Glasgow University Theatre’s production of Keepers of the Deep-Sea Light.
Like a student‘s overdraft. the Scottish Student Drama Festival. just keeps getting bigger and bigger. This year Glasgow will play host to the largest gathering since the annual jamboree for theatrical students began. back in 1982. In all. the aspiring thespians will be involved in 34 performances. 28 workshops and a host ofplaylets. as well as bursts of cabaret and street theatre.
The festivals have, in the past. provided a public testing ground for young academic talent. Duncan MacLean of the Merry Macs had one ofhis first plays performed in 1984. and the festival organisers point to the recent success story of Stephen Greenhorn. whose play Heart and Bone won a Fringe First in 1989. a year after being performed in the SSDF.
This year. the productions range from the stalwart Whose Life is it Anyway by Langside College to more experimental student-written works such as Friction Fiction from Edinburgh University. which tells of the bizarre problems faced by the amorous offspring of Carl Jung and Flann ()‘Brien. Running concurrently with the performances are a series ofworkshops on Shakespearean text. stage fighting. puppetry. the Alexander technique and many others. all of which are open to the public for the first time.
To underline their dedication to theatre the students have also organised a series ofseminars on
related issues. Possibly the most inviting is entitled The Eﬂects of Student Loans on Study in the A rts with Pat Kane of l inc and (‘ry arguing the toss with representatives of the Conservative Students‘ Association. Who knows. it may provide the most serious drama of the week. (Ross Parsons)
See SSD F Listing s, after Edinburgh Listings.
THEATRE 43 CABARET 52 DANCE 53
Rock your baby
Annie Griffin’s colourful new work, Ariadne, is a typically idiosyncratic response to Strauss’s opera Ariadne Aul Naxos. It is the result of a collaboration with sculptor/painter Laura Ford and pianist Nicolas Bloomfield. Griffin’s past work has been consistently challenging and often deeply personal, yet this musical dance-fantasy of Theseus' lover, abandoned alone on an island, seems to explore new areas of significance. “The woman on the rock in the middle of the sea,’ she says, ‘reminded me of the way one feels when one is very sorry for oneself. In Strauss’ re-telling of the myth, she is made to look ridiculous, but I left that the misery came from the area of wanting to do something heroic, yet the collective silly things keep invading your desire to feel purely unhappy, to find a clean sadness.’ Griffin digs deep Into Ariadne’s dreamlife, symbolically constructing In Dog and Zerblnetta echoes and sublimations to surround the central figure (played by Leah Hausmann). ‘lt’s exploring the trivial obsessive sexual things that people think about,’ she explains, ‘things that don’t announce themselves as serious. lt concentrates on the idea oi taking yourseli seriously, of wanting to endorse yourseli - but losing control overyour desires and appetites, and the fantasy life Itself. That’s why It's
lurid and green!’
In conducting an exploration of this consciousness, the work nears the unique tensions of the mock-heroic: ‘In the ‘finale’ I wanted to give the feeling of a post-coital depression — it’s sung fully, but without the substantial paraphernalia of the lull orchestra. It’s a feeling of anticlimax I find very satisfying, like when you finally get the guy, but it’s not fulfilling like it’s supposed to be. That’s the hugeness of the romantic myth in Ariadne — there’s one person in your life, and If he leaves you should want to die.’
The underside ottemale consciousness remains constant in Grillln’s work: ‘What goes through it all is the idea of fictional roles, and how we use them. Like Tammy Wynnette
I Traverse Year Highlights from the forthcoming season at The Traverse. Edinburgh. include Hardie and Baird. a new play by no less than James Kel man. Strategy For Two Hams. a porcine piece by Raymond (‘ousse. author of ( 'hi/d's Play. and Sarrasine. a specially commissioned piece by (iloria. whose Ariadne can be seen this issue at The Tron. Glasgow. The popular Spinning A Line will return for a third
I The Arches An integral part of the Glasgow's Glasgow exhibition will be The Arches Theatre. at
singing Almost Persuaded, It’s how you 5
live surrounded by all these signs that we participate in.’ (Andrew Pulver) Ariadne is at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 4—Sun 8 Apr.
TTHE "RI-1m LrerNos
7 NEW PLAY
No mean schem
Just over a year ago, playwrightAlieen Ritchie wrote and directed ‘Can Ye Sew Cushions', a play which drew inspiration from women’s experiences of tile in the 1930s. ‘I wanted to do something which explored the reasons why women are attracted to the hard man,’ she recalls. ‘No Mean City had explained why men are attracted to the image, but no one as yet had found out why women go along with it. My
answer was to tell the story of Ina, a girl of strict Presbyterian background who falls for a Glasgow wide-boy’.
lilo one, Ieastot all Aileen Ritchie, expected her play to go very far: once round the community circuit, a few good reviews, and that would be that as far as ‘Can Ye Sew Cushions’ was concerned. ‘I was amazed at the response to the production,’ she says. ‘The play was based on my mother’s experiences, and l assumed that her story was unique. Nothing could have been less true. Women would come up after every show to tell me that the same thing had happened to them. They all wanted to know what happened next. By the end of the run I felt obliged to write a sequel'.
The next chapter In what has now developed into a trilogy is called ‘Will Ye Dance at My Wedding’. ‘Can Ye Sew Cushions’ had concluded with lna forced to remain in a violent and unhappy marriage, so how would the sequel continue the story? ‘I didn't
or? ‘ ~~ ' want to simply carry on with the same theme, so I brought events forward thirty years. If the theme of the first play was marriage and the Glasgow hard man, then this is about another
' so-called'feminine theme: the hopes
and misplaced optimism that came with the movement from inner-city tenements to the new housing schemes during the 19605. The story follows the fortunes of the same family, but this time it’s lna‘s sister Cath who occupies the central role.’
‘Can Ye Sew Cushions’ was well received, and there seems no reason why this play should fare any differently. There is a danger, as with any connected productions, that the success of the sequel depends upon the audience having seen the original
production. Aileen Ritchie, however, is s
confident that the play is self-contained, and that she has avoided the pitfalls of a year-long interval. (Philip Kingsley)
Will Ye Dance at My Wedding is on tour from 26 Mar.
rather like a miniature Tramway Theatre. Virtually the whole year ahead has been programmed. mainly with small-scale touring companies. Clyde Unity Theatre will give the inaugural performance with Aileen Ritchie's Will Ye Dance At My ll’edding? on 17 April.
1 V IN PRINT
I The Methuen Audition BooklorMen Annika Bluhm (Methuen £5.99)
3 The Methuen Audition Book
forWomen Annika Bluhm (Methuen£5.99)An Actor's Handbook Stanislavski (Methuen £5.99) Stage Struck Mathilda Thorpe (Hodder & Stoughton £10.95). Four paperbacks for the would-be actor. The two Methuen Audition Books bring together a broad selection of 50 speeches from contemporary plays suitable for use in auditions. Each extract is normally less than a page long and is brieﬂy put into context by the editor. Playwrights used include
Manfred Karge. Caryl
Churchill. Victoria Wood
3 and Wiily Russell. An Actor's Handbook is an
alphabetically arranged key to the main principals behind Stanislavskys stage theory. inevitany a simplification of the director's writings. it is nonetheless a useful and easily workable summary of his ideas. Matilda Thorpe's Stage Struck is a reference book for those
thinking of takingup acting. lt isa comprehensive list of stage schools. drama schools. college courses and theatres interspersed with advice and suggestions from the author, herselfan established actor.
42 The List 23 March - 5 April 1990