familiar. The Sound ofMy Voice is more to do with anxieties than alcoholism.’
Ron Butlin will read from his novel at Waterstones, George Street, Edinburgh on 28 January and Hatchards, Gordon Street, Glasgow on 5 February. both at 7.30pm. The Sound of My Voice is published by Canongate (£7. 95) on 28 January.
— HECTOR MACMILLAN
The playwright talks to
This month Hector MacMillan‘s translation of Moliere‘s Le Malade Irnaginaire (The Hypochondriak). first performed by Moliere‘s troupe in 1673. opens at the Lyceum. It is the third in a series ofsuch translations. commissioned in the wake of Liz Lochhead‘s enormously successful Tartufffe. performed this time last year and like Tartuffe. it has been translated into Scots.
Argan. the hypochondriac. is a self-deceived patriarch cast in a fine Moliere mold. who wields arbitrary power over a household for ever arranging itselfaround his petty whims and constant stream of doctors. The Lord of Misrule is rife. where hypocrisy and selfishness reign amongst those ofstatus. and sanity and reason are the prerogative ofdisinherited lovers and insubordinate servants.
Hector MacMillan. a freelance dramatist best known for his play. The Sash. which deals with Protestant-Catholic tensions in a west ofScotland tenement. asserts the validity of a Scots translation over the traditional English versions. ‘There is a rhythm. sound. a kind of music available in Scots‘. MacMillan says. ‘which has more in common
with Moliere‘s French or the language ofShakespeare, than modern English.’
Unlike Lochhead. whose characters employed a Scots ranging from the Calvinist sounds ofthe 19th century to one riddled with present Americanisms, MacMillan‘s language is rooted in a period (1740—1810) before. as he says. class divisions in Scotland became recognisable in terms of language. and the inﬂuence of English began to take its toll.
The H ypochondriak is being directed by Gerry Mulgrew and John Matthews. two outside directors. while MacMillan has been sitting in on rehearsals to make improvements in his text as the production has evolved. Recently MacMillan also translated Moliere‘s Le Misanthrope for radio. and the two writers have much in common. Both share a strong sense of the comic matched with a commitment to sharp observation oftheir contemporary world.
It is the balance between Moliere‘s capacity to be comic, and his sharp insight, that Mulgrew,'MacMillan and Matthews hope to master in this production. Too often, MacMillan feels. productions have played up the comic at the expense of the text. ‘He raised a lot ofquestions.‘ MacMillan argues, ‘that still haven‘t been answered. I find Moliere very modern. When I did Misanthrope, for example, I found all the arguments you could put virtually into a 1970 milieu.‘
The production stars Phil McCall as Argan. and Alison Peebles as Beline, his fraudulent wife. and holds out great promise of being a worthy successor to Tartuffe.
The Hypochondriak opens at The Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh on 23 Jan. See Theatre.
VIKING INVASION .
Vikings have ‘established themselves calmly at the two universities of Glasgow and integrated them into the student life and Britain itself.”
This rather dramatic piece of news isn‘t meant to be too alarming — the same source tells us ‘they have turned friendlier than the last time they were here.‘
The sudden interest in Vikings stems from the offical newspaper of Glasgow‘s Norwegian Week which starts on 29 Jan. The week is being organised by the 400 or so students from Norway who are currently studying in Glasgow. Apparently, since the oil book in Norway and the surge in demand for highly educated young Norwegians fluent in English, the Norwegian further education system has relied more and more on sending students to Scotland.
Student weeks are commonplace in Norwegian universities and the events in Glasgow are in part an attempt to transport the tradition, but more than that. following the Norwegian autumn events in Edinburgh, it is hoped the week will help Scotland understand their close but just slightly obscure neighbours a little better. According to Jorgen Kadal, one of the organisers. the Scots have a few strange ideas ‘I think perhaps they think we are all Vikings but I hope they will learn about our country. People don‘t realise that we have large technological industries for instance.‘ Guests during the week will include speakers representing both the oil industry and the thriving computer industry.
One other aspect of Norwegian life likely to be of interest to Scots is their attitude to Nuclear Power. ‘No one even talks about nuclear power seriously now after Chernobyl.‘ says Jorgen Kadal. A special debate during the week will bring together MP5 from Scotland and from Norway to discuss the nuclear issue. Norway is in the enviable position of having huge natural resources of energy tied up in the relatively benign hydro-electric system but the Norwegians are looking for safeguards by other countries who have to use nuclear power.
Not all the Norwegian Week events are in such a serious vein. however. There should be plenty of opportunity for wining and dining in the traditional way including the SAGA night — Viking-style Celebration on the feast night ofthe Gods.
Throughout the week an Exhibition on two sites will display Norwegian art and industry. The latter part of this exhibition will be at the McCance Building at the University ofStrathclyde, but the art exhibition of specially imported
Two Young Edinburgh artists, Archie Webb and Mike Worobec, put the recent inclement weather to creative use. Their snow silhouette on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill suggested a gesture of defiance against complacency amd authoritarianism, past and present. The two are also exhibiting with other contemporary artists at Edinburgh’s Calton Studio.
works which is still to have its location finalised. Phone 041 204 1353 for details. See Open List for details ofevents and lectures.
N0 PLACE LIKE HOME The United Nations has designated I987 as International Year ofShelter for the Homeless. The aim ofthe year is to make the public aware of the problems facing the homeless and: ‘. . .ofsecuring renewed political commitment and effective action within and among nations to help the poor all over the world to build or improve their shelter or neighbourhoods.‘
The IYSH Trust in Britain is funded by the Overseas Development board. not by the Department ofthe Environment. The Govemment then is not promoting IYSH in Britain. when according to the Shelter publication Homes Above A ll. more than
100,000 people either have no home or live in substandard conditions of cold. damp and overcrowding. In Scotland overcrowding is four times worse than it is in England and Lord Wheatley. speaking at the Scottish launch ofIYSI I. pointed out that ‘IIere in Scotland one in a hundred families now experience homelessness every year‘ and that ‘homelessness has increased by over a third in two years.‘
Shelter is one organisation which deals with the problems of homelessness. The Director of Shelter in Scotland. Noel Dolan. hopes that IYSH will bring
2 The List 23 Jan — 5 Feb