<i>I Saw Myself</i>
Artist and critic meet in the mirror
in Howard Barker’s Art of Theatre
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Howard Barker's play I Saw Myself is his most elegantly developed probe into ways that creative acts and actors go to work. The situation the play presents is simple: it is set in thirteenth-century Europe; able-bodied men have followed their noble lord to war; that lord has been killed, and the play's action takes place in the widow's household. The widow is Sleev and her serving women are weaving a tapestry that will depict the heroic tale of how the men left their homes, fought and died. The play extends the analogy between Sleev and her companions to the relationship between creator and critic. Within the action, characters repeatedly engage art-making through critical analysis. The weavers select from an established vocabulary of imagery to construct the narrative for others. Barker authors Sleev's desire. In defining the character's agency through her desiring subjectivity, he risks limiting the character.

Howard Barker’s Art of Theatre

Essays on his plays, poetry and production work


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