Peter Brook's ( 'armen will
receive its British premiere in (ilasgow this April. The acclaimed production will. like Brook‘s Mahabharata. be staged in the former Museum of Transport (ttow called the 'l'ramway Theatre). which Brook fell in love with when he was here last year. .\'ot quite on the satne scale as the Indian ‘epic story ot mankind‘. Brook‘s
( 'armen uses four singers and three actors. and takesonly Uii minutes to perform. drawing on both Merimee's novel. and Bizet's opera. There will be performances betw ccn Iti& 30 April. Booking now open through Ticket Centre. (MI 227 55] l.
Utopia. Traverse Theatre. Iidinburgh — March 7—9. The aptly-named Impact Tlteatre was one of the decade's most influential British experimental companies. Their productions were physically demanding. aurally assaultive and usually unforgettable. Although Impact split up a few years ago. its members still occasionally collaborate. Now director Pete Brooks. writer (‘lair MacDonald and actors Jan Pearson and Richard Ilawley have come up with a show (which has been playing at The Bush. London) about as far retnoved frotn Impact‘s previous work as possible. The elements are deceptively simple. A man and a woman in an anonymous hotel room play verbally elaborate power gantes. speaking about themselves in the third-person. building upon each other‘s fantasies. As their words become more dense and abstract. their emotions grow more honest. impassioned and physically combative.
Imagine Who‘s Afraid of Virginia Woolf 1’ crossed with last Tango in Paris and you‘ll have an inkling.
Utopia is about overlapping levels of reality. naturalism. fiction and stylisation. ‘lt’s about breaking some kind of status within a relationship.‘ Pearson says. while llawley claims. ‘lt‘s about two people trying to come together. to hold each other.‘ Despite their conﬂictng viewpoints. the co-stars agree that it'sa bitch to perform. ‘Richard says doing this show is akin to having a 30mph road accident each night .' Pearson remarks. ‘lt's true. The same adrenalin is produced.‘
Brooks is a tad more detached. ‘lt's a very claustrophobic piece. and slightly self-indulgent. but sometimes you have to be. to get out of yourselfwhat you‘re looking for.‘ What was he looking for'.’ ‘I felt Impact had worked itself into a corner. Afterthis show. I sense new vistas opening up. Suddenly there's a long way togo.‘ (Donald Ilutera)
TOUCHING THE PAST
Though he gave the impression of being completely unruffled. Iiddie Stiven had quite a lot on his mind. In the few days he had been working on his play at Bruntott Theatre. galcs had swept the land. leaving a trail of devastation around his borne on the West Coast. lie was a little anxious to getback.
Stiven lives in (ilenelg. across the water from Skye. and spends most of his time there running training courses for deep-sea fishermen (he has been a fisherman himself). But he also writes plays. and the third of a cycle he has written for Brunton Theatre is about to receive its premiere. Like the first two of the cycle — 'l'amlane and The (‘aaldron — his new play draws on art ancient. traditional ('eltic story: ‘I wanted totake major themes of Celtic oral and literary tradition and make drama ofthem.‘ he says and goes on to explain that Tam/ane explored the ‘doppelganger‘ plot. and The ('aaldron followed the ‘quest tale'. both constantly recurring
' themes in (‘eltic literature
— and much literature since.
Ilis new play. Underthe Passing Stars . retells the oldest love tragedy in the world (the model for many subsequent stories). ‘It has been argued that the whole of European Romantic fiction derives from (‘eltic love stories.‘ he says. ‘I don't know if that‘s true. but I decided to dig around and try and find out.’
llis story. set in Ireland during the war between Ulster and (‘onnaught (at about the time of Christ). originated in the ‘Tain Bo (‘uailnge'. It tells the tale of I)aerdra. born to a prophecy that she will be the most beautiful woman itt Ireland. but that her loveliness will cause much war and suffering. Hearing this. the Kingof L'lster decides to bring her up for his own. but she foils his plan by falling in love and running off with the handsome Naoshe. They ﬂee to Scotland. but are tempted back by the King. who promises to create no trouble ifthey return — and goes on to violently break his promise.
This powerful tale has fascinated many writers — including Yeats and Synge. both of whom wrote plays focusing on Daerdra's beauty. Stiven. however. hopes the
balance in his will be a little different. bringing out the political situation to link with today. ‘I want to show how the situation unfolds and has to reach its ends. causing tragedy on the way — as it does today.‘
He feels that now. as then. the times are rather out of balance. ‘I think we‘re controlled by a very masculine tendency towards ambition.‘ he explains. ‘That‘s good. that's how you get things done and improve. But it's bad when it gets out of balance and results in things like territorialism.‘
'I‘m very interested in mythology— I think it's underrated as a philosophy. as a set of moral ethical codes by which man understands himselfand his relationship to the world around him. I think we're very out of touch with things that hold us together. but that we've tossed aside. ‘
This is one ofthe reasons he loves living where he does. ‘In the community where I live it is still part of life — there‘s an element ofunbroken rural tradition. And these stories must have meant something — they must be good stories too - to have lasted so long.‘
In the Brunton production of his play. the words are closely linked to
music. Stiven has worked with Richard Cherns. the composer. on the story. since the outset. the two building. together. a multi-layered telling of the tale. 'lt's not a simplistic moral.‘ Stiven explains. ‘As it is in Romeo and J ttliet where the families see the error oftheir ways. It's more complex than that. I'd really like to make people think — to think how the sadnessjUst goes on. until it leads to situations like the one that l'lster'sin today.‘
Under the Passing Stars: Brunton Theatre. Mitsselhttrgh from I .llar. See Theatre I .istings .
Next Issue: Border Warfare Reviewed and Douglas at The Citizens
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N G N 0 w 0 P E N directed by PETER BROOK
adapted by Peter Brook. Marius Constant,
performed by (IEN'I‘RH IN'I‘HRNA’I‘IUNAI. m: (Ittiz..\'rioxs 'I‘ttt:.\'t‘n.u.i~:s
and 'I‘m: Stzo'ta‘tstt (Runners ()I’HH Exsmmt:
(Old Museum of Transport. Albert Drive, Glasgow) Monday loch-Sunday 30th April 8.00 pm Tickets? [12:00, £9.00, £6.00
(Concessions available) from: The Ticket Centre. Candleriggs. Glasgow GI INQ Tel: 04I-227 SSII (Open Mon-Sat I0.30 am-6.30 pm)
With financial support front the (ity of Glasgow District and Strathclyde Regional Councils, the
Scottish Arts (ouncil, I’Assoc'tation Francoise d’lction Artistique, The Triangle Restaurant, Glasgow.
The List 24 February — 9 March 21