Samson is captive, blind and in the prison at Gaza, forced into menial tasks of drudgery in the mill by the occupying force of philistines. On this day they are celebrating their release from Samson, and all work is forbidden.
As he rests, his visitors include friends of his tribe; his father, who is seeking his son’s freedom by ransom; his wife Dalila, and the champion fighter Harapha. The passionate confrontations with these two Philistines – his wife, to whom he revealed the secret of his strength, his hair; the Champion, who taunts his abject fall – invoke in Samson one final labour of strength: the destruction of the Temple and the flower of Philistine nobility.
“Barrie Rutter’s convincing achievement makes me feel the work deserves an airing more often that once in a generation…. Altogether an engrossing rediscovery.”
The Times (Jeremy Kingston)
“Rutter creates a real dramatic presence…although the play is in some ways anti-theatrical – this fine production lifts it into the canon of English drama.”
Times Literary Supplement (Tom Paulin)
“(Sir Anthony) Caro has demonstrated that a sculpture could be made form anything and Rutter is emphatic that classical theatre can happen anywhere…what a blinder”