EARTH MOON BLOOD
The values of native American culture. particularly in relation to sisterhood and the environment. are portrayed by haunting song and narrative in Huluppu Tree‘s innovative production. Earth Moon Blood.
It is obvious that a lot of work has gone into this production. which was devised by the Californian company in order to offer new possibilities for our lives, in this case learning from native Americans.
Exploration ofthese themes is a valuable exercise. if only because it broadens our outlook. Equally. however. I cannot help wondering if the portrayals of lives so distinct from our own is not. in the end. aconcept too abstract to inﬂuence an Edinburgh audience. (Aaron Hicklin)
I Earth Moon Blood (Fringe) Festival Club (venue 36). 220 0539. 24. 25 Aug. 12. 15pm. 26 Aug—1 Sept. 8. 15pm. £3.50 (£3).
HORN OF SORROW
Given that Theatre For Africa was only set up this year. their professionalism and originality are admirable achievements. Horn ()f Sorrow— their main show - warns ofthe impending extinction ofthe Black Rhino at the hands of South African capitalism. Describingthe life ofa single Rhino from birth. to hunt. to death. the piece is performed ﬂawlessly by a six-person ensemble. who tell the story with a rich variety of visual and verbal forms. Their tools are simple: a few nails. bricks. a wooden ﬂoor and of course. their own bodies. From these they carve something very rare: theatre intelligent both in its performance and its message.
This is a play for all ages; a play which educates without preaching; a play that undoubtedly must be seen. (Avie Luthra)
I Horn Oi Sorrow (Fringe) Theatre For Africa. Springwell House (Venue 32) 337 1971. 13 Aug—1 Sept. 6pm. £4.50 (£3.50).
EIIIIIIIIIIII 3 ousxro DAWN
AT THE SUNSET
A familiar story, father goes philandcring while mother turns to drink— watched in this case by their teenage children. On such well-trodden ground a play really should have something new to say and this one hasn‘t. Worse than that. it is written in a style which might best be described as ‘Californian Angst’, with portentous lines such as ‘illusions become the needed realities‘ and ‘a lot of living is really a kind of dying.‘
That said. the scene where father leaves home is powerful and the cast bring complete conviction to their roles. Indeed. the acting is good enough to make much ofthe. at times rather loud. recorded background noise which is unnecessary in creating atmosphere. (Mungo Bovey)
I Dusk To Dawn At‘l’tte Sunset (Fringe) Ensemble Arts Theatre. Edinburgh College Of Art (Venue 73) until 28 Aug. 7.05pm. £5 (£4).
ADVENTURES OF TSITSI
Tsitsi M‘pofu tells her story (part one) with simple language. one chair and African tribal background music.
Born in a Northern Rhodesian village. she was expected to bring wealth to her family by marrying well.
With songs. movement and an unnerving laugh. she explains how she fought against this as well as racism and poverty with strength and character.
It is hard not to be bowled over by Tsitsi who apologises after her storytelling for her accent and offers to answer any questions over coffee.
Probably the most interesting coffee-talk I've ever had. (Melissa Nathan)
I Adventures olTsitsi (Fringe) The (‘roremucheche Company. Marco‘s Leisure Centre (Venue 98) 22‘) 8830. until 25 Aug (not Sun). llam.£4 (£2.50).
Political theatre is a term which. despite its wide applicability. often arouses negative feelings in members ofthe theatre-going public. Eagle. playing at Springwell House. treads this difficult line with such good-natured simplicity. however. that you immediately warm to its message.
Set in South Africa. from where the company originates. the play operates on two levels. Firstly. through the eyes of an eagle. we witness the effects ofwarfare and forest felling on the environment. and secondly we are asked to recognise in the plight of the eagle the interlinked and ultimately analogous destiny of humankind.
Theatre for Africa‘s unique style. which combines harmonic singing and native African dance. marks out this play as one worth catching. and the company as one to be sought out in future years. (Aaron Hicklin)
I Eagle (Fringe) Theatre for Africa. Springwell House (Venue 32). 24, 26. 28. 30 Aug & 1 Sept. 2.30pm. £4.50(£3.50).
Performing in an invented language so as to highlight non-verbal aspects of communication might seem a risky undertaking, but this Swiss/Australian company pulls it off with
admirable panache. Using gesture. posture. facial expressions and variations in the rhythm, volume and intensity of speech rather than words themselves. they explore the familiar rituals of Sunday.
The unreality of Sundays. and also their light-hearted purpose. are taken to slapstick extremes as two friends meet. eat. talk. squabble. get bored. try to fill the empty hours. Playfully surrealistic props heighten the absurdist effect. as do ludicrous games played with the ferocious intensity of children. With all the dialogue in incomprehensible gobbledygook. this is an impressive feat of communication. ingenious and highly entertaining. (Sue Wilson)
I Sunday Sunday (Fringe) Theatre de la Grenouille. Greyfriars Kirk House (Venue 28) 225 3626. until 1 Sept. l0.30pm.£4 (£3.50).
KA’IULANI: A CANTATA FOR THE THEATRE
Taking the life story ofthe Hawaiian-Scottish princess Ka'iulani (1875—99). this Honolulu-based company has created a vibrant. powerful and visually stunning piece of theatre. Structurally based on Bach‘s three-movement church cantatas. it incorporates traditional Hawaiian performance techniques such as chant and hula. along with Hawaiian visual symbolism.
The tension between Ka‘iulani's life as an educated. sophisticated woman and her status as heir apparent to a traditional island kingdom is vividly dramatised in a blend of music. ceremony. mime and narrative. She is portrayed as both individual and icon. representing Hawaii‘s beauty. dignity and cultural richness. Her personal struggle for self-determination mirrors that of her people. and her death. shortly after the US annexation of Hawaii. becomes a symbol of their loss. Ka'iulant' is both a
fascinating story and an exciting synthesis of theatrical traditions. (Sue Wilson)
I Ka’lulanl: A Cantata For the ‘l’heatro (Fringe) Kumu Kahua Theatre Company. Chaplaincy Centre (Venue 23). 24. 25 Aug. 8pm. £3.50 (£3).
A young Russian artist in 1880s Paris explores her narcissism with the personification of the same, played by a contempory Australian woman. As detached as that idea may seem, Connie Harris and Julie Lacy‘s ﬂawless interplay - makes nothing seem more natural.
Eighty-four volumes of her journal and 700 works of art left behind by Marie Bushkirtsen after she succumbed at 26 to tuberculosis, ensure that she will be remembered. It is not enough to allow her to love herself. The Nightingale Company explore how narcissism can lead to that end. Enjoyable. sexy. and intelligent. (Richard Conte)
I the Meeting (Fringe) Edinburgh Playhouse and Studio. 18—22 Greenside Place (Venue 59) 557 3807. 13 Aug—1 Sept (not Suns) 2. 15pm. £4 (£3.50).
_ THE WAKE
l have never read James Joyce. And this production makes no sense to me. For an adaptation to work successfully it must be accessible not only to those familiar with the original. but also to those coming to it fresh.
From start to finish. the Dublin Theatre Festival‘s reworking of Finnegan '5 Wake is like one long cryptic crossword clue or something from Round Britain Quiz. You‘re impressed by its witty erudition. amused by its poetic puns. but utterly bafﬂed as to what it's all about.
If The Wake was in a foreign language I could enjoy it for the energy and vibrancy ofthe performances and the sharpness of the direction. but for as long as there are tantalising moments of linguistic meaning. the production is continually frustrating. For lovers of Joyce. I‘ve no doubt this is a joy. but it is meaningless for the uninitiated. (Mark Fisher)
ITho Wake (Fringe)
Traverse Theatre (Venue
15) 226 2633. until26 Aug. 5.30pm; 28 Aug—l Sept. 5. 15pm. £5.50 (£3.50).
THE CONVERSION OF KA’AHUMANU
This sensitive play about Queen Ka'ahtz'nanu’s conversion to Christianity is beautifully realised by the Hawaiian Kumu Kahua Theatre Company.
Historically accurate. it is set in the early l900s against a turbulent background. Western sailors had introduced alcohol and disease to the islands. causing confusion and an increased death rate.
We see two missionary women arriving to save the ‘dark savages‘ and the reactions ofthe three Hawaiian women who cannot believe how ugly and miserable the white
But the enormous cultural divide narrows as they help. confide in and support each other. breaking down their original prejudices and ignorance. Leonelle Anderson Akana is perfect as Queen Ka'ahumanu with just the right combination of elegant regality and spoilt nature.
This is a superb piece of theatre. at times chilling and moving. but always smooth and visually delightful. (Melissa Nathan)
I The Conversion of Ka'ahumanu (Fringe) Kumu Kahua Theatre Company. Chaplaincy Centre Downstairs (Venue 23) Aug 23. 8pm.
32 The List 24 — 30 August 1990