All Green: Soul Music
Mike Wilson surveys the Fringe productions with a distinctly Green
If the remarkable success of the Green Party in the recent European elections was not proof enough that environmental issues have rightly forced themselves on to the political agenda, there are nearly a dozen shows on this year’s Fringe which are heavily, if not totally, motivated by ecological themes.
Whether concerns over the environment become no more than this year‘s fashion accessory — a sort of Velcro, where they can be added to or torn off theatrical and political menus when appropriate — only time will tell. For the moment, there are no problems in getting hold of some very committed performers, happy to ally themselves to the the Green movement, none more so than the Rainbow Theatre Company.
Deriving its name from the stricken Greenpeace flag ship, the Rainbow Warrior, the company present Ecocide, a multi-media show which casts its net over a wide range of important ecological staples: saving seals, rain forests, toxic waste, radiation and consumer ambivalence. These are delivered through various characters
who meet or are relevant to Dominique Prier, the French spy who served a 10-month prison sentence for conspiring to sink the Rainbow
Playwright, Wayne Jennings, euphemistically describes her as an ‘explosives delivery system’ , representative of entrenched forces who may or may not acknowledge the force of Green logic.
On a less serious, though no less important, note, the swashbuckling Captain Environment seeks, in Close Encounters of the Green Mind at Diverse Attractions, to inform the audience, young and old alike, of the dangers associated with pollution, reminding us that most of it is created by ourselves rather than'distant third
Hi-Tech Henry, Sister Sara (the Under-Cloister Environmental Activist) and Freddie Fastlane-Forcedfeed are amongst the many incarnations of Rob Inglis, an Australian whose ecological credentials go back to the ‘705 when he was involved in environmental
Roy Hutchins returns with two productions, Whale Nation , which received considerable praise last year, and Falling for a Dolphin. Both are dramatisations of poems by Heathcote Williams, which he feels, ‘read like a mixture of documentary evidence and lyrical poetry, filled with eclectic, almost tabloid, phrases. They almost blur the distinction between prose and
Whilst the poems might not be concerned with contemporary events, like most of the other productions, they nonetheless tie in to the
environmental theme because. says Hutchins, ‘they use art to heighten and develop a global conscnousness‘.
I Whale Nation Roy Hutchins (Fringe), Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. 28 Aug, 1.45pm. £5.50 (£4.50).
I Falling for a Dolphin Roy Hutchins (Fringe), Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. 1 1 Aug-2 Sept (not 14, 21, 29), 4pm. £5.50 (£4.50).
I Landscape Salt — Women‘s Experimental Theatre (Fringe), Tic Toe at Marco‘s (Venue 98) 229 7898. 21 Aug-2 Sept, 9.30pm. £3.50 (£2).
I Ecocitle Rainbow Theatre Company (Fringe) Canongate Hall (Venue 5) 556 1388. 13—26 Aug (not Sun), 12.30pm. £3.75 (£2.50).
I Another Fine Mess Les Bubb (Fringe) Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425. 21 Aug—2 Sept (not Sun), 3pm. £4 (£2.50)
I Reclaim the Earth Diverse Attractions (Fringe) Riddles Court (Venue 11) 225 8961. 28 Aug—2 Sept, 2pm. £2.50 (£1 .25).
I Hi-Tech Henry's Luncheon Cabaret Rob Inglis (Fringe) Tic Toe at Marco‘s (Venue 98) 229 7898. 13 Aug—2 Sept, 12.45pm. £3 (£2).
I Close Encounters of the Green Mind Diverse Attractions (Fringe) Riddles Court (Venue 11) 225 8961.14-19 Aug, 10.30am. £1 .50 (75p).
I ﬂew Earth Notts Education (Fringe) The Notts Venue, Theatre Arts Centre (Venue 16) 667 2388. 14—19 Aug, 1pm. £2 (£1).
I Sleeping Beauty Notts Education (Fringe) The Notts Venue, Theatre Arts Centre (Venue l6) 6672388.14,16,18, 22, 24 Aug 1pm. £2 (£1).
I Diverse Attractions Riddles Court (Venue 1 1) 225 8961.21,23,25 Aug, 10.15am. Free.
successful. good job. married. kids. own home and everything into a very quick descent mainly due
to alcohol and It is easy to forget. redundancy.‘ especially during the ‘The play also addresses
festival. that Edinburgh is in no way immune from the problem of homelessness. But. it can be easily forgotten. Clyde Unity Theatre confront the situation head on by setting their production of ‘A Night Out‘ in the stage
issues like community care.‘ she says. One ofthe women who has been thrown out into the street from a mental institution is looking for ‘The Community‘ as ifit‘s actually a place. a sort of sanctuary.‘
doorway. In the pursuit of This world premiere of authenticity the first stage play by Birmingham-based
Christian theatre company. Back To Back. actually spent nights on London‘s streets talking to the inhabitants of Cardboard City and other less well known haunts. ‘lt‘s not so much a play about homelessness as such. it‘s more a play about four characters who have run away and are homeless and what becomes of them.‘ explains the play‘s author Frances Grace. (Nick Clayton) I A Night Dut(Fringc)
Brooksidc writer. Andy Lynch. centres on a 48 year-old down and out drinker. Michael. fighting for his bit of shelter with a succession of 16 different characters. This will require a degree ofdeft theatricality from the three actors in the show.
‘We‘re getting away from the idea that these people cannot ever have existed in established society.‘ says the play‘s director Aileen Ritchie. ‘This guy. Michael. has gone from being
Clyde Unity Theatre. Crown Theatre, (Venue 53) 667 7655. 10 Aug-2 Sept. 8.30pm. £3.75 (£2.50)
I Crowded Stuff Back To Back (Fringe), Salvation Army Hall. (Venue 130) 662 4441. 21-26 Aug. 8pm. £3 (£2).
‘When I got this job at the Traverse i thought. well, I‘ve got the clout to do it now,‘ says Kim Dambaek, Associate Director at the Traverse Theatre. His dream is to perform works which otherwise might never have been heard. Readings of plays banned in their native countries will be followed by discussions led by writers and experts. The opening conference on 19 August. which features speakers including Dou Dou. a leading Chinese poet and veteran of Tianenmen Square. will be followed over the subsequent two weeks by five play readings.
‘Wc complain about the reduction or increase in
subsidies. and quite
rightly so.‘ Dambaek adds hastily. ‘but in Czechoslavakia there is censorship that makes sure your work doesn‘t go on, and in countries like Chile there is a much harsher censorship. death threats and people actually being abducted and found with their
Dambaek hopes Censored will make people want to help. The International Committee for Artists‘ Freedom, who give practical support to artists suffering under censorship laws, will be collecting donations in the foyer.
But does any of this do any good? Dambaek is optimistic. ‘The fact that people know this is being done is an enormous encouragement to them to carry on their work.‘
Go along and discover the might ofthe pen yourself. (Caroline Dunford)
I Censored (Fringe) Traverse Theatre, West Bow (Venue 15) 2262633. Opening conference 19 Aug. llam. Free. Readings 22. 25. 26. 29 Aug& 2 Sept. 1 lam.
v"- tia I " e.
At a recent conference about the Fringe and its inﬂuence on Edinburgh. John Clifford spoke ofhis unsatisfactory experiences of the world‘s biggest arts festival. His
ﬁrst play was produced in Sept. Various Times and
a school hall outside of the Prices. centre and despite the I Professional Pretenders playwright‘s enthusiasm (Fringe) Lyceum Studio
(Venue 7) 229 9697, 21-26 Aug. 5pm. £4 (£2.50).
I Schism In England (International Festival) The Royal National Theatre Studio. St Bride‘s Centre. 14—19 Aug. 7.30pm;16&19Aug 2.30pm; £5 . 50-£8.
How good is your knowledge of Ancient Greek myths? lfyou go
along to see Eleanor Zeal‘s Eric it will probably be greatly improved. Performed by Theatre Caddis. the play is loosely based on the myth of Erisychton.
‘A king cuts down a sacred tree and is punished by the gods who send famine to lodge in his stomach.‘ Zeal explains. ‘Ever since he wakes up hungry. He eats everything and eventually has to eat his own bones. That is where the story comes from. it is set vaguely modern. strangely modern.‘
‘The central character is fairly soulless.‘ she continues. ‘He is like all the city bods around here: money. money. money . . .do.do.do.‘Tbe idea for this tragic comedy — ‘an analogy for empty consumerism‘ — has been with her for some time. 'lt has been at the back of my
for the piece, nobody came. At the opposite end ofthe scale, his return to the Fringe some years later came with a commission from the Traverse Theatre. but initial uncertainty among the cast and the competitive pressure associated with a high-profile venue made it an equally uncomfortable time for Clifford. I
So it is ironic that the same writer has a total of ‘ three new plays running in l Edinburgh this month. 2 ‘You‘ve got very little : control over what : happens.‘ says Clifford philosophically. ‘This has I been a nightmarish year. I‘ve been working on five scripts. I either was going to cope with it or go ' under. It was make or ' break. it was very tense. but very good.‘ ,
Earlier this year 3 Clifford had his l translation of Lorca‘s The House of Bernardo/111m performed at the Royal Lyceum and he is already thinking about a film script for Channel 4. ‘I feel 1 very proud and pleased l withthem all.‘he says. ‘They‘rc all very different and it‘s amazingly good to I work with so many different people.‘ (Mark Fisher).
I Ines tie Castro(Fringe) Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 226 2633. 12 Aug—2
The List ll— 17 August 198923