Scenes from an Execution
Opens: 27/09/2012 Closes: 09/12/2012 National Theatre, LondonYou might expect reneging on a commission to paint an heroic war victory might not go down too well, especially in 16th-century Venice. Writing for radio in 1983, British playwright Howard Barker – a man with something of a penchant for tragedy – imagined the aftermath of the Battle of Lepanto through the eyes of idealistic artist, Galactia, played here by Fiona Shaw. For more information visit: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/scenes-from-an-execution Buy: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/scenes-from-an-execution?dates=all#tabpos Watch:
Evening Standard“The play is a hard one to love...” It could morph into a blazing feminist tract or a fierce discussion about the compromises inherent in state-funded art. It dabbles tantalisingly with both these possibilities, but as ever Barker ends up saying nothing particularly original...
The Independent“One of Barker's most accessible works...” In a bravura performance, Fiona Shaw brilliantly communicates the animal energy, the dishevelled, uncircumspect sensuality, and the caustic, uncompromising spirit of the artist who sits sketching with her legs wide apart...
Whatsonstage.com“A major triumph for Howard Barker...” There’s a pugnacious tone, and a liberated style, about Barker at his best that is unlike anything else on our stages today. And that is because he doesn’t write plays. He writes theatre. The audience is hungry...
The Telegraph“Far from great, but bearable... ” Unlike Barker, Galactia is imprisoned for her art, and one suspects Barker secretly envies his heroine for prompting the state into such drastic action when his own deliberately provocative work is often received with weary indifference...
Guardian“Rough around the edges and it works well...” There's a marvellous moment... when a woman, an ordinary member of the public, sees through the state's subterfuges and sees the canvas for what it really is. She clasps the artist's hands; this play made me want to clasp Barker's hand, too...
The Stage“A marvellous central performance from Melanie Jessop...” Fluid direction from William Oldroyd ensures that the pace never falters and Signe Beckmann’s design is a perfect canvas for Barker’s colourful text...
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