Even Jean—Marie Frin. who notonly wrote. butalso directs and stars in Comedie de Caen‘s P'tit Albert was taken aback by the success of the lirst few performances. The project stems atterall. lrom the unlikeliest olsources. In 1984 Caen held a festival entitled 'lmages et Psychiatrie' and Frin was approached bythe organisers who asked him fora relevant piece of theatre. Despite initial reservations. Frin setto work on loosely adapting a Jack London story. ‘Told in the Drooling Ward'.
The finished product defies any cherished expectations aboutthe theatre. Members ofthe audience actually become
part of the mental asylum in l
which Tom. the only character in the play. has lived for all but three othis 28 years. lnitiatingthe
public into the world ofthe inmates Tom serves out plates of Ientilstothe audience. who are seated around a large table. Frin is ambivalent about all the attention that has been granted to the lentils. ‘l've always associated them with any kind of school or institution. They‘re to remind people of that kind of life. That‘s whythey‘re there — only as an... accessoire?‘ He pausesto consult the dictionary for the correcttranslation. “Yes. a prop. ldon‘twant them to be a distraction.‘ Audience reactions have been interesting. ‘The first people who saw the show were enthusiastic. but genuinely disturbed by what they saw. Now thatpeople know roughly what's going to happen they're less receptive.‘ Frin gives a suitably Gallic shrug about this. but is clearly excited by the latest development. the show's translation into
Togetherwith Chantal Barry and Frederique Deschamps. Frin worked for several months on perfecting this English version. Frin explains some ofthe difficultiesthey encountered. ‘When I wrote the French version my son wastive years old. andl
was very influenced bythe way he talked. If I'd known how much work would be involved in translating I honestly don'tthinklwould have undertakenthe project)
Ahighly moving exploration of the accepted boundaries between sanity and madness. thetragic and the merely banal. this tale told by an idiotseems set to become one ofthe sensations ol the Fringe. (Helen Davidson). P'titAlbert. Comediede Caen &Traverse Theatre. Drummond Community High School. 22 Aug—3 Sept. 8pm. £6 (£3)
Shared Experience. formed in 1975. has established its reputation lornarrative theatre with a lirm belief in the importance ofthe actor andthe actor'srelationship tothe audience. through its developmentofnew adaptations from novels. improvised shows and work on European classics. Their most recent work. Nana. a show devised around Zola‘s novel. was seen in London. Nancy Meckler. the newly appointed artistic director. brings Euripides‘ play The Bacchaeto the StBrides Centre asthisyear'sOllicial Festival show.
The choice ola late Atheniantragedyis interesting in terms of Meckler‘s conception of the play. Jean Nicholson explained how the company sees The Bacchae as an experimental. very modern
piece oftheatre: ‘Euripides exploresthe position of women atthe end olthe Greek Empire. which wasa pretty miserable one. He inverts our expectations duringthe performance by coming outstronglyonthe women's side. lt‘s reallya look atthe wayaculture works; inthis casethe culture is dominated by the men. Women aretreated as property. but then Euripides presses beneath cultural presuppositions and linds thefeminine sideto allthe characters. He seeksa broaderdefinition of feminine qualities. ( The play is also I interesting astheformal aspects of Greektragedy l are being melted away and |
experimented with. The area over which Dionysios is god is one offlux: ofwine. blood. water. semen. and all theforces of lluidity.The Greekresistencetothese lorces. represented by g Pentheus. is sweptaway. and the sense of release and dangerand riskis immense. We witnessthe impossibility oftryingto hem in natural forces.
The castare young and enthusiastic: many olthem have been workingwith different directors. for example Claire Benedict has recently worked with Maya Angelou. Because this is a very difficult. very big project. we have extended ourrehersal time from a four week to a nine week period. working closely with the designer. to create an anonymous setting and the feel olheat.‘
The ideas behindthis production are exciting and incisive. The show may well prove to be pick olthe Festival. when it opens on the 29th. (Nicola Robertson) The Bacchae. Shared Experience. St. Brides Centre (venue 62). Until 3rd. Times vary. £6.50. £5.
Whilethe success ofthe Mahabharata stillquiversin . the airofGlasgow. the city fathers have put the official sealonthedecisiontosave the old Museum of
Transport. The vast. crumblingtramworks was duelordemolition in mid-May. butthe warmth
and scale of the space. as used by Peter Brook. called up such a responsefrom audiences and organisers alike. that it would have been a brave councillorwho found his coffers empty at the crucial moment.
The council have. intact. earmarked £272.000for repairs to the building and the creation of ‘a unique theatre space'. seating 750 andto be namedthe Tramway Theatre. The atmosphere enjoyed by Mahabharata audiences will be retained. there are no plans to alterthe existing
', . 3143.; A
The Old Museum at Transport soon to be the new Tramway Theatre
space and the money willgo mainly on structural repairs. seating and technical equipment. The transformation is scheduled for completion in late Spring next year. but already there is considerable demand for the theatre space. Judging by current interest. the Festivals Unit reckonthe theatre'sprogramme will be more or less full. with up tothirty weeks of performances in |989. and upto forty-six weeksin Glasgow'syearas City of Culture.
The council hope thatthe theatre will attract interest from all ofScotland and beyond. and there are oft-heard rumours that PeterBrook himsellmight betempted back. The council‘s spokesman was playing it close to his chest. butadmitted: ‘He did like Glasgow. he was very impressed by Glasgow. l don‘tlhinkitwould bea shock if he did come back.‘
THE MEDIA SHOW
The Festiy‘al might not be what it was. the Fringe might be too expensiy‘e. too cabaret orientated. the ('ity doesn’t care spend appreciate it enough but the media circus grows and grows. The recently appointed Scottish editor ol the Sunday Times. Andrew .laspan. reckons that it you take away the journalists. the perl'ormers. the people who are pretending to be performers and the people who are pretending to be journalists. the only people who are actually Visiting the Festiy'al are a coach party l'rom low a who should be in Zagreb by now anyway and I don‘t think he’s tar wrong. The media circus is certainly here in force.
\thtt with the pressure ol
deadlines. the competition and the sheer ignorance ol most ol the hacks. who probably coy er lootball tor the rest of the year anyway. there hay‘e been some memorable howlers. ‘l‘he ()l).y<‘I'l'(’I"s supplement last Sunday to coincide with their sponsorship in l-‘ringe Sunday was a good try marred by the picture caption which described Blood \Vcdding as Blood Money. I look lorward to Serious Wedding by Federico ( iarcia ('hurchill. The Independent. lor all their ellorts. blew it in their rcy'iew' ol' l.-\m Serious. ()range. There's a sequence from an ()ld Firm game in the show illustrating how sectarianism is still y‘ery much aliy‘e. .ludith .‘ytackrell thought that it illustrated the Dutch low M lootball which is about as spectacular a missing ol the point as you could
hope to find. Rey'iew 88 made a promising debut yy ith a piece from
presume it was the subs and not Mr l.inklater who promised. lor all those lolk‘ who contributed to the
l licstiy'al Appeal. a ‘Roll ol‘ l lumour".
Well. we could all do with a laugh. Practically ey'et'y one on .SeoI/und ()II Sunday rey'iewed something. ey‘en
I)ay'id Steel. yy hich only went to
show that those who can. do. and
those yy ho can’t. criticise. 'l he
Sunday 'l't'mey' senior drama critic .lohn Peter had a miserable time at a
play called I loly Aisle; his
dey astating rey'iew is now known as
Murder in the (‘athedral but we shall ney‘er know whether he would haye : had a better time at James Bridic's Holy Isle. liy‘en 'l'lie l.1'.ythas not l been immune. though in this case it
.Smtsnmn editor .‘ylagnus l.inklater.l
Robert Dawson Scott reports.
was the wording ol‘ an ady ertisement supplied lrom outside yy hich yy ent astray. Scottish ‘l‘elcy ision were keen. Ltlttl rightly so. to promote their late-night arts coy eragc including the world premiere ol a hitherto undiscoy'ercd yyork by l lugh Macl)iarmid. ‘(iay Drunk .\lan looks at the ’l‘histle‘. The new light this sheds on Scottish literature could oy'erturn all our present conceptions. \‘y'hat yy ill subsequent generations make of The l louse with Pink Shutters. .\'o .‘ylcan ( ‘ity.
Syy cctie. .\len Shouldbry a Hit. It Shows l loyy Sensitiy‘e 'l'hey .'\l'e. We can only wait and see. All in all. and
The 1.1'sl‘s exemplary coy crage apart.
I reckon 'l‘lieSeuIminn hasoncc again done the best job ol all which only goes to show that in lot‘ty odd
l years you learn a thing or two.
rhi- tisi‘zii .\ug l s‘ep‘i‘i’yfs‘s‘ 3