Even these days. plays about prostitution tend to attract controversy: in 1894 the subject was considered too shocking for public portrayal. Bernard Shaw’s Mrs Warren '5‘ Profession. published that year. was immediately banned for dealing openly with the subject. It concerns a young woman's discovery that her mother‘s (and her own) income comes from running a chain ofhigh-class brothels; its argument that economic injustice. not individual vice. is responsible for prostitution only added to official outrage.
‘It‘s a very modern play.‘ says Ann Mitchell. who takes the title role in the Citizens Theatre‘s forthcoming
production. ‘Much of what it describes hasn't really changed. The situation for women has altered very little — there are still far fewer opportunities. still the same economic dependence on men.‘ Through the dialogue between Mrs Warren and her daughter. Vivie. the play examines the moral complexities ofthe issue. ‘Mrs Warren is a very interesting. complicated eharacter.‘ says Mitchell. ‘She‘s a businesswoman. with a modern. independent lifestyle. yet she's very conventional in a lot of ways. especially in relation to her daughter.‘ Throughout the play Mrs Warren's mixture of. pragmatism and sentimentality is set against Vivie‘s high-minded but unromantic approach to life. ‘Vivie is another very modern character.‘ says Mitchell. ‘She decides to withdraw front certain aspects of life — love. in particular — choosing work and independence instead.‘
The ('itizens' production will concentrate on the play‘s arguments rather than on period detail. ‘We'll be performing in a sort of half costume — practice skirts and so on — and there isn‘t really any set.’ explains Mitchell who feels strongly that lhc production is a timely one. ‘Prostitution is now on the increase again.’ she says. ‘it's a traditional response to poverty. The play shows very clearly that women become prostitutes not for pleasure. but for survival.‘ (Sue Wilson)
M rs Warren '5 I’rufessiun. ( 'iiizens' i Theatre. Glasgow-3] Aug—295ept, 7.30pm.
THEATRE 60 CABARET 62 DANCE 62
Continuing a healthy trend, the Tramway is staging three September dance projects, the first of which is Glasgow born and bred. Formed last year, Longdog is essentially a partnership between Marisa Zanottl, currently a member of The Cholmondeleys, and Frank Bock, a founder member of the Featherstonehaughs, though their most recent collaboration also involves
set and lighting designers and two
other dancers. Last year they made an impressive
debut as Splldt. ‘We needed to make a show first on our own to see what kind oi vocabulary we were interested in and what kind of theatre we wanted to create,’ explains Bock. Setting out to create a corporate identity the company name was changed to Longdog, reflecting the implicit humour in theirwork. ‘With this sort of name people don’t know what to expect
when they come to see us. Although we I are trained dancers and that is the main
medium we work in, we are trying to say that dance can be a lot of things
= outside people's preconceptions.’
Devised in close collaboration with
l the four guest members, Made With Unreason aims to explore public and
private behavioural patterns. Talking late into the night the company
examined their subject from numerous angles. ‘The show is made up of scenarios which happen in public and
private spaces. A lot of it is to do with fitting into a world in which you have been placed. What we show of a person in a private space alters the perception of what it is like to be in a public space.‘
Working with the idea of shells and the way people choose to present themselves, costume plays an important role. In one scene two men try to share a suit, in another a woman has to cope with a very large dress. Longdog want to avoid insularity. Citing influences as far apart as Roger Rabbit and David Lynch, it is obvious they are not stuck in a dance groove. ‘It is easy to work in a vacuum. I think that is a problem with dance in general. We’d like everybody out there to come andseeus! Made With Unreason is on at Tramway, Glasgow, Mon to—Tue 11 Aug at 8pm.
‘ ' '
After the mixed reviews received by ‘John Brown’s Body’, Wildcat Theatre Company are looking to re-establish their reputation as producers of innovative, polemical and, above all, entertaining plays. Their latest venture, ‘Cleaning Up‘, certainly has the backstage pedigree to set the record straight. Writer Lynn Bains’ last play was the powerful anti-racist drama ‘Nae Problem‘, whilst director Mary McCluskey directed the hugely successful, ‘Vodka and Daisies“. There are also some men involved in the production but, on stage at least, it is a feminine affair. The six woman cast includes Wildcat founder, Terry
E i l
Neason. tasked her how rehearsals were progressing.
‘lt’s great having all these women around,’ says Neason. ‘I know that sounds a really corny thing to say but it’s unusual to have so many women working together. ltwasn’t a policy, but it’s just great that it happened. When a bunch of women get together the camaraderie’s fantastic and you understand each other’s situation so much better. There’s no chance of sexual politics.’
‘Cleaning Up’ focusses on the battle between six council cleaners and their bosses who see privatisation of cleaning duties as an opportunity for metaphorically cleaning up themselves. Politics, therefore, once again rears its head in a Wildcat play.
‘There’s always a message and a chance that people will pick up on that message,’ says Neason. ‘The good thing about Wildcat is that they never bludgeon people overthe head with politics; you take out what you wish -that’s what I love about it. We did an anti-nuclear play years ago called ‘1982’. People came out and joined CND. That's just great when people go to see a play and come out saying “count me in boys.” That’s making a point; it’s wonderful when a company can do that and entertain at the same time.’ (Philip Parr)
Cleaning Up is at The Clyde Theatre, Glasgow from 5 September then on tour.
I Tramway Plans Glasgow's most exciting large-scale venue is set to take us out of 1990 in style with an autumn programme packed with
Highlight of the season is
the return of Peter Brook t who will be bringingthe
British premiere of his French version of The Tempest ( La Tempéte) at the end of October. This
follows his successful productions of ( 'armen and. ofcourse. The
Mahabharata to which the
' Tramway owes its
existence. Earlier in October. The Wooster Group will
perform athree-ycar retrospectiveentitled
LSD. . . . (Just The High Points) . . . . and later in November Sarafina will
. bring the music of
liberation from Soweto.
Man Act‘s much-heralded : Swear Lodge project i finally comes to fruition.
before a show called
Tectonic Plates and a performance starring cult f sculptor George Wyllie
called A Day Down/1
Gold Mine in December.
All this plus a majorart exhibition featuring work from the Liverpool Tate Gallery and another from Italian artists. Autumn‘s already looking good. See Tramway Brochure insert for further details.
l The James Scotland Trust
Fund The Scottish (‘ommunity Drama Association is behind a new fund in memory of
. one of the most performed
of Scottish writers which aims to provide money for theatrical projects that would not otherwise go ahead. Donations can be sent to The James Scotland Trust Fund. S(‘I).»\. 5 York Place. Edinburgh. Iilll 3E8.
V IN PRINT
The Edinburgh E S T I V A
l The Edinburgh Festival Robbie Jack and Owen Dudley Iidwards ((‘anongate £14.95). Just in case you're sad to see it gone for another year. this hardback volume is an excellent pictorial reminder of Festivals gone bv. Concentrating mainly on International Festival events. the full-colour book takes us through some of the most stunning theatrical events ofthe past 43 years.
58'l'he list 31 August - 13 September 1990