A scene from Peter Arnott’s highly-rated ‘Losing Alec‘. performed at The Tron in 1988.
Arnott to solve his own problem. Like Cloon. his fictional detective. he had to test a whole series of possible solutions and try out no less than twelve different endings before finding one to his satisfaction.
The play's title suggests a religious dimension — and indeed a terrorist gang of fundamentalists called the Black Hand lurks in the background
broad. ‘Salvation stands for an instantaneous solution.‘ he explains. ‘It can be a Black Hand vengeance which solves all social problems or a political revolution or a coup d’état. Saddam Hussein exploits Islamic fundamentalism — the idea that God will sort it all out for us — and market capitalists talk about market forces in the same kind of mystical way. These are all salvation images. They function as psychological crutches, but also as political strategies — those are the politics of the piece.‘ Directed by Michael Boyd and with music by Craig Armstrong, Salvation promises to reinvent the thriller genre for the stage. avoiding the familiar imagery of Taggartor the clichés ofsub-Chandleresque fiction. ‘The problem with detective stories.‘ says Arnott. ‘is that they are always mediated through the mind of the detective. You don‘t see people except as he sees them. Whereas theatre has an inherent democracy to it - no one‘s bigger on the stage than anyone else. Everyone gets seen through everyone‘s eyes and you can challenge the conventions by using the concrete reality of theatre.‘ Salvation is at The Tron Theatre.
Glasgow. 14—30 September.
mim- Bride’s to be
It’s always open to debate how much of an artistic legacy the Edinburgh International Festival leaves behind once August has passed, but this year it has bequeathed at least one tangible benefit. The St Bride’s Centre in Dairy is run year round as a community education centre by Lothian Region, while during the Festival it has traditionally played host to companies including Communicado, the National Theatre and the Flying Karamazov Brothers. The consequence of its hospitality this year is a permanent seating bank and lighting board, Installed by the Council for the Festival, which has paved the way for it to set up as a full-time theatre venue.
‘The view could be that we're trying to set up a middle-class venue in a working-class area -to hijack it,’ says administrator George Williamson who has been working at St Bride’s and its sister centre Springwell House for eleven years, ‘butthatwill not happen. We should be mixing the best of whatever is available, whether it’s the theatre or adult education or the soup in the cafe. We’ll have Wildcat in on Wednesday then on the Thursday we’ll have keep fit in the mornings and carpet bowls in the afternoon.’
Inside St Bride‘s.
The emphasis of Williamson's direction is on diversity. Theatre de Compliclté opens the autumn programme with Help! I’m Alivel, the company’s contemporary reworking of a commedia dell’arte script, but from then on you’re as likely to come across the Melville Music Hall Players orthe Alexander Brothers, as you are The Kosh or Scottish Ballet. ‘We're not just talking about getting the established audiences,’ he explains, ‘but about building up and attracting new people back to the theatre. We're catering for a wide range and we don't have one theme. The theme it anything should be excellence. Whatever people attempt to do, it should be the best.‘ (Mark Fisher)
Theatre de Complicité's Help! I’m Alive! runs 17—22 Sept at St Bride’s Centre, Orwell Terrace, Edinburgh, 346 1405.
- but Arnott keeps his interpretation
V NEW PLAY
Laugh!” nearly died
Being of a nation not given to overstatement, it’s worth taking note when the Irish press expresses its unanimity with phrases like ‘a riveting suspense story’, and ‘extraordinary, original, unique’. The praise is lorTom Murphy’s ‘Bailegangaire’ (Town With No Laughter) which is being produced forthe first time In Scotland by Winged Horse. i asked director, Hamish Glen, about the play which has engendered such uncharacteristic superlatives.
‘The story Is that of an old woman who lies bedridden,’ he explains. ‘nght after night she repeats the same story but neverflnlshes It. The night in which the play Is set, her grand-daughters force her to the end, so It’s almost like a suspense story- she might fall asleep and we’ll never find out what happens.
‘lt’s one of those glorious Irish Interweavlngs of reality and myth. What has become a real story (in the sense of real to the characters who are telling it), was the day that someone died laughing during a laughing competition. But the way it's retold and
the way It’s presented ls'llke a mythical . skeletons of their past, be they national or domestic, by telling stories. This
mythical story-telling somehow
tale, a mythical confrontation between these two characters who battle out the competition. The central Image of the play is that incredibly potent image of laughing yoursellto death.”
if you think that this sounds like the perfect vehicle for that traditional facet of Irish theatre- macabre humour- you would be absolutely right, as Glen explains.
‘What they all end up laughing at is the idea of misfortunes. That's the crux; they talk about the potato crop, their dead, their still-born babies, their husbands and the children which they’ve lost and that’s what keeps them laughing for the whole night. As they all call out these things, it’s just like a blast at the universe. It’s bellowing a refusal at the sky. Scotland and lreland
share this tradition of putting to rest the
supports us and probably defeats us (and the Irish) at the same time.‘
‘ (Philip Parr)
Baiiegangaire is at The Old Athenaeum
: Theatre, Glasgow from 24—29
September and then tours throughout Scotland in October.
THEATRE 57 CABARET 59 DANCE 60
I Scottish Theatre Guide Scottish Theatre Marketing hasjust produced 120,000 copies of its first theatre guide — a free bi-monthly listing of shows in most Scottish building-based theatres and by some touring companies. The organisation also has plans for a nationwide gift voucher scheme and the introduction of Scottish Theatre Awards.
I CottierTheatre Appeal A new theatre on the west side of Glasgow needs a further £300,000 (in addition to the £700,000 already raised) to complete the restoration programme and installation of the 450-seat auditorium. Aiming to open this autumn. the Cottier Theatre is being built in Dowanhill Church in Havelock Street. The organisation is looking for donations of £50,000. £10,000. 1.2.500 or £350. with according benefit packages. and it can be contacted on 041 339 9407.
I Theatre Workshop Appeal Also on the look out for your spare cash is Edinburgh's Theatre Workshop which is half way towards its £500,000 target to renovate its box office and foyer areas and to increase accessibility. They'd be happy to receive arty contribution however large or small. and you can get more detailsonil312257942. I TIE Forum Anyone interested in Theatre ln Education is welcome to a one-day conference at Glasgow's RSAMD on 6 October. aimed at exchanging ideas and working methods. The cost is £5 and participants should register before 25 Sept. Cali Tony Graham or Chris Smith on 041 429 2877 for details.
V IN PRINT
d t 8 J
I Good 8. AndA Nightingale Sang C.P.
Taylor (Methuen £5.99)
Just published is Glasgow-born Taylor's Good. an important and very human look at the corrupting rise offascism in Germany which was most recently seen in
i CentralScotland atthe
Brunton Theatre last year. In the same volume. A nd A Nightingale Sang is
another picture of World
War II . this time a picture of working-class family life in north-east England.
The List 1-1 — 27 September 199053