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Need an argumentative essay on Howard Barker's ''The Castle''. Needs to be 11 pages. Please no plagiarism.Download file to see previous pages... Barker has gone so far as to formulate his own theory o
Need an argumentative essay on Howard Barker's ''The Castle''. Needs to be 11 pages. Please no plagiarism.Download file to see previous pages...
Barker has gone so far as to formulate his own theory of theatre and performance: Theatre of Catastrophe. This essay will explore the process of experimentation that centres upon female characters in Barker's The Castle (1985). It will also incorporate Barker's theoretical principles of Theatre of Catastrophe and his approach to the structures of composition and narrative.
Howard Barker uses many different types of resources in creating his work. He adopts the structure and form of other playwrights' works to evolve his own distinctive style. Amongst the material he uses and absorbs, as influences, are Shakespeare, Middleton and Chekhov. To these can be added the Bible as a performative source as well as historical and mythic characters: such as Judith and Holofernes, and Alexander the Great in The Possibilities (1987). He uses characters that are symbolic and representative in role of social types and fictional archetypes and stereotypes. With these he paints broad and bold images on stage in his works that can be viewed as allegories of society. He manipulates theatre as a form of communication in this way in order to represent and make capital from his, often radical, political views.
Barker discovered in his career that theatre should not be a zone of complacency and comfort, and so he strived to politicize and radicalize what he saw as the safety of the established practices. As Amanda Price states in her introduction to the second edition of Barker's Arguments for a Theatre:
Barker's interrogation of the role of playwright and the nature and status of the art he produces is specific to the period in which he finds himself writing for the theatre [Britain of the 1970s and 1980s]. The crisis he perceives to characterize the contemporary British stage threatens the extinction not only of the artists who work within its sphere but also of the audience it serves. Without acknowledgment of this crisis the whole corpus of theatrical endeavour is in danger of becoming a corpse to which we give the last rites in empty auditoria.1
This is a powerful and provocative line of examination by Price, considering, in no uncertain terms, the death of theatre in Britain. But then Barker provokes powerful responses and has an uncompromising attitude that requires similar passion from those who appraise his works. One cannot be neutral when confronted by his plays or his opinions. In 2004 Barker gave a rare interview on the occasion of his play Scenes from an Execution (1985) in performance at the Dundee Rep Theatre. In this interview he succinctly and clearly describes what he does and why he does it.2 What remains clear is that he does not intend through his work to provide any answers, or any clear, comfortable solutions: 'I am a speculative artist, I ask what might be, I don't narrate what is'.
At the basis of the formulation of his theory of theatre is the superior nature of Tragedy as a dramatic form. After he wrote The Castle he published part of a manifesto in The Guardian newspaper (once known for its left wing principles) outlining his thoughts on what theatre should be composed of: 'Fortynine asides for a tragic theatre' (1986).3 This was in imitation of Martin Luther's 'Ninety-five theses' that he nailed to the door of Wittenburg Church in Germany in 1517.