FROM AN EXECUTION
Scenes From An Execution is set in the seventeenth century but
centres around the timeless conflict between an artist's need to be true
to herself and the demands of her patron. The painter Galactia's determination
to depict the true brutality and horror of the battle of Lepanto clashes
with the political requirements for the painting desired by the Venetian
authorities who have commissioned it.
An instant success when it was first staged in 1986 at the Almeida Theatre,
this contemporary classic builds powerful poetic language, seductive ideas
and rich, dark humour into a profound and compelling exploration of the
conflict between moral responsibility and personal ambition.
Written not long after the Tate Gallery took its infamous delivery of
bricks, the arguments explored in Scenes From An Execution are
still burning, most recently re-ignited by Damien Hirst and his glass
cased pickled animals. Just what is the responsibility of an artist in
society? Should they portray only their perception of truth or are they
obliged to use their skills for the public good or bend their art to suit
the political spin required of whoever is paying for the paint and canvas?
Howard Barker presents a profound engagement with the moral responsibilities
of an artist, characteristically using a moment from history to explore
ideas and moral questions that still resound with contemporary resonance.
Galactia is one of the most demanding female roles in contemporary drama.
In this production was layed by Olivier Award winning actress Kathryn
Hunter, in a new production directed by Howard Barker.
"Barker directs... with seductive simplicity...
a sharp cut above the rest..." The
Presented in association
with the Barbican BITE'99 season and supported by the Arts Council of