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Howard Barker Interviews 1980–2010
Conversations in Catastrophe
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ISBN 9781841503981
Paperback pages

Published April 2011
Imprint: Intellect
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Books by Mark Brown
Books in Performing Arts

Edited by Mark Brown
Chapter Titles     |      Comments

British playwright Howard Barker coined the term “theatre of catastrophe” to describe his unique brand of complex, poetic, ambiguous, and often unsettling drama. Revered by many – not least in continental Europe, North America and Australia – as one of the greatest living dramatists in the English language, Barker is also a celebrated poet, theater theorist and painter. The first collection of interviews conducted with Barker throughout his illustrious career, Howard Barker Interviews 1980–2010: Conversations in Catastrophe, gives a strong sense of the life and work of this innovative dramatist.

‘These engrossing dialogues have a chiselled philosophical brilliance, and display a fierce personal dignity. In them we find Barker rejoicing in contrariety and championing the intimacies of beauty and suffering. As writer and director, he is, as he once admiringly said of actors, different in kind – a fact these fascinating interviews triumphantly confirm.’
Ian McDiarmid, actor

‘This fascinating collection of conversations provides a unique insight into the processes which make Howard Barker’s plays works of sheer brilliance. These interviews remind us that the theatre can be utterly profound, philosophical, savagely political and completely captivating.’
Roxana Silbert, associate director, Royal Shakespeare Company

‘This book provides a fascinating and comprehensive insight into Barker's extensive body of work. By presenting this overview through interviews with the playwright himself, it offers the reader an incredibly rich and complete sense, not only of the plays, but also of the character and personality of arguably our greatest living dramatist.’
Dominic Hill, artistic director, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

‘An immaculately put-together, absolutely necessary book, not just for the Barker aficionado but for anyone wondering what happened to the battle of ideas in British theatre. This volume provides an essential overview of this under-appreciated playwright and his enduring work. It’s like a critical survey, intellectual autobiography and dictionary of Barkerian quotations rolled into one.’
Dominic Cavendish, theatre critic, Daily Telegraph

 

Chapter titles
Introduction
The Interviews
‘Energy – and the small discovery of dignity’
With Malcolm Hay and Simon Trussler (for Theatre Quarterly)
‘Articulate explorers in an age of populism’
With Charles Lamb
‘The idea of hidden life’
With David Ian Rabey
‘A laboratory of human possibility’
With Charles Lamb
‘On puppetry and All He Fears’
With Penny Francis
‘A demand for the problematic’
With Dan Hefko
‘It has always been possible to improve on God’
With Charles Lamb
‘Death as a theatrical experience’
With Aleks Sierz
‘Crisis is the essential condition for art forms’
With David Ian Rabey and Karoline Gritzner
‘Not what is, but what is possible’
With Thierry Dubost
‘About things on the stage’
With Elisabeth Angel-Perez et al
‘Ecstasy and the extremes of emotional life’
With Mark Brown
‘A rupture to the moral curve’
With Elizabeth Sakellaridou
‘On Shakespeare’
With Vanasay Khamphommala
‘An education in living poetry, vivid and violent’
With Nina Rapi
‘On The Wrestling School’
With Duska Radosavljevic
‘Art is about going into the dark’
With Mark Brown
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