Sheena McDonald laments the condition ofwilling spirit but weaker flesh.
.'\m I alone'.’ .-\m I the only kid in i town \\ Ito looks forward to the : forthcoming - extrayagan/a ol oiled limb.
sweat-lashed sponsor's yest and broken dreams with sheer and shameless indiflet‘cnce'.’
I lie. I‘m not shameless. I atn confused and guilty about my complete inability to tnuster a scrap of interest or enthusiasm for this unique manifestation of international brotherhood (and ~ hastily -* sisterhood! Almost forgot! You see'.’ I atn confused).
I was similarly embarrassed last Sunday to find myself not pounding round the park. ('hanging the World. I don't know why. It's not as if I \y as swaying in a hanunock. learning how to sleeye my talking pastry. ya numpty! ). I mean. I was actually engaged in really important research into the political underbelly of the current .‘yliddle Iiastern — but why am I telling you!‘.’ It iust sounds like an excuse. It merely proyes my guilt. my shame. my anachronistic inadequacy in this world of lean limbs. taut and committed in the seryice ofinadyertently and tragically leanerones.
The trouble is — they'ye chosen the wrong actiyity. Sport just ain’t my bag. man. .\'eyer has been. Back in kindergarten (yeah — that sort of kid? - want to make something ofit'.’). I learnt yery fast that if you were ineyitably going to come in last at the
L Iigg-and-Spoon. Sack. Bowl-the-Iloop. Walk-on-Bricks.
etc. . etc. . you might as well turn it to
f adyantage. ('ome in wry last. Let 5 yourself be lapped by the l-‘athers’ Wheelbarrow before finally
; staggering gamely oyer where the
tape was half an hour earlier. before eyet‘yone left for buns and juice in
i the tent (‘You missed the buns.
Sheena'.’ What a shame haye mine —- and here‘s another one — you tried so hard. . .')
Managed to keep that gambit going right through school (althouin I can't remember why scyentecn-ycar-olds were still iumping around in sacks. . .Iliuisort of school. I suppose) -- at least. on the annual Sports I)ay‘s. Normal weekly games were less sympathetic an enyironment for such odious and crawly behayiour. ()nce it was established that the tennis-racquet and hockey -stick were as much use to me as a third buttock (mind you. these days I wouldn't snee/e at a ten-day trial period - yes. yes. for the buttock . . .). l was quickly dropped
from the team. The (‘-'I‘eam. I tried a season of trampolining. btit it wasn‘t a heavenly match. By 15. sport and l were irrevocably divorced.
I won't trawl you through the years since —- the occasional reported sighting of a distant muscle. the single I Iulot-Iike encounter with a squash-court —- suffice it to say that when it comes to celebrating the motor magnificence of homo sapiens. mine's a Daimler. It‘s not just winning— that doesn't seem important —- playing the game at all fails to ring my bell.
None of which means I'm not impressed by those who can. No killioy. l. lftormenting your body to the point where it can achieve feats undreamt of by the men and boys who ran and wrestled around the fields and groyes of ( )lympia. two and a half thousand years ago. is your way of the confronting the mighty WI IY — terrific! You're also feeding hungry mouths. easing your conscience. honouring your fatherland (or motherland). setting an example to drug-tempted world youth. exercising your potential »— and making friends while you do it (‘I)ear Worried No. it won’t drop off— btit why not join a badminton club instead'.”) — this is numero ttno worthwhile!
'l‘here's more — you're conyincing zillions of consumers around the world that watching teleyision is the best thing you cart do for your mind and your country?
Oh boy all that. and I don't want to watch it. hear it or read about it. What a spoilsport. eh'.’ Bet I didn‘t eyen sponsor anyone to (‘hange the World. did l'.’ ( I did. actually — but only because I knew you were going to ask. ) Well. I cart iust take that mean-minded wlto-giyes-a-stuff attitude. and shoye it right up my bookcase!
Okay okay — no ball. no buns -- I get the message. I j ust wish there was another way of feeding hungry mouths. honouring your parentland
all that. Something that flabby recluses could participate in. 'I'hought Aid. maybe. The ()lympic 'l'houghts. 'I’he best thinkers from eyery nation could get together for ten days. and see who had the most intelligent and humanitarian ideas. What’s that‘.’ like making Islam the official religion in lreland‘.’ Well. you might make the heats. .\'o r- of course I wouldn‘t compete — w e're talking Maior International 'I'hinking here. But I‘d watch.
Iiyer watched anyone thinking.’ You hayen't'.’ Where haye you been for the next ten days?!
Second Stride at this year's Focus on Dance
I When/,4 _
Following theirhugety successful appearance at the Focus on Dance Festival in Glasgow earlierthis summer. Second Stride Dance Theatre find themselves back in the city for an unusual (some might say unlikely) collaboration with Scottish Opera. Second Stride will perform the Ritual Dances in Sir Michael Tippett's opera The Midsummer Marriage which receives its first performances in Scotland at the launch ofScottish Opera‘s 88/89 Season.
This production. directed by Tim Albery and designed by Anthony McDonald and Tom Cairns. was first seen three years ago in Leeds as a co-operation with Opera North. The choreographer then. as now. was Second Stride's Artistic Director lan Spinkbutthe history ofthis creative team goes back to 1981 and the ICA in London as Spink explained: ‘Tim and I first got together on a theatre piece written by PeterCarey called War Crimes. which was designed by Anthony McDonald. We followed that with Secret Gardens in 1983. Since then we‘ve had connections in various ways. Tim directed a dance piece for Second Stride and I worked with him on The Troians in Leeds and Cardiff.‘
Berlioz‘s massive master-work. presented as ajoint Opera North/Welsh National/Scottish Opera production is due to be seen in Scotland sometime in 1990. but itwas in an altogether more delicately structured piecethathe made his Scottish Opera debut
‘l choreographed Orlando forthe company. I lovethe Handel da capo operas- small singing casts anda lotofmusicto getthrough. so there‘s scope for a fetal movement.‘ Tippett‘s score. on the otherhand.
utilises the full resources of a large opera chorus and castbutSpink still findsthe piece challenging. even in what forhim isarevival. “It's a beautiful score—very rich and powerful - and the Rituals are very dramatic. l hadn'tseen The Midsummer Marriage before but I thinkthis production doesthe work great justice. The scenario is very complex and a bit of a minefield but Tim has found a path through. The nicething is. the dance element is veryimportanl here: traditionally in opera it‘sretegatedtothe sidelines butthis is very much a collaboration. Also. I'm working with dancers who have experience in many differentareas of work which is very useful
and it's good to come back to a production you know works. lthink Tim andl have both clarified what we did in Leeds. lfthe audience gives ita chancethey'llfind itavery rewarding work.‘ (Alex Bryce)
The MidsummerMarriage opens althe Theatre Royal. Glasgow on 21 Septwith subsequent performance on 23 Septand 15. 20 Oct. Also at the Playhouse Theatre. Edinburgh on 3 Nov.
'We're lookingforward and not back.‘ says Wildcat's David MacLennan about theirtenth anniversary show. Fancy Rappin'. which opens attheirJordanhill home base this week. 'It‘s too easy when you become an institution tothinkabout how good things used to be and notaboutthefuture.‘ MacLennan. who wrotethe show with co-founder David Anderson. says the format ofmusic with little dialogue isfresh forWildcat. and emphasises the ‘shot in the arm‘they are enjoyingfrom new performers George Brennan and Ruth lnnes. Directed by Alan Lyddiard
before he takes upthereins atTAG. Fancy Rappin' is based loosely on Oliver Twist. an idea which. MacLennan says. reflects the country‘s swing towards Victorian values overthe past ten years. “It‘s a simple story about a girl swept into a societythatsurvives by crime.‘ he explains. These criminals. however. are merely imitatingthe ‘legalised crimes‘ which are accepted practice in the stock market. were living in a loadsamoney society in which a lot of people don‘t have loads ofmoney. This is a low-life version of that high life.‘
Reflecting on Wildcat overthe decade (represented bythe inclusion of a fewfavourite oldersongs). he comments that 'the best thing about it isthe waythe audience has grown.’ and saysthe most satisfying experience is to ‘get it rightwiththem.‘ He adds. though. that 'we‘ve been affected bythe political changes: the goalposts have been moved. In a waythisshow7$ about lhat.‘ (Andrew T: Burnet) 1;, FancyRappin'opensat .).. Crawfurd Theatre. Glasgow on 14 Sept. 7.30pm fortwo, nights. then tours Scotland. SeeTheatrelistingsfor " details.
2 The List to- 2‘) September 1988