Howard Barker
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"Howard E. Barker" is a British playwright.

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I have plenty of political views and plenty of social and personal prejudices. I do not, however, value them.

I am so far as I am aware not at all influenced by dramatists, expect for Shakespeare, who I have to say, it is impossible not to be influenced by if you hold language to be the major element of theatre.

I am compelled to write because I have an artist's personality, it is a psychologically-determined thing, one best not explored perhaps. But I write because I must. And frequently I do not know what I am writing, and can talk of what I've written only a long time afterwards.

When I write, I am not giving a lecture, I am speculating on behavior. Sometimes this is dangerous, but it should be. As I say often, theatre is a dark place and we should keep the light out of it.

The English (I cannot speak of the Scots) are moralistic, and have made moralizing their discipline since the reformation. They like to be told what to think, and their literary heroes are moralists.

Tragedy is the greatest art form of all. It gives us the courage to continue with our life by exposing us to the pain of life. It is unsentimental, it takes us seriously as human beings, it is not condescending. Paradoxically, by seeing pain we are made greater, it becomes a need.

I submit all my plays to the National Theatre for rejection. To assure myself I am seeing clearly.

Certainly I never write for utilitarian reasons - to help others understand issues, to improve society and so on. I regard those as fatuous pretexts. Let us keep social work out of the theatre.

I never 'say' anything in my work. I invent a world. Let others decide what is being 'said'.