‘ONLY THE ENGLISH COULD HUMILIATE A GREAT ART FORM BY CALLING IT MORAL'
‘Get he social workers on of hea
HOWARD BARKER’s stark and confrontational theatrical style has rarely been seen on our stages, despite its popularity with theatres all over the world. Steve Cramer corresponded with the enfant terrible of British theatre, who has refused interviews for years. As his Scenes From an Execution is performed at Dundee Rep, he posted these replies to questions about his work and the state of the industry.
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Scenes From an Execution seems to have a particular relevance to recent government treatment of dissent. Although the play is of the 19805, it could strike chords with audiences that perhaps it wouldn’t have five years ago. What do you think about this?
A good text has no era. ()n the other hand. it was concciyed under certain circumstances. and probably the underlying material - the artistic treatment ol‘ war —- is a perennial theme l‘or us. leaying aside the context. which is the lhth century Version of the (‘hristian/lslamic conﬂict. But I lime to say my work is always based in character and the issues are subordinate to. and contribute to. or are a means of exposing. character. ()n the most superﬁcial leyel. it is easy to take sides in this play hut the artistic personality is not wholly attractiye. I haye grown to hold the political amhitions of artists in contempt. What does it matter what a dramatist thinks politically"? It is only his imagination we trust. il‘ he has one. The greatest moments in theatre art are when the dramatist is knocked