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12 November 2012


Scenes from an Execution
National Theatre Production
Lyttleton Theatre, London
Monday 12th November 2012

Are art and politics able to work together?  Should art be able to be used as a tool by politicians, or should an artist only use their talent to exercise their freedom of expression?  This fascinating play explores this philosophy through the story of Galactia, a fictional female artist commissioned by the state to create a huge painting to mark the Venetian's triumph at the Battle of Lepanto.

Fiona Shaw is excellent as Galactia, intelligent, incisive, manic, passionate, she embodies the obsessive nature of an artist and convinces with the worthiness of her self belief.  Tim McInnerney is also excellent as the Venetian Doge, portrayed as artistically fervent himself, but reigning back to a politician's logic at the impact of the completed work on his society.

The huge stage at the Lyttleton is used to full effect, as imposingly large set pieces adorn the stage, moving seamlessly around to convey alternate locations.  Helping to evoke the epic nature of the commissioned work that centres the plot, the set's size still never dominates Shaw's captivating stage presence.

A production lavish in thought-provoking questions about the power of both art - in any of it's forms - and the state, in all of our lives.  Questions that will remain prevalent throughout time.

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