The Welsh are back in town as Claire Davidson charts a renaissance in bi-lingual theatre.
Wales — plagued by images ofgreen valleys, lilting harps, male-voice choirs and a dying
mining community — has a message for all Festival
Fringe visitors. Through new writing, adaptations and explosive , confrontational theatre, a series of new voices can be heard. Having found their new and authentic voices, Dalier Sylw. The Company and Made In Wales Stage Company, profess to be ‘Raiders of the Western Shore‘ and offer a stimulating and challenging picture of Wales and its
The new self-confidence and faith of Welsh language theatre is demonstrated by Edward Thomas‘ first full-length Welsh language play, Adar Heb Adenydd. This agressively anti-naturalistic, physical piece breaks down the
barriers between those who do and do not speak Welsh. A tragic farce with its roots ﬁrmly in the circus tradition , Ader Heb A gen ydd confronts its audience with new exciting characters who make anything happen and are far removed from the dross of Welsh kitchen sink drama or the usual, stereotypical proﬁles perpetuated in both mainstream and Welsh television.
The International and Fringe Festivals are no strangers to foriegn language plays, yet there is a feeling that Ader Heb A genydd offers more than even Macbeth in Japanese. With no reference points for the audience to cling onto, this play demands that they watch and think. Using only the concept of the mythical hero, which spans continents and cultures, Thomas feels that his play wasn’t easy for Welsh speakers either — but once they had overcome their expectations of mediocrity, they were able to adapt to the play’s enjoyable , contemporary style.
Thomas has also written (in English), House of America, an angry new drama about a disintegrating South Wales family which also purports to be a portrait of our own times. Well received in London, House of A merica joins with Aber Heb Adenydd to be performed by a bi-lingual company for the last week of the
Made In Wales Stage Company are presenting The Scam by Peter Lloyd at the Traverse Theatre (see Review below). During their visit to
production, Bran wen.
to great acclaim.
their rightful platform.
Edinburgh the company. joined Scottish Arts Council Associate Literary Director, Tom McGrath, to present a reading of a previous
Beautifully translated and adapted by Tony Conran, Branwen based on a mythical tale from The Mabinogi, never loses its contemporary relevance as it explores concepts of power, revolution, violence, oppression, subjugation and vitality. The dialogue and rich language presented in the reading, pageantry of the production which toured throughout Wales to places like Chepstow Castle
reﬂects the beauty and
Welsh Theatre is now ready to present work that stands up for itself. New voices are crying out to look past the borders and language barriers that have held them back and are at last taking up
I Adar Heb Adenydd (Fringe) Dalier Sylw/The Company, Harry Younger Hall (Venue 13) 28 Aug—2 Sept, 1pm, £4.50 (£3).
I House of America (Fringe) Dalier Sylw/The Company, Harry Younger Hall (Venue 13) 28 Aug—2 Sept, 7.30pm, £4.50 (£3).
I Words Beyond Words (Fringe) Lyceum Studio (Venue 7), 229 9697, until 2 Sept, 1pm, £2 (£1). I The Scam (Fringe) Made In Wales Stage Co, Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 226 2633, until 2 Sept, various times, £5 (£3).
than a Mack Truck. (Kerry Napuk)
I Old Hippies American Actors Alliance (Fringe) Abbotsford Ilall (Fringe. Venue 84). 25. 3()Aug.l Sept. noon; 30 Aug. 2pm. £2.5(l(£2).
_ THE SCAM
The enterprise culture of the Eighties— the wheeling and dealing. the fast talking. fast moving business games - rules UK?
Yes. but you have to be a tough. ruthless. powerful. friendless cheat to win. A parasite whocan feed quickly and efficiently on the backs of those who are hungry to work and hungry for the lifeblood of the enterprise culture - money.
The brilliant characterisation and realistic dialogue of Al and Dar. two small—time boys from North Wales.
hungry for power. success
.and money. in Peter
Lloyds‘ revealing play gives the audience a glimpse of the fragile foundations of loyalty and back scratching team games that are necessary to con.
The other side of the coin is to know who is conning you. Al plays his games. he knows the language. the deals— he's ready to pull a fast one. But his real problem is that he doesn‘t knowa bigger fish when he sees one and is blinded by his hunger and his dreams. The depth of the play lies here. but also in the informed study of human relationships, class wars.
1 social strata,macho attitudesandfears.
I The Scam (Fringe) Made in Wales Stage Co, The Traverse Theatre. until 27 Aug, 2pm; 29 Aug—2 Sept, 4.45pm. £5
THE PINK ELEPHANT
This is a stunning play. Six Armenian actors are rehearsing a play for tomorrow’s opening night while outside the shelling is getting ever closer. Their chosen play is an absurdist piece which deals directly with the realities of Armenian life in the Lebanon during the civil war. Any honesty and integrity in art is unwelcome and censored by a Church Council in favour of lighter work — difficulties hardly unique to their country. Yet thisis a play always very much about people rather than issues. People whose cultural identity is gradually being worn down, people who have to question the role of theatre against a backdrop of war, death and isolation. Dipping in and out of ‘real life‘, the multi-racial cast keeps the audience totally attentive. Issues that must be so real to some of the cast are treated as much with casual humour as total seriousness — at times I felt involved in a live rehearsal. (Andrew Williamson).
I The Plnlt Elephant (Fringe) Armenian Theatre Company, Chaplaincy Centre (Venue 23). 2265257 until 27 Aug, 8.10pm
1 This is a production ofﬁve ' new American plays in
two programmes presented on alternate days. The second, 5 x 4 + 2 is typical of the west coast genre. The pieces are excerpts from ordinary lives. They don't go anywhere in particular, but that is the point. The ordinary is made extraordinary.
Appointment Appointment concerns a lonely old woman trying to persuade her neighbour to remove rubbish from her home in case she is fined by the city authorities. In Wake we visit a Nicaraguan mother as she prepares to bury her youngest daughter.
The pieces are performed by Kathryn Trask with a meticulous, if heavily mannered style. Performer and writers all come from a different tradition. It is not really to my taste, but if you want a taste of Fringe Californian style. then see it. (Jon Webster)
I5 X 4 -I- 2 (Fringc)Jesk, Southside International (Venue 82) 667 7365, until 2 Sept. 2. 15pm, £3.50 (£2.50).
AND TO EAT N0 FISH
‘Welcome destruction blood and massacre' repeats‘continually on an electronic message board.
Welcome, indeed, to disturbing images and diverse bits of Shakespeare collaged together in a sordid sexy technicolour nightmare. Imagine the Lear family as Happy Days on bad
i I l ,|
acid and you‘ll get the idea.
Violence and supression in the home are contrasted with the manic lunacy of despots from Khomeini to Hitler. A caged man
constantly rattles his bars, while an endless stream of black chanting figures brandish weopons in the background. Many themes are raised in this context until dad butchers his family and his cat, leaving granny to come down from her painting and sadly observe the
It‘s complicated and difficult, but it works wonderfully and this new group deserves
slice of surrealism. (Jon
I And To Eat No Fish
congratulations for a slick Webster).
(Fringe) Seriously Marginal Theatre Company, Southside International (Venue 82). 667 7365, 6pm, £4.50 (£3.50)
Threeplay is a love story based around Alison and her two boyfriends — both of them wicrdos. She has lived with David for two
years and all he does is sit sullcnly in front oftheTV passing the odd remark. Will, her new bit onthe side, is like an Australian version of Garp. No wonder she's moody. This may sound fairly standard, but a funny, touching, dark and occasionally surreal tale unfolds before us. To say more would ruin the plot. Stavros Prineas wrote, directed and produced this excellent piece as well as stealing scene after scene with a memorable performance as Will. This man is a talent to watch. Lee Mowbray and Greg Tobias also do a good job as Alison and David. Interesting, enjoyable and well worth going to. (Jon Webster). lThnoplay (Fringe) Dreamwright Theatre, Crown Theatre (Venue 53), 667 7588, until 2 Sept, 10.30pm. £4.50(£3)
Imagine John Godber collaborating with the National Youth Music Theatre on a show about the Cleveland child abuse tragedy where the jokes aren't as good and the choreography isn't as slick. Impressions is the case for the prosecution. Stereotyped good family are torn apart by the massed ranks of stereotyped baddy officialdom.
The story trots along nicely and the large cast of Salford college students give energetic and enthusiastic performances. They
The List 25 — 31 August 1989 25