Continuing what has been a breakneck season of dance at the Theatre Royal which will eventually feature four companies from four countries in three weeks, are the Netherlands Dans Theater 2 who made a stunning appearance in Glasgow two years ago. The company was founded in 1978 to act primarily as a channel through which exciting young dancers could make their way into the parent Nederlands Dans Theater. I asked artistic director, Arlette Van Boven, ifit was not a constant battle to keep standards high when her most promising dancers were snapped up by NDT.
‘No, because there is another side to it too,’ said Van Boven. ‘I think the dancers in NDT have a purpose, a goal so they are very, very motivated. And they are always already good dancers when they come to us — it’s an eternal rotation system — the senior company takes our good dancers and we recruit more good dancers. Also, when people are somewhere for only two years they cannot get bored with the repertoire. their colleagues or the system.’
In spite of diverse subject matter forming the basis for each individual dance and the use of music which covers the spectrum from Ravel to David Byrne, there would seem to be a common thread in the company’s work. ‘Na Floresta‘ is a celebration of the Amazonian forest, ’lnnostress’ was inspired by the Lebanon crisis and ‘Jardi Tancat’, although set in Catalonia shows a poor people’s struggle against drought and hunger — an allegory for Ethiopia?
‘You shouldn’t take our work so literally’ asserted Van Bovan, putting me ﬁrmly in my place.
‘ For example, ‘Na Floresta‘ is dedicated to the Amazon rain forest but is not a political statement demanding any kind of dramatic involvement. It‘s more about the beauty of the forest. ’ (Philip Parr)
Nederlands Dans TheaterZ will be at The Theatre Royal, Glasgow from Tue l9—Sa123 June.
THEATRE 47 CABARET 50 DANCE 52
it will be a welcome change to see that perennial favourite of amateur dramatic companies, Neil Simon’s ‘The Odd Couple’, being given the professional treatment for once. Nearing accents which actually sound like New York rather than Newcastle, relishing lines which are delivered with their full degree of vitriol and not having to suffer actors desperately trying not only to sound but also to look like Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau are all bonuses. What makes this production still more appealing is that Oscar and Felix are transformed into Olive and Florence. The Lyceum ls presenting a female version of the show which was actually written by Simon for his wile, Marsha Mason.
‘Whal’s good with it not being an adaptation is that the play still has all of Simon’s best one-Iiners’ says Frankie Cosgrave, who will play Olive the slob. ‘It also has two great roles for women which is unusual. Normally in a play, especially in comedy, the main roles are written for the blokes. It’s the biggest and the best comedy part that I’ve ever done, so from that point of view It's a great challenge. Simply in terms of the fact that we are on the stage all the time and we carry the play as a comedy acting exercise is very challenging.‘
So has Simon felt the need to adapt
Frankie Cosgrave his style when writing for women?
‘The play is very much the same and, simultaneously, very different’ says Cosgrave. ‘Some of the lines are identical to the male version but big chunks have been changed. Really, it’s a situation comedy. The situation is the same - the differences are things like they’re not playing pokerthey’re playing Trivial Pursuit. Also, all of the humour is very much female New York - upfront, loud and raunchy. The problems faced by New York women are very much written into the play. For instance, there’s a line which says, “He’s a man, he can meet women anywhere. We have to donate a kidney and hope he’s grateful and single”.’ (Philip Parr)
The Odd Couple will be at The Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh from 14 June -7
3:. it“ as:
Stephen Taylor Woodrow and Jacob Marley have created a peculiar artifact. A performance which dance audiences find too theatrical and theatre audiences too dance-based. The Second Sitting is a disturbing nightmare at which people laugh. Using the Last Supper as its central theme, the production has also stirred up no small amount of controversy.
‘When we played in Orackneil, it was the front page headline of the daily paper every day for three weeks,’ says performance artist and sculptor Taylor Woodrow with some astonishment. “it's got one or two bits that could be construed as controversial, but people who took the trouble to see it didn't find it olfensive. The narrative strand is that if there was a Second Coming of Christ, He wouldn't get to being born in the first place, because human beings in the world that we’ve created don’t deserve to be saved anyway. it’s more antagonistic towards doctrine and dogma than the morality of Christianity.’
Set at the table around which the Last Supper took place, The Second Sitting
leatures live dancers and three actors who return to enact a bizarre series of events in front of a towering backdrop of fridge doors. ‘lt’s like the realisation of a nightmare,’ explains Taylor Woodrow who designed the installation-like set and also performs in the show. ‘In the same way as you describe a nightmare to a friend and it doesn’t make much sense In terms of a story, but makes an awful lot of sense at the time. That’s how the piece comes across.’
And even at its most lavatorial, the humour in the show retains an uneasy edge. ‘There’s a cookery demonstration done by the table itself,’ says Taylor Woodrow. ‘People quite quickly accept that it's a table talking - this white face glued to a table cloth — and then they begin to laugh. But it’s quite unpleasant-spitting, gobbfng, ejaculating - and ifyou look at it from the outside, it’s quite a disturbing image.’ (Mark Fisher)
The Second Sitting, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, residency until 23 June,
performances 20—23 June.
I International Sacred Earth Competition A competition to draw attention to the twin concerns of ecology and religion via drama has been launched with the sponsorship of the World Wide Fund For Nature. Scripts of between Zliand 45 minutes in length should be submitted by the end of this year and winning entries will be published by Faber. Details on 0706 816 582. I Campus 90 A staggering 80 per cent ofthose theatrically-minded holiday-makers who attended the first ever week-long Campus festival in east Devon last year have booked again for this year. For £80 per head you can pitch your tent and prepare for a non-stop cavalcade of theatre. dance. cabaret. mime and music. Running 28July—4 August. the festival caters for all ages and will feature the Snarling Beasties. Jonathan Kay, Tony Hart, Forkbeard Fantasy. the Hank Wangford Band. S. E. Rogie and many more. There's a daytime creche and nearly 200 workshops, lectures and debates. Full programme from Campus, Freepost. Totnes T09 SB R or phone ()54 882 388.
V IN PRINT
I Churchill The Playwright (Methuen £4.99) Churchill Plays: Two (Methuen £5.99) Churchill Shorts (Nick Hern Books £6.95). Despite her run-away success in London and easy availability in print. the plays of Carol Churchill are rarely performed in Scotland. These volumes all published in the last year provide three intriguing insights into the work of the foremost playwright to emerge from the feminist movement of the early 705 (her writing began. incidentally, as far back as 1958). Churchill The Play wright by Geraldine Cousins is a biographical account of Churchill‘s work for stage and radio providing an analysis of her major themes and tracing the development of her very theatrical and innovative style. Churchill Plays: Two comes complete with an introduction from the author and brings together four of her most successful plays, notably Serious Money which caused a stir in the London financial world a couple of years ago. Finally Churchill Shorts demonstrate‘s the writer‘s versatility. by bringing together an assortment of ten short radio, TV and stage plays. including two never performed.
46 The L‘st 15—28June 1990