The Skriker

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The Skriker
Written byCaryl Churchill
Date premiered1994 (1994)
Place premieredRoyal National Theatre, London
Original languageEnglish
SubjectPost-natal psychosis, Possession
GenreEpic dance theatre

The Skriker is a 1994 play by Caryl Churchill that tells the story of an ancient fairy who, during the course of the play, transforms into a plethora of objects and people as it pursues Lily and Josie, two teenage mothers whom it befriends, manipulates, seduces and entraps. Whilst speaking English in its human incarnations, the Skriker’s own language consists of broken and fragmented word play.[citation needed] Blending naturalism, horror and magical realism, it is a story of love, loss and revenge.[citation needed] As with Churchill's A Mouthful of Birds (1986), the play explores the themes of post-natal psychosis and possession.[citation needed]


1996 American Debut at New York's Public Theater starring Jayne Atkinson, Caroline Seymour, Angie Phillips with Philip Seymour Hoffman and an ensemble cast.[citation needed] It was directed by Mark Wing-Davey. It was presented by the Joseph Papp Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival at 425 Lafayette Street, East Village.[citation needed]

In November, 2006, The Virtual Theatricality Lab at Henry Ford College staged the play using 3D stereo digital technology and motion capture to create the scenery, creatures and fairies.[citation needed] It was directed by George Popovich.[citation needed] Digital scenery, creatures and animations were by Christopher Dozier.[citation needed]

In 2011, Arizona State University produced the play.[citation needed] It was directed by Joya Scott.[citation needed] In November 2011, it was performed at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. It was directed by Rebecca Frank.[citation needed] In February 2012 the play was performed at Purchase College, SUNY directed by Genee Coreno.[citation needed]

The play was staged in October, 2012, at the Erickson Theater in Seattle, WA. Produced and directed by Janice Findley, co-produced by Curtis Taylor, and choreographed by Pat Graney.[citation needed]

The play was staged in July 2015 at The Royal Exchange in Manchester, England starring Maxine Peake.[1] Commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival and the Royal Exchange Theatre, the production included Laura Elsworthy as Josie, Juma Sharkah as Lily.[citation needed]

In December 2015 the Silver Spring, Maryland production company Welcome Homesick staged The Skriker in The Silver Spring Black Box Theater.[citation needed] The production was self-directed and starred Meg Lebow as Josie, Sophie Cameron as Lily, and Aziza Afzal, Emma Bergman, and Clare Lefebure as the Skriker.[2]


One of the play's most unusual features is its eponymous protagonist's language, Graham Wolfe has drawn connections with Lacan's lalangue, which Mladen Dolar defines as “the concept of what in language makes puns possible”:[3] "For all the Skriker’s monstrous malevolence, such an admirer of homonyms ('sham pain', 'morning becomes electric') could hardly scoff at Lacan, whose later seminars bear such titles as Les non-dupes errent (les nommes du père) and Encore (en-corps, en coeur), confronting us with creatures named parlêtre (par la lettre) and sinthome (symptom, synthetic homme, saint Thomas). Not even the Skriker’s wildest homonymic explosions — 'no mistake no mister no missed her no mist no miss no me no' (9) — are a match for some of Lacan’s most famous riffs: jouissance, j’ouïs-sens, jouis-sens, jouis-sans . . ." (Wolfe 89).[4]

External links[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Hunter Shippey (2016-01-23), The Skriker (A Welcome Homesick production), retrieved 2016-05-23
  3. ^ Dolar, Mladen. A Voice and Nothing More. Cambridge: MIT, 2006.
  4. ^ Wolfe, Graham. "Shapeshifting in Caryl Churchill's The Skriker". Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 22.2 (2011): 234–256