the audience with typical British modesty. But that night after the hotel pianist has gone to bed and their sing-along comes to an end, out comes the duty-free and it‘s six o‘clock before the party ends.
Over the next few days the reports continue to glow. Fortunately its notoriously cynical critic Ray Conlogue of the Globe and Mail loves it. It is. he says. ‘the theatrical equivalent of a whitewater rafting expedition. Lots ofthrills. several near-upsets and a good deal of maniacal laughter.‘
And up towards the heart of Tremblay country, Pat Donnelly in The Montreal Gazette also gives her seal of approval. Pointing out how ‘ “Ah drag masel‘ up fur tae make the breakfast“ is a lot closer to Joual than the prosaic “I get up to fix breakfast“ ofthe English-Canadian translation.‘ she raves about Boyd‘s touches of ‘genius‘ and welcomes the Tron to the Scottish first league of the Traverse, the Citizens‘ and the Edinburgh Fringe.
In a festival that embraces a dozen major productions from around the world — from Athol Fugard to Canadian performance art, from Polish expressionism to black American spiritualism — the Tron is a more than worthy representative of the muscular energy of Glasgow‘s current theatrical renaissance.
They may not catch every word but the people ofToronto love it.
A Lot Of
Simon Fanshawe, Iastyear's Perrier award winner
Winning last year’s Scotsman competition to become a judge on the Perrier Pick oi the Fringe Panel left me with a lunny mixture at ieelings.
It was undoubtedly hard work. You can be covering up to tour shows each evening, every evening. That can stretch anyone’s sense of humourto the limit. You may even begin to leel that nothing-and i mean nothing - is iunny any more.
But the night i saw myseli interviewed on Reporting Scotland, describing Perrier as naturally reteshing ‘sprinkllng' water, I realised
that all was not lost. Perhaps my chance oi a TV career was in doubt, but certainly not my ability to laugh. Least oi all at mysell.
The laughter and tun that is to be had on and oil stage outweighs the exhaustion at getting yourseli to-and sitting through— so many shows. Besides, there's usually time tor a beer ora glass oi ‘sprinkling‘ water to keep
you going between shows!
Panel meetings are both very iunny and very heated. At times they can also be quite inluriating, particularly when everyone hates a show that you really like. But somehow the good has to be slited irom the bad and agreed upon. Then everyone is oil to see yet more shows.
Another oi last year‘s ten panellists was tied Sherrin and one at the short-listed iinalists was the very lunny John Hegley. For me meeting both was a particular pleasure.
Towards the end oi this hectic period, all the judges are required to go back to see certain shows for a second time. This can be a painful experience, especially it you were unimpressed the iirst time round. But overall I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I’m certainly glad I had the opportunity. It the truth be told, I’m already ieeling jealous at this year’s winners.
See Competition Page for your chance to join the Perrier Pick oi the Fringe Panel this August in Edinburgh.
Former glory: A couple oi weeks ago, a most incongruous group of gentlemen loitered with intent around Central Station's lower recesses. This happy lew consisted ot, amongst others, the principal at Glasgow University and one Bikkl Fulton. Their purpose was to unveil the iirst in a series oi plaques which are currently adorning several, at iirst glance, equally incompatible sites around the city.
What have Plzzaland, The Cannon Cinema and a tuit oi grass on Glasgow Green got in common? (apart irom all being a sale haven tor invertebrates). Well, in a previous lncamaiion, they were all dramatic arenas in Glasgow’s glorious history. .
These three plaques join 23 others to make up The Glasgow Theatres Trail. Each plaque was donated iree oi charge by a local company and are prominently displayed, hopeiully out at arm's reach. The trail was the brainchild oi DrAlasdalr Cameron, head at Theatre Studies at The University oi Glasgow, who is more than a little philosophical about the welcome which Glaswegians will reserve ior this laudlng oi their theatrical heritage.
“The Trail is an attempt to show that
the blagured Britannia Theatre then and n
Scottish theatre did not just begin in 1973 (the year when a certain numerical company was tounded) and that we weren’t a nation oi Philistines belore then,’ says Cameron and continues with a smile, ‘I guess that the trail will last as long as the plaques— probably that means next Saturday night.‘
Whilst the trail may, with the aid ol the accompanying booklet, provide some loose sense at coherence lor city centre meanderings, Cameron does hope that it will serve a more useiul purpose also. One oi the lew plaques which is actually attached to a iunctioning theatre is that ol the Britannia in Argyle Street.
‘That's the one that is important because The Britannia is under threat’ says Cameron. ‘Wlth a bit at luck the trail will encourage people to donate to the appeal and help to save at least this one oi the city's theatres.‘ (Philip Parr) The Glasgow Theatre Trail Guidebook is now available irom libraries, museums and some bookshops, price 99p. Ii there is sufficient interest, guided tours oi the Trail may be organised. Call the Department at Theatre Studies, 041 330 5162 lor lurlherdetails.
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I Scottish Playwrights 0n Strike Relations between the Scottish Society Of Playwrights and the Federation of Scottish Theatres have hit such a low that the SSP has declared a moritorium on new contracts.
‘We feel they‘re giving us nothing.‘ saysthe Society‘s convener Chris llannan. He refers tothe £4000 offered by the FS'I'. which. he says. represents the exact amount paid by the Arts Council to a theatre commissioning a new play. "The Arts Council contribution has become a (lefaclo minimum. even though it was never intended as that.‘ he explains. ‘We want to break the link between what they give and what the theatres give. and we have the Arts Council‘s support on this: they do expect the theatre concerned to make a contribution.‘
The SSP‘s claim is for a minimum of£5.550 per play (based on £150per week for nine months). but negotiations broke down when the FST refused to offer any advance on £4000.
Although over thirty of Scotland‘s leading playwrights will refuse to undertake new work. llannan — who is currently working on a commission for the Tron — stresses that existing contracts will be honoured.
Meanwhile. the PST convened last Friday. and in a statement issued at the weekend said it ‘confirmed its recognition of the fundamental importance of new writing to Scottish theatrc‘. It went on to state that ‘over 50 per cent of commissioning fees to playwrights for the last two years had come from theatrcs‘ own budgets and sources other than the Scottish Arts Council.‘
‘Federation members considered a numberof options for further discussion with the Scottish Society of Playwrights.‘ the statement concluded. ‘and will be seeking an early meeting.‘
Watch this space for further developments.
lAltemalive periormers sought for the Salamander Cabaret A Go (io, anew cabaret club in lidinburgh running every Wednesday night until 25 July. building up toevery evening during the Festival. Poets. comedians. bands and solo performers should contact Arnold at 57 Newington Road.
Edinburgh. 667 2372.