‘For a long time Glasgow was considered a backwater. as was Clydebank. They were places you just didn't go to. in the last few years things have changed so much. Suddenly Glasgow is the in place.‘ says Ken Turel with a hint of scepticism. It is Turel's contention that contrary to popular belief. things have been happening for a while as they will continue to. Culture Year or not.
One new event though is the Clydebank Community Play Festival. which is presenting six plays. workshops and rehearsed readings of plays written by local authors. "I‘he main concern is to promote local talent' enthuses Turcl. who is directing. acting. writing and administrating for the festival. With a little advertising they found plenty of plays ofa worthy standard. written largely by local people. ‘What we‘re hoping is that we‘ll have some new angles and a bit ofvitality‘ he suggests. a departure from the hackneyed approach of many amateur groups.
Achieved as a result of the combined efforts of Riot Act. the ? drama group based at the U840 centre. and the Clydebank Community Youth Theatre. the festival will involve at least 30 people. ‘The most exciting thing is that in a very short space of time most of us are getting to learn and experience so many activities.‘ remarksTurel.
From the synopses of the plays. the themes look both interesting and relevant. ranging from adolescence to rape to horror. 'l‘urel insists that overall the plays reﬂect an optimistic view oflife. ‘At first I thought they were a wee bit bleak and depressing but somewhere along the line things changed. We all know that life can be a drag. but there‘s a lot ofgood things happening on the community level.‘ You can see all six plays fora mere £1.50i750) as well as attend
the workshops and readings. ‘Don‘t come to Clydebank just to see Wildcat. Come to see other people doing things which are just as good.‘ (Jo Roe)
The Festival takes place Wed 15—Frt' 24 Nov in various venues throughout Clydebank.
V NEW PLAY
‘The play is basically about the lrustrated aspirations of the YUPPIE generation' concludes John McColl, author at The Bronx Jew. alter a lengthy exposition oi the complicated issues raised by a condensed plot. The Mandela Theatre Company’s latest venture is set around a cathartic day in the lite oi Duncan, an aspiring stand-up comic battling with his alter-ego, his wile Anna who pushes him a little too lar and his lather-in-law Billy, who goes about his business in the old-lashloned way, retaining a social conscience. Billy encounters Dean Russell a greedy, unprlncipled entrepeneur who boosts his ego with ‘buzz’ cards. apparently a recent phenomenen to aid those with a vaulting ambition.
Directorol the production, Paul Pinson collaborated with John McColl at several stages ol the play’s development, making changes here and there to create a tight piece at drama. In an equally un-Thatcherite manner Pinson believes in listening to and absorbing the ideas at designers and actors involved in the project. ‘There’s nothing worse than a director who gets up on stage all the time and shows the actors exactly what to do,’ he proclaims, almost as bad as the egocentric director who incessantly stamps his own redundant concepts on
the original work. Detlecting undue respect lorthe writer. McColl insists that he has the easiest task. ‘I just put the words down on paper without having to worry about stageing problems.’
The two have a healthy working relationship, which seems to be the way iorward in contemporary theatre. Enthusing on the Scottish theatre-scene Pinson is encouraged by the spirit at co-operatlon between small companies, like themselves and Oxygen House, who have no qualms about sharing designers and actors. ‘When I was down south with Family Altair people kept saying, “It’s great, this new Renaissance In Scottish Theatre",' he says, not without a touch oi incredullty, ‘and then I realised they were talking about people like Oxygen House, Annexe and us.’ The Mandela Theatre Company are committed to new writing lor the time being and are always on the look out lor material, especially short plays tor a prospective lunchtime season at the Netherbow.
' (Jo Roe)
The Bronx Jew is on at the Netherbow, Edinburgh 15—25 Nov belore touring Edinburgh community venues.
V NEW PLAY
Giles Havergal is not content to sit back and enjoy a good book. He’s only happy
once he’s adapted, co-dlrected and starred in it to boot. As his reworking ol
Graham Greene’s Travels With My Aunt
prepares to journey across the stage at the Citizens with him In the lead role, I wondered ll these are early signs at meglomanla. ‘The three things are really separate,’ he assures me. ‘The adapting and directing go hand in hand. llyou adapt very dense, complex novels like that, you can only do it with a production in your mind. i’m directing it with Jon Pope; it’s a co-production. Iie’s pushing us about the stage. I hope it’s not meglomania.’
Indeed Havergal's aims are much more honourable than those at a power-crazed impresario. He’s an old hand at the adaptation game and it is something over which he takes much care. ‘It's tremendously interesting because you make the play,’ he says. ‘The ditierences between how a novelist writes and how he achieves his etiects and dramatic moments and how a dramatist does it is very marked,’
At the same time, he has tried to stay true to Greene's intentions; something that isn’t always easy with a sprawling plcaresque novel spanning mental and physical distances. Havergal has pared down the detail of the novel, but he has kept the plot structure and every word spoken on stage Is straight lrom Greene. And at course, the central comic conirontetlon at a respectable
d M ass man coming ace to lace with a radical hippy culture by means at his anarchic aunt remains well intact. ‘The more I’ve worked on it,‘ he says, ‘the more struck I’ve been by the painstaking way he gets sentences in exactly the right place and exactly the right length. Yet the whole thing has a lightness as it he’d just shrugged it oil belore breakfast. I think he’s so clever to have written something that’s brilliantly engineered and yet has such Hvehnessﬂ Despite Jon Pope sharing the job at
directing. Havergal reckons that there won't be so much oi the Citizens patent
, visual pizazz this time round. ‘We’re
probably concentrating more on the personal journey,’ he explains. ‘Within a comic Iramework you have a very interesting and touching journey at discovery.’ (Mark Fisher
Travels With My Aunt is at he Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Fri 10-Sat 18 Nov 7.30pm.
ITAG CITY Yes. it's back! TAG‘s large-scale community play. (try. is getting even larger for 1990. There is a multitude of different projects planned to follow up from the first performance back in July and everyone is invited to get involved regardless of age. ability or experience. More information is available on 041429 2877 and workshops are taking place as follows: Callowgate Tenants Hall Every Thursday until 7 Dec.
Maryhill Community Central Halls Every Wednesday until 6 Dec.
Govanhill Neighbourhood Centre Every Friday until 8 Dec.
Drumchapel Community Centre Every Wednesday until 6 Dec.
Pearce institute. Govan Every Wednesday until 6 Dec.
Dolphin Arts Centre Every Tuesday until 5 Dec.
I News lrom The East Hardly out of the country and the Traverse‘s tour of Great Expectations has fallen victim to a baggage strike. The first night audience in Baghdad was treated to a performance without costumes. set or prOps.
I CarSearch If you happen to be sitting on a 19505 model motor car and you don‘t mind it being sawn in halfand painted pink. then give Robert Flowera ring at the Royal Lyceum. Edinburgh. (031 229 7404) who will be more than happy to make use of it on the set ofJohn Byrne‘s The Slab Boys
V IN PRINT
l The Best oi Plays And Players Mcthuen. £9.99. Available in paperback forthe first time. this collection of articles from Plays A ml Players covers 1953 to 1968. It covers the years chronologically and
each chapter concludes
with a list ofhighlights and lowliglits of the respective year. lt‘sa big. well-illustrated volume which includes everyone
from Peter Brook. John Osborne. Harold Pinter to John Giclgud. It is predictably rather ' London-centred. but it is nonetheless an entertaining document of two decades ofthcalrical change and development.
The List 10- 23 November 1989 47