Jennifer Steyn stars as rebel artist

Jennifer Steyn in Scenes from an Execution.

Howard Barker’s play makes 16th century Venice the setting for a fearless exploration of sexual politics and the timeless tension between personal ambition and moral responsibility, between the patron’s demands and the artist’s autonomy.

The story revolves around Galactia, played by Steyn, an impossibly transgressive artist, who is commissioned by the Venetian republic to create a painting celebrating the triumph of Venice at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

What emerges in her uncompromisingpursuitof truth, is the ugliness of slaughter.

Galactia herself is brilliant, vain, arrogant and politically naive. Will this most transgressive artist be co-opted by the state? This study of the relationship between the artist and the state is known to be British playwright Barker’s most accessible and commercial play.

The play was first seen in South Africa at the Market Theatre in 1994, where it garnered multiple awards including the best director for Clare Stopford. Graham Hopkins, who reprises his role as the Doge nearly 25 years later, also clinched an award.

Stopford directs a stellar cast made up of theatre favourites Steyn, along with Hopkins and Nicky Rebelo and a dynamic ensemble of young actors including Khathushelo Ramabulana, Cleo Raatus, Elizabeth Akudugu, Phoebe Ritchie and Lauren Blackwell.

Except for Steyn, Hopkins and Ramabulana, the rest of the cast play multiple characters to bring the thrilling story to life. Set design is by Patrick Curtis, costume design by Leigh Bishop and set and props construction is by Nick Mayer.

Scenes from an Execution previews from Thursday March 30 to Monday April 3, and opens on Tuesday April 4.

Ticket prices are R130 for previews and the matinee; R140 from Mondays to Thursdays; and R160 for Fridays and Saturdays.

For discounted corporate, schools or block-bookings, charities or fundraisers, contact Sharon at 021 680 3962, email sharon.ward@uct.ac.za or Carmen on 021 680 3993, email carmen.kearns@uct.ac.za