attempts on her life


Attempts on her Life: seventeen scenarios for the theatre was first produced at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London, on 7 March 1997. In each of the seventeen scenariosof this “open”, post-dramatic textattention is focused on the un-definable, un-locatable ‘her’ of the title. The scenarios taken together collectively “create” the primary, but absent “character”. But who is this she - this figure who seldom(?) if ever (?) appears on stage? Who is this ‘her’ that the speakers in each scenario imagine, recollect, remember, project, talk to or about--each in their own way?  Attempts on her Life  ‘plays’ meta-theatrically with both the nature of (theatrical) representation per se, and with the “death of character” - the (non)character who constantly “appears” in various guises, even though “she” never appears.

I chose to work on selected scenarios from Attempts on her Life in a laboratory setting because of the resonance of the text with reference to post-911 issues of terrorism, its post-dramatic structure, the issues of representation raised by the fact that the primary “character” or “subject” is absent, the role that mediated images play in constructing our world today, the fact that the text includes several scenarios requiring bi-lingual performance, and the openness of the text. Attempts on her Life is written specifically “for a company of actors whose composition should reflect the composition of the world beyond the theatre” (Crimp 2005:202). With an internationally diverse group of twelve MA/MFA and five BA actors in the laboratory/workshop ensemble at the University of Exeter in 2006, the text allowed flexibility in casting and numerous opportunities for the application of the psychophysical training to work with text as well as the inhabitation of psychophysical states. The diversity of the cast ensured a rich blend of accents for the scenarios in which only English was spoken. The “composition of the world beyond the theatre” was also evident in three bi-lingual scenarios in which actors spoke their first languages alongside English-Greek, Arabic, Korean, and Mandarin.

This laboratory exploration was a non-public, closed showing of work-in-progress. This project was undertaken in a pedagogical setting as an active exploration of the application of ongoing psychophysical training to specific dramaturgies and to a specific mise-en-scene under the guidance of Phillip Zarrilli.

Date of closed showing
University of Exeter
Exeter, UK

Director Phillip B. Zarrilli
Writer Martin Crimp
Korea (Seok ha Hwang, Hye Ok Kim), Greece (Christina Chatzivasileiou, Efrosini Mastrokalou), Ireland  (Heidi Love), USA (Nathan Mitchell, Jane Rosenbaum), New Zealand (James McLaughlin), Taiwan (Tzu-I Tung), Jordan (Miriam Hilmi Abdul-Baqi), Wales (Jo Shapland), and England (Sarah Goldingay, James Hedges, Martha king, Lucy Mitchell, Lara Pearce, Rachel Southern).

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