Composers and their stage works 


Howard Barker


Precisely what occurred on the last night in the lives of the Russian Imperial family remains forever shrouded in mystery. How they met their deaths at the hands of the revolutionaries will never be known. In just such an absence of historical knowledge, Howard Barker's dramatic instinct has flourished. Here, as in other vacant spaces of the European experience, he has speculated on events and motives in that particular form of tragedy identified by him as Catastrophic Theatre - poetic, metaphoric, unobjective, emotional. Here, the protagonist is the children's tutor Dancer, catapulted to power but bent on ends which barely coincide with official ideologies. In search of an immaculate form of love, this aspiring saint swings between cruelty and pity, murdering with comic abandon all those exponents of party discipline who stand between himself and the realization of a dream. His own sacrifice, an adieu to the twentieth century when its melancholy span has barely begun, is the apotheosis of a sensibility, and Dancer stands out as one of Barker's most extraordinary stage creations.

Cover of Playscript