Tuesday, April 25, 2006

More on Harley Granville Barker

With Granville Barker's classic play, The Voysey Inheritance, opening at the National Theatre this week, director David Farr argues in The Guardian that now id the time to move beyond the theatrical realism that he began.
It is also clear that we must redefine the whole meaning of "new work". Granville Barker relentlessly championed the importance of new work at the beginning of the 20th century. It is time for us to take up his challenge once again at the start of the 21st - but in a new way. New work can no longer be restricted to a conventional writing process. Writers, directors and performers are working as never before to unearth new ways of telling new stories.

I think that far from being threatened by this collaborative way of working, the writer will emerge stronger. We are already seeing this in the relationship between the writer David Eldridge and the director Rufus Norris: their collaboration on Festen was the great hit of 2004 and has directly led to a hugely ambitious new piece for the National, Market Boy. In the autumn the Lyric will present Pool (No Water), a new collaboration between physical movement company Frantic Assembly and the writer Mark Ravenhill. There is an explosion of possibility in our form right now, and what we don't need is anyone pulling us back by the reins.

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