|About the play
“Now Holofernes rested upon his bed under a canopy, which was woven with purple, and gold, and emeralds, and precious stones.
So they shewed him of her; and he came out before his tent with silver lamps going before him.
And when Judith was come before him and his servants they all marvelled at the beauty of her countenance; and she fell down upon her face, and did reverence unto him: and his servants took her up.” (Judith 10:21-23)
Howard Barker’s Judith – A Parting from the Body is a dark and erotic re-telling of the story of Judith and Holofernes. In this tale from the biblical Apocrypha, composed in the second century BCE, Holofernes, the formidable Assyrian general, has been sent by Nebuchadnezzar to subdue the Jews. He is besieging their city of Bethulia, whose defenders, suffering from famine, are on the verge of surrender. The night before the final assault, Judith (the name means simply “Jewish woman”) goes into the camp of the Assyrians…
The Varadi Foundation, comprising staff, students and ex-students from Exeter University U.K., has been telling tales of myth and magic for three years now. This is their first production of a Barker play.