I Tron Spectacular Glasgow‘s Tron Theatre races ahead in the PR stakes thanks to a recent press conference to out-do all others. Like one of those previews for TV ﬁlms over Christmas, it was a tightly orchestrated performance of highlights from the forthcoming year. Craig Armstrong of the Big Dish played a selection from his piano score for Ted Hughes‘ Crow. Tony Roper led a rehearsed reading of Paddy's Market, a hilarious follow-up to The
Sreamie, and Elaine C. Smith rounded offthc evening with a new ballad. All this and much more from a season which promises much excitement. Press Officers take note: the age of Performance Publicity is upon us.
I Performance opportunity The Third Eye Centre is looking ahead to the National Review of Live Art in October and has set up a number of regional ‘platforms‘ in which young unsubsidised artists can present work for selection into the October programme. The Glasgow platform is on 19 June and if you are interested you should contact Stephen Slater at the Third Eye Centre on 041332 7521.
I Art: Centre Refit A major contributor to Mayfest‘s Community Events Programme in the last two years. The Glasgow Arts Centre will be out of action thistime round to make way for refurbishment and building work. The Centre promises a much improved venue for Mayfest 1991.
V IN PRINT
I Characters (Nick llern Books£l4.95). Released late last year for the coffee-table Christmas market. this is a beautifully put together collection of drawings and paintings by Anthony Sher. In his imagesof friends. family and actors in performance, Sher proves himself to be as lively, witty and imaginative an artist as he is an actor.
‘There‘s rather striking lighting, a hallucinogenic set and draped fishnet to give water and air imagery,‘ says director Glen Wallord about her current Comedy of Errors. ‘There are very vivid colour matches like in a stained glass window. We have a purely vocal soundtrack and the actors do all the sound effects. It‘s an attempt to evoke
an ethereal landscape.‘
Can this really be the same Glen Wallord who built her reputation at the Liverpool Everyman for directing sharp-talking comedies like the original Shirley Valentine? What’s all this ethereal business got to do with one of Shakespeare‘s best-known comedies? ‘l‘m notorious for my sense
of humour,’ she admits, ‘and I sense a certain disappointment from people who know me and who know my work, but I decided to take a different path. Strangely enough, the humour broke through of its own accord in Bath and everyone had a hoot of a time. I thought they were laughing far too much and that the thing was far too funny for what I intended!‘
This production forthe English
5 Shakespeare Company is the second
time Wallord has directed the play and she was anxious to find something fresh in it. ‘There are two threads to my work,’ she explains. ‘One has a lot of muscular energy and the other is much more visionary, ritualistic and spiritual. When I did Comedy of Errors before, it was real knockabout rough stuff. I wasn‘t going to do that again, so I followed a whole other mental vision. It’s not street-cred at all. It‘s heavily and unashamedly Romantic-with a big ‘R’.’
After a couple of months studying the play, Wallord, who has directed in a staggering seven languages, satisfied herself that there was more to it than a boisterous comedy. ‘Women reviewers have seemed to understand this show far betterlhan men,’ she explains, ‘especially men with a very analytic background who cannot understand the weird sounds and the strange inner vision of it all. But there are amazing suggestions of Shakespeare’s own innervoyage all through it. To pigeon-hole the whole thing as farce is well, diabolical.’ (Mark Fisher). Comedy of Errors, Theatre Royal, Glasgow, 5—10 March.
V NEW PLAY -
The issue of racism in Scotland is fraught with difficulties, and any attempt to bring it to light is bound to raise some degree of controversy. The trouble is that most of us consider racial discrimination to be something that occurs in the south: starts with South ‘Efrika‘; finishes somewhere near Mlllwall. Ethnic minorities do not exist north of the border, or if they do, their numbers are so negligible that tensions could not possibly develop. In short, it‘s not our problem.
According to playwright Lynn Bains, however, the true picture is somewhat different, and her new play ‘Nae Problem’, performed by 7:84 theatre company, sets out to describe the ways in which an invisible problem can occur. ‘The play is set in a typical urban housing estate,’ explains assistant director Sifa Ramamurthy, ‘and focuses upon an Asian family, their experience of life in Scotland, and the harassment they receive at the hands of classmates and neighbours. The play is a view of life through the eyes of ethnic minorities, and sets out to describe the various forms and intensities that racism can adopt.‘
So is this primarily a play about racists, rather than theirvictims? ‘Well it’s both. The family concerned are of
mixed origin, with the mother being of Scottish descent. This is quite a common situation, and it can bring a unique set of circumstances in its
48 The List 23 February — 8 March 1990
wake. Isolation, family tensions and a general feeling of not fitting anywhere are all too common, and naturally we want to bring these to the audience‘s anenhon.
‘Over and above that, however, there is also the issue of racism itself. The play spans a period of five years and tells the story of a particular family. What we‘ve done, however, is to construct the play as a collage of separate images and incidents, in order to give the various instances and characteristics of racism a more universal flavour. The main problem in
Scotland is ignorance, and we want i people to see that the extremes — 1 National Front slogans, swastikas and
the more visible signs of racism - come from a more general pool of misunderstanding and neglect.‘
The play is accompanied by a discussion group for those who wish to take the matter further, and a theatre workshop, entitled ‘lt‘s no secret‘. There is a strong emphasis upon education, and a number of school parties are expected to attend. (Philip Kingsley)
Nae Problem opens at the RSAMD, Glasgow on 28 Feb and then tours
LISTINGS: THEATRE 49 CABARET 53 DANCE 54
Dancer Lindsay John looks at the work of Masaki lwana.
One of the more challenging experiences of the new dance season in Edinburgh will be the Scottish premier ofBi-Duality by the Japanese Buto dancer Masaki lwana. Seen at Mayfest last year. with his spellbinding and highly acclaimed performance of Nomanari, Iwana clearly demonstrated his extraordinary vision and skill: powerful yet fragile, wild yet elegant, minimal yet loaded with furious inner energy.
It has been said that Iwana I decided, some time ago, that the only way to break the passage of time was to commit a crime or express himselfthrough Buto. Iwana chose Buto.
Indeed, when Buto first emerged out ofthe cultural and political underground ofJapan some thirty years ago, led by Tatsumi Hijikata and his Ankoku Buto (dance of the dark soul), to many the new dance appeared no less shocking than a violent act and an assault on established values. To others the example and inspiration of Hijikata, his call to break the cultural mould, to scrutinise the body both without and within and shed the domestication of movement, meant unprecedented, creative freedom.
The inevitable outburst of highly expressionistic and inventive dance that followed finally gave rise to the unique Buto movement now having a profound effect on dance and theatre the world over.
Masaki Iwana is one of the new breed ofdancers in the vanguard of solo Buto and one ofthe few who, though originally fired by Hijikata, refuses to be fixed by the forms and choreography later developed by him, now normally associated with the movement in the West. By this act he retains the original spirit of rebellion and inventiveness inherent in Ankoku Buto. To this day Iwana has spurned formal training and has never had a teacher. ‘My methodology,‘ he says, ‘is a manifestation of my desire to avoid being fenced in by the meaning of language. It is also an effort to approach substance, 3 yearning for language in its deepest sense ofthe meaning.‘ (Lindsay John) . Bi-Duality is on a! the Traverse,
Edinburgh from 3—4 March.