sent this once it is available.
Howard Barker's reimagining of the legend of St Ursula who led 11,000 virgins down the Rhine to escape the invading Huns. The play's examination of virginity, mothers, spiritual and sexual ecstasy, shame and the sticky nature of love holds a powerful contemporary resonance.
Ursula is directed for RADA by Wrestling School Associate, Melanie Jessop.
John Gielgood Theatre at
Further details from www.rada.org