__TH.EAIR.E- ._

1 Buthelezi; later, of course, to gain even greater infamy as the leader of lnkatha. The dispute is still running to this day and thus far, 138 of those locked out of

the factory in 1985 have died from diet

related diseases or, as in the case of

live shop stewards, been the victims of

lnkatha murders.

The play spans nearly 80 years of Natal history from 1906 when the British colonial authorities imposed a poll tax which drove the black farmers off their land and forced them into the factories and pits. It concludes with the lock-out of workers from BTR. Through a combination of mime, dance and improvisation, the cast of strikers and their supporters give a graphic account of the attrocities committed by British magnates in South Africa throughout the 20th century. The suggestion is that without the BTB lock-out, Buthelezi would have remained impotent and the current turmoil in South Africa could have been avoided.

This is the third visit by the strikers from Mpophomeni township to Britain and the previous two plays, The Long March and The Sisters Of The Long March, received wide acclaim not only for the worthiness of their cause but also for the quality of the performance. It is hoped that Bambatha‘s Children will succeed in further bringing to light the influential involvement of the British throughout the Natal civil war and, by pricking a few consciences, help financially with the SAWCO struggle. (Philip Parr)

See Theatre Touring Listings for Scottish venue details.

l vwonLo

stairs:assists. children of a

Theatre is setting upthe I

firstever Scottish'l‘heatre j Awardsin 1991 and it is l

looking for a reader of The List to join itsjudging panel. Asa panel member. all visits to the theatre -- tickets and travelling— throughout the year will be completely free. as long you see an agreed minimum number of shows (about one a week) and attend four quarterly judging meetings.

The intention is to give ten awards for excellence to original work by Scottish theatre practitioners. The categories are being kept open to respond to genuine achievement and so they could be awarded for anything from performance and direction to set design. The year will culminate with a glitzy award ceremony early in 1992 which will be televised on BBC Scotland.

If you think you'd like to be on the fourteen-strong judging panel made up of members ofthe public. simply write with your name. address. age and occupation. mentioning that you read The [.LS‘I. to: Theatre A wards. Scottish

Once the sanctions (or at least most of g them) had finally been imposed, the l condemnations of apartheid issued and i the deputy leader of the ANC released, it was easy for civilised Britains to sit back and say, ‘Look what we've done. Are we not wonderlul?‘ Government proclamations and actions (however belated) are one thing, but the reality of British apathy throughout the dark history of South Africa was rarely in doubt However, in a new play, Bambatha's ' Children, which Sarmcol Workers Cooperative from Natal Province are touring around Britain, apathy is the least of the British evils. A British controlled multi-national BTB, sacked 970 black workers in 1985 solely for demanding recognition of theirtrade union. The factory was kept operational with the assistance of a certain Chief

Theatre .‘Ilarketing. MacRohcrt A rts ( 'entrc. Stirling I’KQ «ILA by 1 Dec.


chips The molars of a thousand children are still making their presence felt after the over-indulgence of Haliowe’en. This year, though, it is not just the kids who are making the most of things that go bump in the night. Recently. there has been evidence at sorcery. witohery and , all things spooky in Witch Hunt at The Arches and Jane Shore at The Citizens. There may well be a few newts blinded yet as Anne Downie's The Witches of Pollok begins its run at The Tron. I asked Downie how she came to write the play.

‘lt's based on a true story five people were burned to death in 1677, accused of bewitching Sir George Maxwell. The girl who pointed the lingerwas called Janet Douglas. Nobody knew where she came from. but when she arrived in Glasgow she could speak Greek and Latin which must have been very unusual for an ordinary girl at that time. She also saw things that were happening in other places. She had visions very similar to the things that they burned Joan of Arc for. There was a national obsession with witchcraft at the time and she was



.j‘ V_

PlaywrightAnne Downie.

clear that she does not treat the incident as a typical ‘Let's burn the misfit” event.

‘I think there is something in it,‘ she says. ‘lt‘s very easy with 20th century scepticism to say “Witchcraft—what a load of rubbish“, but you just have to look at these satanic rites things that are happening now and you say “wait a minute”. lthinkthere are things that happen so I keep an open mind.‘

‘You can't just go around saying “Yes people were condemned because it was a witchhunt“. I think that there was something different about this trial (they were given a trial, it wasn't just a summary execution). Having read it all, ldon'tknow, so I'm presenting all the facts and letting the audience judge forthemselves. lthinkthere are people who have strange qualities and that's the area I‘ve iocused on. I want to leave

IThe Great Celestial Cow Sue Townsend ( Methuen £4.99) Bazaar & Rummage, Groping For Words, Womberang Sue Townsend (Methucn £5.99) Four plays first published in 1984 by the creator of Adrian Mole and now reissued in two volumes. Less mawkish than the adolescent diaries. 'l‘ownscnd's stage plays display both a sharp sense of comedy and a feminist sensibility. It'san approach that allows her

obviously obsessed like everyone else. Butwas she obsessed because she had this power or not? There is a strangeness about her character that made me want to write the play. '

As Anne Downie talks. it becomes

to deal with serious subjects - agoraphobia. illiteracy. cultural dislocation without appearing worthy or didactic.

the audience thinking “God, that was spooky“. ltwas certainly spooky writing it.‘ (Philip Parr) The Witches of Pollok is at The Tron

, Theatre, Glasgowlrom 10 Nov-1 Dec.



l I


Baby oom

The Beautiful Gemme, the last play by Raymond Boss.

Raymond Ross. theatre correspondent for the Edinburgh Evening News. did not want to be considered as a ‘pompous, text-based critic who knows nothing ofwhat it‘s like to work in the theatre‘. So he wrote a play, The Beautiful Gemme. which toured around Scotland taking a satirical swipe at the Scots male‘s chief passion football. Having dealt with the essentials ofexistence. Ross is now directing his energies to peripheral details, such as child birth. In his new play. Waitingfor Baby. the male psyche is explored once again and, as Ross explains. there is plenty to be laughed at when that is your topic.

‘The play is a black comedy set in the father‘s waiting room of a Scottish maternity hospital. The germ ofthe play came a long time ago; from experiences I had fourteen years ago when I was waiting for my daughter to be born. All ofthe characters in the play are inspired by people who were in the waiting room , then.‘

‘I would say that the play makes a lot ofpoints. One ofthe characters brings up Freud‘s famous assertion that women suffer from penis envy and the comic turnaround is that men actually suffer from womb envy. Do they want to give birth‘?‘

The question of men wanting to give birth, again arrived out ofone of Ross‘s own experiences this time a dream in which he imagined he was i being interviewed on TV as the first man in Scotland to get pregnant. All very bizarre. but Ross believes that the birth ofa child is a time which has a profound effect on everybody involved. not least ofall the men. He 5 is also convinced that the the hospital waiting room is an integral element in the process.

‘lt‘s the one place in society.‘ he says. ‘where the men are absolutely not in control ofwhat‘s going on around them. These tough men are forced to wait on the women and the play looks at the tensions that develop between them; it questions the whole macho identity in Scotland. It‘s quite an aggressive play. the comedy‘s quite black. but hopefully it‘ll be entertaining and thought-provoking.‘ (Philip Parr) Waiting For Baby is at The NetherbowArts Centre, Edinburgh

from 20—24 November.

45'I‘he List 9 -~ 33 November 1990