I BAT THE FATHER. RABBIT THE SDN Donal O'Kelly's one-man-show makesa welcome return visit to Scotland as part at Irish company's double-hander. See Preview.
Rough Magic. Assembly Rooms (Fringe Venue 3) 226 2428.10 Aug-l Sept (not Suns), 2pm. £5.50 (£4.50).
ITHE GREAT DOCTOR YABUHARA lnnovatory and anti-establishment tale at a ruthlessly ambitious blind man staged by eminent Japanese director Kimura. See Feature.
Chijinkai Company (Festival) Lyceum Theatre. 12-14Aug. 7.30pm (also 2.30pm on 14Aug). 24.50-28.50.
I GREEK TRAGEDY Latest production from the prolific Mike Leigh. set in the Greek community in Australia. See Preview.
Belvoir Street Theatre (Festival) Churchill Theatre.13—25 Aug, various times. 2550—28. I TVERBDUL Evocation ol lite in contemporary Russia by ottshoot ol Rozovski's Theatre Du Nikitski Vorokh. making their British debut. See Preview.
TAM. Traverse Theatre (Fringe Venue 15) 226 2633.14 Aug—18ept, varioustimes. £6.50 (£3.50).
Radical, avant-garde group lrom Lublin, Poland premieretheir new pertormance tn the UK—a meditation on the French Revolution. See Preview. Scene 6. Demarco Gallery (Fringe Venue 22) 557
0707, Aug 13—25. 6pm. £5 (£3.50). ,
(iiven how dismally Eastern European theatre is represented in the Fringe this year. it will be a rare treat to see the work ofJanusz. Wisniewski. whose company. now working at the Warsaw Theatre Studio. are performing at the Assembly Rooms. Wisniewski has long been regarded in Poland as one of the successors of a modern directorial tradition founded by the likes of Kantor. Grotowski. Szajna and Wajda; directors who are involved on every level of theatrical performance including stage design and writing the script.
()lsnimie has emerged from a collaboration between director Wisniewski. choreographer Wesolowski and composer Satanowski. Although Wisniewski is always exploring a theatrical language that does not rely on words to convey meaning. the new work strives to mix these elements in an attempt to push the boundaries of theatre and dance to their limits. drawing closer to the form of pure
a) . 3*
approach is far from minimalistic. ‘My theatre comprises lipstick. high heels. artificial lights. puppets. . . .' he explains. ‘but I feel it gives the real picture ofwhat we see around us - the world. life. and finally ourselves.’
The performance imagery is intriguing. to say the least. ()lsnienie is translated as ‘Dazzle’. but is made to refer to ‘the dazzlement of darkness'. Most of the 3f) actors and actresses appear as ‘horses' — bar the ‘Master‘. the ‘Donkey’. ‘A Quarter ()f A Rouble‘ and ‘Death‘.
The Master is the grand tamer of the circus of life. and the Donkey
movement. However. Wisniewski’s
philosophical observer of our daily exertions. For Wisniewski it is in this bizarre circus that truth is spoken. ‘All the shouts slipping off the lips of the characters do not negate the truth they are calling for. the sense of questions they put to each other. of the road they are travelling. That is the real road.’ (Lisa Baraitser)
I Dlsnienie (Fringe) Warsaw Theatre Studio. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. 38 Aug—l Sep. (i.3()pm. £6 (£5).
I Polish Contemporary Theatre (Fringe). Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425. 20—26 Aug. 11.30am. £2 (Ll .50).
Following the success of The Ugly N00 N00 on last year’s Fringe, Johannesburg’s Market Theatre company took set to present another ingenious comic response to a sinister reality. Curl Up and Dye relies upon the tact that a hairdressing salon is more than just a source oi bleak puns: it serves as both confessional and dressing room lor actors on a divided stage. Susan Pam, who takes the role at ‘brassy but utterly deteated' stylist in her own play, exploits this literal and metaphorical potential. Hersalon becomes the setting for the struggle at live women with the distorted identities that apartheid has loisted upon them.
Curl Up and Dye has been greeted with almost unanimous enthusiasm throughout South Africa and was voted the country’s Best New Play for 1989. And this a play which, by virtue of its mixed race cast, would once have been illegal.
But director Lucille Gillwald, who has fought against apartheid tor overthirty years, puts it in context. ‘In so tar as the Group Areas Act is concerned,’ she says, ‘really nothing has changed since the release of Mandela. Although increasing numbers at blacks are moving into run-down white urban areas like that in which this action takes place, this is still illegal. When the law is enlorced these people are
evicted - it is a common sight to see piles of lurniture on the pavements of Johannesburg. Despite the enormous leeling ol hope and optimism in the country atthe moment, many predominantly working-class white people leel very threatened by what they see as a black invasion.’
The community in which the play is set is typical oi ‘grey areas', tor which governmental and municipal authorities seem to have abnegated responsibility. Violent crime and exploitation are rile. Of the three white characters, the hairdresser is beaten by her husband, her friend is a junkie who dabbles in prostitution, and the
third has a menial job as apartment
block caretaker. The tragedy is that their deep-rooted racism prevents them lrom making the connection between their own degraded and
oppressed existences and that ol the salon‘s black cleaning woman, who has been sweeping the lloor tor twenty years without a pay rise.
‘The play shows how these women have the potential to communicate on a much more human level,‘ she explains, ‘but instead ol actually getting it together, they are so racially conditioned that they mess it up every time.’
Gillwald is meticulous in her choice at adjective — conditioned is exactly what these people are; black and white equally victims of iniquitous legislation. Racism is even more tanatical amongst these insecure and ill-educated people, lorwhom it is the last bastion of a battered sell-esteem.
Presumably the vulnerability olthese women and the near-absurdity at their situation is emphasised by the lrantic business oi curling and straightening and the ludicrous paraphernalia oi the salon-cum-dressing room. Gillwald‘s desire to convey the stark reality ol conllict amongst people at the bottom of the pile was too strong to allow her to dwell on the comedy oi the show. However, rapturous reviews suggest that the playwright, in herturn, understands the power at laughter too well not to exploit it. (Catherine Fellows)
Curl up and Dye (Fringe) Market Theatre Company/Michael's Company,
Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 226 2633. ; 14—19Aug.4.45pm,21—26Aug, 7.45pm, 28 Aug—1 Sept, 12.30pm.
The List 10— lo August 199027