Howard Barker: Dogdeath in Macedonia

I seem to be writing quite a bit this week about upcoming London productions that it’s exceedingly unlikely I’ll be able to see. Well, here’s one more: Howard Barker’s new play, Dogdeath in Macedonia, will be produced as part of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art festival later this month, debuting on June 25 for a six-performance run. According to the Web page for the event:

Nauseated by the hectic character of Athenian democracy, the poet Euripides took refuge in the congenial tyranny of remote Macedonia. Here he created his greatest and most dangerous work, and here he perished in terrible circumstances. In Howard Barker’s startling interpretation of events, the philosopher Plato, barely out of his adolescence, and with an adolescent’s moral intransigence, is sent to fetch the genius back to the Western world …

Dogdeath in Macedonia will be directed by Hanna Berrigan, designed by Paula Sezno, and produced by Melanie Jessop, all of them longtime Barker collaborators. The cast includes Richard Cotton, Nigel Hastings, Suzy Cooper, Tom Hanson, Elizabeth Healey, and Oliver Bennett. More information here.

One will note that this is a rare Barker premiere that will not be produced by the Wrestling School, the company that was founded in 1988 to stage Barker’s plays and explore his continuing examination of tragedy and drama. I have been informed that the Wrestling School alas has had to “suspend” its operations due to a lack of financial support. I mourn the loss, even if it’s only temporary.

howardbarkerstheatre_coverThis is a good place to note recent and forthcoming publications by and about Barker. In March, Oberon Books published the eighth volume in its uniform edition of his plays; this contains four plays reaching through his long career, from the earlier The Bite of the Night and Brutopia to the more recent The Forty and Wonder and Worship in the Dying Ward. It is available from here. And in late July, Methuen will publish Howard Barker’s Theatre: Wrestling with Catastrophe, a new collection of essays edited by James Reynolds and Andy W. Smith offering a broad perspective on Barker’s career, with sections devoted to the aforementioned Wrestling School, his work in other media, and the American reception of his plays. This is available for preorder from here.

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