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It‘s worth remembering that aside irom being iull ot naked women, DONNA GIOVANNI is periormed entirely in Spanish. Worse than that in tact, it’s periormed entirely in ‘Old ltanish'.
The result is an opera that’s doubly more obscure in plot than mostoperas. Thanktully however. it is also doubly excitingto watch.
Mexico’s Compagnie di Divas takes the bold step oi leaving its one man- and you're not quite sure oi that till the last act-to playthe wimpish Don Ottavio. Meanwhile all the women get a chance to play Don Juan. Like all those Shakespeare comedies where the eunuchs play girls, then the ‘girls’ dress up as boys, Don Giovanni makesthe most oithe ensuing contusion oi sexual identities, indulging in some telling satire about men’s predatory attitudes to women.
With the exuberance oi Commedia dell’Arte and the visual ingenuity ola theatrical kaleidoscope, Donna Giovanni is never what you think it‘s going to
be. Whether you’re turned on by six ioot lobsters, shrouded'phantoms ot the opera or indeed nude women, you'll lind this both sensuous and
Street. Check Ior dates.
thought-provoking as an erotic tale oi the unexpected. (Stephanie Billen)
0 Donna Giovanni, Compagnie di Divas, Assembly Rooms (venue 3). 226 2427/8. 22.214.171.124. Aug 6.30pm, £6.(£5). 8,12. Aug, 3.45 pm, £5(£4) [Fr].
PLAYS FOR TODAY
‘Theatre oi theatricality’ is how writer/director Jon Gaunt describes Tic Toc Theatre Company’s style oi periormance. Dispenslng with wordy dialogue and iourth wall realism, Tic Toc exploitthe immediacy oi live theatre, using loud music, choreography. elaborate special eiiects and physical energy to excite and involve their audience the way a pop concert does.
Lastyear HOOLIGANS won a Hinge First and has now been bought by Channel 410 belilmed immediately alter its revival at the Festival, where it plays alongside STARS, a new and radical piece which questions and indicts the popularTory idea that wealth and success are available to anyone ready to grasp them. ‘Kids these days,‘ says Gaunt, ‘unable toiind real jobs, tend to tantasise aboutbeing something really special.’ The play reaches its climax when aiter two years oismashed
ialt Hall. at the Traverse, also the lap Club. Bose
CAUSIN A STIR
dreams and disappointment the characters venttheir irustration in violence. This, Gaunt ieels. is almost inevitable in a political climate which only oIiers material reward to the individual. the winner. ‘I believe that people are born quite nice - it’sthe environment they live in that makes them whatthey are.‘ (Andrew Burnet)
o Hooligans, Tic Toc Theatre Co, St Cuthbert’s Hall (venue 50). 6671809. 10—29 Aug £4 (£3).
0 Stars. Tic Toc-same venue. 10—29 Aug. 8.15pm. £4 (£3).
it’s an ill-wind. Lastyear Edinburgh audiences were disappointed when India's Chorus Theatre, invited overto the Commonwealth Arts Festival by Assembly Theatre director William Burdett-Coutts. were unable to come because oi the boycott. This year’s Fringe audiences will be the beneﬁciaries, oiiered the rare chance to seethe company’s innovative production oi CHAKHAVYUHA, an episode 01 the Indian epic, “The Mahabharata’.
Underthe guidance oi theiriounder Hatan Thiyam, Chorus Theatre have developed a peculiarly rich iorrn ot theatre, combining modern dramatic techniques with the enormous variety oi traditional styles native to the ManipurValley where they are based. Chorus Theatre draw on and tuse the styles to arrive attheir own dramatic spectacle, combining dance, drama, mime. martial arts and ancient ritual.
Thiyam expects a high level oi commitment irom his actors. They live and work in the valley,'making ends meet by running a dairy and a iishery, and they can spend up to a year researching a training beiore even starting to work on a project iormally. But this complete understanding oi traditional lorms is central totheir work, the basis Iortheir combination oi old and new techniques. As Thiyam explains: ‘The Mahabharata is an epic which istimeless -we can interpret it in thousands oi various ways. So it is very ilexible. That is
why I have chosen it. However, this may be an episode Irom an epic, but I'm reading it to a modern audience. It’s a blending, an experiment I have done. 0 Chakravyuha, Chorus Theatre, Assembly Rooms (venue 3), 226 2427/8. 9,11,13,15, 19, 21, 23 Aug 3.45pm,£4.50;8.10,12. 14,16,17,18,20,22Aug. 6.30pm, £5.50 (£4.50) [Fr].
’In Minnesota the com grows in ladders oigreen and gold, rising up iiiteen Ieet in the good years, irom a soil rich like chocolate cake.’ So the narratortells us in MINNESOTA. playwright George Sand’s charming oIt-beat one-act about lite in rural midwestern America.
The rueiully iunny saga oi an elderly couple who personiiy the end 01 an era at small acreage larming, the piece originally cropped up as the hit ot a one-act playiestival held in Minnesota this past winter. The script ieatures weddings, iunerals, tractor accidents, gas pains and an artiiicially inseminated cow with its very own production number. The overall eiiect is like a theatrical country cousin to Minnesota author Garrison Keillor’s best-seller Lake Woebegone Days. MINNESOTA simultaneously coniirms preconceptions you might have about rustic Americana, and ireshens them with the accuracy at its satirical perceptions. It's a treat. (Denis O’Toole)
0 Minnesota, Actors oi St Paul, Theatre Workshop, 34 Hamilton Place (venue 20), 226 5425. 6-29 Aug, 11am. £2.50 (£2). [Fr].
’I suppose what I'm working on is a big sketchpad,’ says Scottish playwright Tom McGrath oi his programme WORDS BEYOND WORDS and MONOLOGUES atthe Lyceum Studio. McGrath has taken two separate early evening time slots throughout the Festival to show work in progress. WORDS BEYOND WORDS, the latertime slot (7pm) iocusses on read periormances oi scripts that in diiierent ways illustrate, McGrath ieels. the international importance and potential olnew writing. In the iirstweeka cast at tourteen Scottish actresses will read The Guid Sisters, a Scottish translation oI ‘Les Belles Soeurs‘ by French-speaking Canadian writer Michel Tremblay,‘Les Belles Soeurs' was Tremblay'siirst play, putting him in the tront rank at Ouebecois playwrights at
the age oi 25 with its witty telling oiwhat happens when a woman wins a million trading stamps and invites round all hertemale relatives to stick them into books.
Week Two begins with a periormance ot a one-man play, ’Dundas’. by Alistair Campsie Campsie’s play presents a controversial, scathing attack on Viscount Melville, whose statue lurks
, on the top oi the column in
St Andrews Square and who is held by Campsie to have helped eiiect the death oi Robert Burns. This is iollowed by a staged reading oi a iilm-script, ‘Uncle Jesus', by popular Glasgow singer-songwriter Peter Nardini.
In the third weekthe ‘Russian‘ theme olthe Festival is complemented by a workshopped production oi ’Sarcophagus’.
The earliertime slot (5.30pm) is iilled with monologues and short plays, many oithem by Iain Heggie (see above). ‘Politics in the Park’ is a delightiul 50 minute two-handerabout two old ladies sitting in the park, and runs throughout the Iirst week. From Mondayto Wednesday oi Week Two a cluster oi short Heggie plays will be periormed, one directed by Heggie himseli. another given a dance interpretation by Tom Yang. Laterthatweek, writers Liz Lochhead and Brian McCabe will periorm their own new monologues and in Week Three the early evening slotwill be given over to actors and actresses periorming monologues written by themselves and new Scottish writers, while at 9pm a cabaret slot will be added to the bill—an hour-long cabaret, ‘Loose Women’, dispelling Mills and Boon myths and Romantic nonsense.
o Monologues, 5.30pm, 12-29 Aug. £2: Words
To see Brecht’s CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE (King’s Theatre, 21 a 22 Aug, 7.30pm. EIF) periormed by the company he tounded, the Berliner Ensemble, is a rare privilege indeed. They also present Trollus and cressida (see Shakespeare page)
Beyond Words, 7pm, 11-29 Aug, £3(£2); Loose Women, 9pm. Lyceum Studio, Cambridge Street (venue 35) 229 9697. Please phone Ior details.
CYBORG ‘We live in a wonderlul time in which people are less importantthan the machines they operate,’ says playwrightJohn Oownie. with heavy irony. His play CYBOBG reilects this observation. Set in the 21 st century it is described as a sort oi Iuturistic update oi Buchner’s classic play, ‘Woyzeck’: ’Buchner shows someone being exploited by humans and by nineteenth century bureaucratic organisations,’ says Oownie. I’m interested in the way that humans may well exploit machines in the 21st century.’
His play is short, has many briet scenes. moves iast and has an element at grotesque humour, in common with Buchner’s, but uses its elements towards a new end: ‘The basic algebra oi the play,’ explains Oownie. ‘Isthat
The List 7 — 20 August 21