Since its premiere at London’s Royal Court in 1997, Martin Crimp’s Attempts on Her Life has been translated into more than 20 languages.
Written as a series of 17 ‘scenarios for the theatre’, it’s a kind of epic, post-modernist poem with no delineated characters or specifications. Part capitalist vaudeville – of a commercialised and media obsessed society – and part teasing theatrical puzzle and detective story about identity, where even the play’s protagonist is absent.
Anne, the ‘her’ of the title, proves elusive and difficult to define. Is she a holiday rep, a terrorist, an artist who has turned her suicide attempts into art, a traveller who has her photo taken in slums or by millionaires’ swimming pools, a porn actress, a movie character or perhaps even a car? You decide, as shards of a life are offered up in a helter-skelter ride through a late 20th century, first world fantasy.
“It’s funny. It’s moving. It’s timely. It’s distressing. It’s entertaining. It’s weird. It’s musical.”
(photo by Nils Clauss)