Cel­e­brat­ing 10 years of Space Pro­duc­tions

Three men talk fem­i­nism as Space Pro­duc­tions marks 10 years of plays with The Cas­tle by Howard Barker

The Wharf - - News - Go to space.org.uk for more in­for­ma­tion Rachel Bishop

S pace Pro­duc­tions is cel­e­brat­ing its 10th an­niver­sary this year - and what bet­ter way to mark the oc­ca­sion than with a play about women be­ing in charge and re­al­is­ing they have no use for men? Howard Barker’s The Cas­tle takes the au­di­ence back to Bri­tain dur­ing the time of the Cru­sades, where in the ab­sence of men, a new way of life has emerged. No re­li­gion. No class. No hunger.

The play be­gins on a rainy day in mid­dle Eng­land when ruler Stu­cley re­turns home from war to find his land un­tended, his sheep wild and his wife in bed with a witch.

Fu­ri­ous and want­ing to re­turn ev­ery­thing back to how it was, he or­ders the erec­tion of a cas­tle (phal­lic sym­bol in­tended) in a des­per­ate bid to re­vive his old way of life.

Re­li­gion, ide­ol­ogy and sex battle it out in this bru­tally funny and hope­lessly tragic mod­ern clas­sic. We met Nick Pearse (Bat­ter), An­thony Cozens (Stu­cley) and artis­tic direc­tor of The Space Adam Hem­ming just ahead of the show’s open­ing night on Tues­day, October 10. Nick said: “Bat­ter – Stu­cley’s right hand man – has been away for seven years and done truly aw­ful things and when he comes back ev­ery­thing has changed. Women have found they man­aged just fine with­out men around and have formed les­bian re­la­tion­ships – men are now just used for pro­cre­ation.

“It’s re­ally un­set­tling for him, so he sets out to get it back to how it used to be. There are some re­ally aw­ful things he says in the play but ul­ti­mately you have to be­lieve the char­ac­ter you’re play­ing ex­ists - I have to make it that I ac­tu­ally be­lieve I’ve done those things.”

An­thony adds: “Hon­estly my brain hurts. It’s in­cred­i­bly drain­ing be­ing in that char­ac­ter just for re­hearsals, so let’s hope we make it to the show.

“It’s a fan­tas­tic play. With all Barker’s work it’s set within a re­al­is­tic frame­work, but then there are jar­ring el­e­ments through­out.

“For in­stance we have a sound ef­fect that doesn’t quite work within the time of the cru­sades - as you sud­denly hear a jet fly over­head in the mid­dle of the play.”

Nick added: “Un­der­neath it all it’s a funny piece. There are some re­ally in­ter­est­ing themes run­ning through it. It’s a strongly fem­i­nist play too – women are rul­ing and they don’t need men any­more.”

Adam added: “The great thing

Women have found they man­aged just fine with­out men who are just used for pro­cre­ation Nick Pearse who plays Bat­ter

with the play – and why I thought we should bring to The Space for the 10th an­niver­sary show – is there are so many re­lat­able el­e­ments with things go­ing on at the mo­ment.

“The idea of build­ing a cas­tle made me think of Trump want­ing to build a wall - and how Stu­cley comes back and finds ev­ery­thing he knew had changed – that re­minded me of wak­ing up to find we’d voted Brexit.”

The pro­duc­tion plays at The Space in West­ferry Road from October 10-28, with shows start­ing at 7.30pm. Tick­ets are from £10.

MATT GRAYSON

An­thony Cozens (Stu­cley) works out some frus­tra­tion on fel­low cast mem­ber Matthew Brett (Nailer) as they ex­plore Barker’s char­ac­ters

Nick Pearse re­hearses the role of Bat­ter as open­ing night for The

Cas­tle at The Space ap­proaches on October 10

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