I had never done a Barker play prior to The Europeans. I’d read Barker, so I had some idea what I was getting into, but you can never really know what a project is going to be until you get into that rehearsal room and start speaking it, doing it. I’ve now learned that doing Barker is a little like doing Shakespeare…on acid…while being punched repeatedly in the spleen. I’m sure that doesn’t sound appealing. It is though, if you’re an actor…or maybe it’s just me. It has much (everything) to do with the words Barker writes, the words you are then allowed to speak as an actor. There is beauty there, of course, in the words, and poetry, but it’s not delicate beauty or dainty poetry. It is more like the poetry of a crime scene, or the beauty of a fetus in a jar of formaldehyde. It is gruesome and disturbing, and all the more beautiful for it.
It’s a little bittersweet to be writing a “wrap up” post. Partly because I’ve never been very good at wrapping things up, but mostly because I wish I was writing about the end of our first week of rehearsal, and not the end of the thing as a whole. Two rehearsals and a reading just doesn’t seem like nearly long enough to spend with Howard Barker’s words (and certainly not long enough to spend with a really phenomenal cast). But the time spent was indeed good time, and I am grateful for it. Very many thanks to all of you who came out to see us on Wednesday, we’ll see you at In On It!