Howard Barker’s Blok/Eko, produced last summer by the Wrestling School at the Exeter Northcott Theatre and directed by the author, “is a large-scale drama about death and its status in the world.” The story:
Eko, an aging despot, seemingly on a whim, liquidates the entire medical profession, asserting that consolation — in the form of song — is a better way with sickness than drugs or surgery. A connoisseur herself, she knows great song is itself the distillation of suffering and so deliberately exposes her greatest poet Tot to a life of crime, poverty and humiliation in order to extract from him his finest work.
Below is a short sample of the production’s visual and linguistic imagination. The text itself is available from Oberon Books here; the Wrestling School’s archival page for the production is available here. You can also read my review of Barker’s memoir A Style and Its Origins, as well as an overview of Barker’s career as seen through the perspective of critic David Ian Rabey.