the writer and the director must behave as two separate people, and while filming up here even talks of phoning London to speak to his alter ego. Ifwriting is a solitary housebound occupation, directing is ‘like a picnic with friends — only sometimes the rain comes down’. To describe his company as a team is a tepid understatement — it is more like a fiercely loyal tribe. James Ellis, playing a cameo part as a bartender in The Holy City has worked with Bryden for television and the National, and speaks with unfeigned 'committment about being ‘a cog in a well oiled machine‘.
‘The Tempest‘, says Bryden, ‘is
Shakespeare’s great farewell tribute to the theatre which no director has yet managed to crack’. He will not reveal any details about his production about to go into rehearsal in London, but promises not to ‘mess about with the text’. He is also working on a new play about country music. ‘All that Stand by Your Man stuffis terrific— I love the straight forward emotion in it‘. Sexual relationships suffer today, he feels, from over sophistication: ‘Now you have to be an acrobat or a bloody trapeze artist to go to bed with a girl because of terrible books like The Joy of Sex which looks like some kind ofjoggers’ manual.’ Don
Williams’ sometimes saccharine crooning is vastly preferable, he thinks, to the clinical approach. ‘I’m the most boring man in the world because I read Playboy for the interviews — I can see in your eyes you don‘t believe me but it‘s true. When I was a kid the girls said I was all talk and no football but that’s OK with me — a match is only 90 minutes but a relationship might last 90 years.’
Unsurprisingly Bryden is given to dramatic declarations such as ‘Glasgow and New York are the greatest cities in the world and London comes ninth’ or ‘any woman who doesn’t vote has no sense of
Above: Brian Glover as God in Bill Bryden's National Theatre production of The Nativity, part of ‘The Mysteries' trilogy.
history and is a traitor to her sex.‘ I am puzzled by this latter piece of dogma. Earlier he described a corrugated iron fence standing in the demolished Gorbals which read ‘Vote Labour’ and wryly remarked; ‘We have always voted Labour in the Gorbals, what fucking good does it do?’ But whatever the circumstances, apathy is sinful. ‘I am not a churchgoer and don‘t have much faith, but I do believe in the Latin phrase Laborare est Horare to work is to pray.‘
' Thé List 1"3'Bec—9Jan 3