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Howard Barker's ''The Castle''
Pages 11 (2761 words)
Howard Barker: playwright, poet, visual artist, and essayist. Barker encompasses the total, complete and methodical approach to theatre and the construction of mise-en-scene. In this he shares much in common with European theatre practitioners, such as Antonin Artaud and Bertolt Brecht…
Barker has gone so far as to formulate his own theory of theatre and performance: Theatre of Catastrophe. This essay will explore the process of experimentation that centres upon female characters in Barker's The Castle (1985). It will also incorporate Barker's theoretical principles of Theatre of Catastrophe and his approach to the structures of composition and narrative.
Howard Barker uses many different types of resources in creating his work. He adopts the structure and form of other playwrights' works to evolve his own distinctive style. Amongst the material he uses and absorbs, as influences, are Shakespeare, Middleton and Chekhov. To these can be added the Bible as a performative source as well as historical and mythic characters: such as Judith and Holofernes, and Alexander the Great in The Possibilities (1987). He uses characters that are symbolic and representative in role of social types and fictional archetypes and stereotypes. With these he paints broad and bold images on stage in his works that can be viewed as allegories of society. He manipulates theatre as a form of communication in this way in order to represent and make capital from his, often radical, political views.
Barker discovered in his career that theatre should not be a zone of complacency and comfort, and so he strived to politicize and radicalize what he saw as the safety of the established practices. ...
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