The Castle at the Space
Set in a Docklands converted church that hosts an array of events is an adaptation of playwright Howard Barker’s The Castle, directed by Adam Hemming. On a rainy day atop a castle battlement, crusader Stucley (Anthony Cozens) returns home after seven years of fighting in “The Holy War”, to find his land in disarray and his wife absent.
With a Shakespearean quality of tragedy, the play makes use of archaic language to present a production that questions conventional gender roles, which have drastically changed since the men went to war, leaving the women to govern themselves. The plot is complex, as it deals with big themes, such as love, death, war, power and the patriarchal suppression of female sexuality.
Stucley is shocked to be presented with another kind of war – a domestic one. Having just fought in the Crusades spreading the word of Jesus, he comes home to confront the same battle. His wife has not only deserted the church but is having an affair with another woman. The relationship between Stucley’s wife, Ann (Shelley Davenport) and the witch Skinner (Kate Tulloch) is passionate, but it becomes apparent that the arrival of man weakens their bond. Stucley tries to reinstate the men’s authority, by ordering the Arab architect, Krak (Chris Kyriacou) to erect a new castle.
Though the set and costume designs are minimal, this production is strong in its visual clarity, which gives insight into a world in which women possess real power and prosper. While the piece is wordy, it intelligently challenges our prejudices, and assures us to fight for what we believe to be the truth. “The castle is not a house” but it sure is a fine play.
Photo: Ellamae Cieslik
The Castle is at the Space from 10th until 28th October 2017. For further information or to book visit the Space website here.