Memories of paintings in Howard Barker’s theatre
in Howard Barker’s Art of Theatre
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This chapter focuses on Howard Barker's musee imaginaire, or more precisely on some of his memories of paintings that had a part in the making of his plays and on the ways in which they inform his dramatic discourse. Barker's theatre appeals as much to the audience's memory of great artworks as it does to their recollection of verbally mediated myth and history. The presence of a pictorial reminiscence in a play by Barker usually results from his interrogation or contradiction of a painting. Barker's essay 'Goya's Grin', published prior to the premiere of the opera Terrible Mouth, illustrates the way in which he reads and adapts pictures in his theatre. Barker's best-known iconotext, Scenes from an Execution, not only makes a painting the protagonist of a play, but also presents a complex mise-en-scene of a work of art.

Howard Barker’s Art of Theatre

Essays on his plays, poetry and production work

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