Over ten years ago. Shelley Lee founded Basic Space. Scotland‘s premier contemporary dance company. Not long after passing artistic directorship over to Tom Yang, the group‘s grant of£94.000 was withdrawn by the Scottish Arts Council. Their appearance at the 1985 Fringe was their last.
Shelley however. returns to Edinburgh (having spent the past two years in New York) with a solo performance. the second chapter in 2- dance piece which will eventually last 8 hours and will take five years to complete. Records at Floating Lite is described by the artist as ‘uncompromised‘ by the demands of a company like Basic Space. targetted to appeal to a wide audience. No compromise has had to be made and the reult is pure Shelley Lee, personal and exactly as she wants it.
The Dream Solos (the title of the section to be shown this year) looks at life from the inside — dreams and thoughts which occur again and again are woven into the dance. either as abstracts or. as in one dance, literally a script which discusses and describes a series of recurrent dreams. is mirrored in movement. (Alice Bain) Records of Floating Life — The Dream Solos, Shelley Lee, Chaplaincy Centre. Bristo Square (venue 23) 11—16 Aug
[2.45—1.45pm. [4 (£3.50). [F]
DAVID GLASS MIME
Something is wrong with Dr Philip. He has this obsession. It‘s his patient Lenny. a charming. child—like nut. Lenny is a TV addict who builds strange. mausoleum—like sculptures in front of the set. Dr Philip is obsessed with those too.
This is the premise of the Shrinking Man a thrilling piece of mime—theatre performed by Fringe Festival veteran David Glass.
A tall, gangling and extremely
W '1’ W [I . mobile solo performer, the American born Glass trained as a dancer before switching to mime nine years ago. He has studied with greats like De Croux. Le Coq and Marceau. fusing their influences into his own performing vision. ‘I build shows different ways for different reasons‘ says Glass. ‘themes connect my work rather than a special mime style.’
Traditional mime plants archetypal ;
characters in a situation designed to demonstrate the artist‘s technical virtuosity. Not so with Glass. Shrinking Man was scripted from improvisations he did in front of his collaborators. writer David Gale and director Hilary Westlake, of the London based experimental theatre company Lumiere and Son. Glass pegs his show as ‘my idea of what mime should be: half talking and half moving. I‘m not showing how clever lam. There‘s a reason for the behaviour you see on stage. It‘s psychologically borne out.‘
As his personality disintegrates, poor Dr. P. superimposes Lenny‘s crises on top of his own. ‘Gradually his body becomes more and more out ofcontrol‘. says Glass. ‘The split between what he‘s saying and doing becomes more and more extraordinary.‘ The result is movement theatre that disturbs as much as it entertains.
On the other hand. Glass describes Glassworks as ‘eminently family oriented‘. It‘s a retrospective drawn from four shows Glass has created during his career. ‘Generally I‘m not very fond of skip performances‘ he confesses. ‘but each of these pieces has substantial weight. each is stylistically very different.‘
(Denis O‘Toole). The Shrinking Man Aug—10, 14, 15, 19, 20, 24—26, 291.45pm. £3.50 (£3); Glassworks Aug 11—13, 16, 17, 21-23, 27, 28, 30 1.45pm £3.50 (£3). Both by David Glass - Mime Assembly Rooms (venue3), 54 George Street. Tickets 226 2427/8. [F]
Writing— you don‘t need me to tell you — is not a performance art. That‘s
why, despite the literati‘s role as wet ° j arethose who prefer honesty to
evasion. Asked what was the most ‘ _ boring book he had read lately,
. Timothy Mo replied. ‘The last one I . wrote.‘ Bernice Rubens and Beryl
nurse at the birth of the Festival, authors, as far as the ‘proper‘ programme is concerned, have been generally read and not seen in Edinburgh in August. That was how it was until Meet the Author came along, a nebulous organisation with its roots in the Society of Authors. It retains a stake. though nowadays Meet the Authorcalls for representaion from the Arts Council, National Book League, Edinburgh City Libraries. local booksellers. and The Scotsman.
In those early days. some fifteen or so years ago, the pow-wows were held in the Carlton Hotel when Lavinia Derwent, Cliff Hanley and Nigel Tranter brought mainly local authors before a literate public. These were not readings but nitty-gritty question and answer sessions. There was no hiding place and faint-hearted scribes cowered in their garrets.
In recent years such eonfabs have become more common and only a few authors are shy ofthe public platform but Meet the Author‘s
Collected Refusal Letters would still
make interesting reading. The published programme often bears no resemblance to the one originally envisaged, particularly when it‘s Book Festival year. Then Meet the Author organises a daily session for a fortnight and is responsible for the literary core of the Festival. John Updike, Anthony Burgess. Beryl Bainbridge, James Baldwin. Andre Brink and Doris Lessing were all invited by Meet the Author
It‘s not a job for the lily-livered
though that‘s how the organisers end ‘
up. Days and nights merge in aphoristic banter and
over-indulgence as the conveyor belt
'; trundles poets. novelists, dramatists . and critics in and out of Edinburgh.
Some make more impression than others; some are morose, others
' innater humorous. Some get along
with each other. some don‘t. Best
Bainbridge were asked to name their favourite authors. ‘If you say me. 1‘“
L say you Beryl‘ said Ms Rubens. ; looking remarkably wellafter
overdosing on medicinal brandy the evening before.
Meet the Author has never lost a writer and none has ever reneged or had a tantrum. but many have entertained and shown a real interest in readers‘ reaction to their work.
This year should prove no exception for the one-day programme on 17 August at the Roxburghe Hotel offers three exciting sessions; John Fowles. Edna
O‘Brien. and William Boyd and
Douglas Dunn. This is the first time Fowles has been approached and he
accepted immediately. He‘ll be
conversing with his publisher. the
equally intriguing'l‘om Maschler.
Edna O‘Brien is no stranger to Edinburgh and she‘ll read from her work and talk to Derry Jefl'ares. the Yeatsian scholar. Finally Dunn & Boyd. two untypical Scottish writers get together with Isobel Murray. to dwell on the short story. not a widely known aspect ofeither‘s work and their comments will be well worth catching. But what's best about Meet the Author is that it‘s unpredictable and unrehearsed and depends as much on the audience as it does on the writers. (Alan Taylor) Meet the Author; William Boyd and Douglas Dunn 11am; Edna O'Brien 2pm; John Fo wles 3.45pm ' Roxburghe Hotel, 38 Charlotte Square (venue 24) I7Aug. £2.50persession, £6for all three. [F]