Theatre Workshop, Sharks, State Of A Nation, Rudolf Nureyev, and Feet First Dance Festival. LISTINGS: THEATRE 48 CABARET 52 DANCE 53

I Q:

7 WORLD ““ x

Eight days in Poland

Adrian Harris, Artistic Director of Edinburgh‘s Theatre Workshop, opens up his Gdansk diary to report on Porwanie Europy. Poland‘s first ever community performance project.

MONDAY 18 MARCH: I arrive in Gdansk and take the short walk from the train station to Klub ‘Zak' to meet Theatre Workshop's team which has been working on our latest international performance project for the past four weeks. I walk into the mock baroque theatre just as the first dress rehearsal comes to an end and am met by a familiar sight exhausted. hollow-eyed project workers surrounded by 150 performers and musicians whose energy is boundless and who want to do it all over again. Pete Clerke. one ofthe three co-directors. introduces me to the company. They greet me with a deafening round ofapplause which makes me feel a fraud as I haven't done anything to deserve it. Pete is grateful. however. as the cast burns off a wee bit more energy.

lam exhausted too. but for different reasons. I

: have humped a sound desk. a lighting board and

i fifty metres ofcable halfway across Europe.

TUESDAY: The day starts with a tense

'3 production meeting which results in a frighteningly long list ofthings to be done before

the opening night on Wednesday. The

l Precipices performs Pointh

{News on its first performance at

performance is promenade style. so an audience


Theatre Workshop introduces communitytheaire to Poland has been invited to this evening‘s dress rehearsal. This only adds to the pressure everyone is under. The dress rehearsal goes reasonably well. driven by the almost manic energy ofwhat is predominantly a teenage cast. They love doing it so much that they forget the audience is there and that they are meant to be doing it for their benefit. At the end of the performance their enthusiasm bubbles over and they yell and cheer for the directors to join them for the curtain call. Pete and Andi Ross sheepishly step forward only to find themselves grabbed by 150 pairs ofhands and tossed into the air in celebratory fashion. I worry that ifthis is what it is like at the dress rehearsal. they‘ll be torn limb from limb on the last night.

WEDNESDAY: The first night goes very well with a great response from a full house. Too full. in fact. as we try and come to terms with the vagaries of Polish front-of-house systems. Gatecrashing is a Polish theatre tradition and we spend the half hour leading up to the performance hunting down enterprising audience members hiding in dressing rooms. toilets and even nooks and crannies of the set. Nobody believes the show is sold out and Klub ‘Zak‘ has to employ bouncers to keep things under control. Somebody remarks that it is just like Lothian Road on a Saturday night.

FRIDAY: During notes before the performance.


Pete notices someone wearing costume who he hasn‘t seen before. Working through the translator, it transpires that she is a friend ofa cast member who. in the absence ofa ticket. thought this would be a good way to see the show. Pete remarks that if this is typical of Polish enterprise. their economy has nothing to worry about.

The production is going really well now, although we have had to ask the cast to stop throwing the directors in the air. It is all getting a bit dangerous.

SATURDAY: The final performance is delightful and very emotional. The cast presents us with a huge cake. iced with all ofour names, which we slowly eat our way through during the next ten hours. As usual there is as much drama packed into the last night party as there has been in the production. Some romances begin. some end. and some begin and end before the morning.

SUNDAY: The strike and get-out begins. bleary-eyed at 9am. We struggle through the day trashing stuff that is of no use. loading Theatre Workshops technical equipment into the van and leaving any useful materials with Klub ‘Zak‘. By 4.30pm it is as if Porwanie Europy had never happened.

MONDAY} We break our homeward journey in Warsaw and take a bus into the centre oftown. Much has changed since my last visit in 1989. At least three new Western skyscraper hotels all eagerly serving Western business people; the Palace ofScience and Culture. Stalin’s gift to Poland. has become a department store (Scottish Arts Council. please note) and all the main streets are shoulder~to-shoulder street traders. Everything feels fragile and on the edge. capitalism gone mad.

Roughly translated. Porwanie Europy means Europe Pulled Apart. Our work in Poland since 1988 has been about using cultural activity to assist in the process of knitting it back together again.

i Let‘s hope the stitches hold.

amm- Moving story

After a cracking start, Edinburgh’s new j dance festival, Feet First, winds to a close this week. Continuing to prove that Scottish dance is on the up, the recently formed company Motional

Departure, which received rave

Glasgow’s Tramway late last year.

The brain child of ex-Scottish Ballet dancer Peter Boyston, the piece, in its broadest terms, is about death. ‘I can remember, very clearly, when I was aboutfive, realising that I was going to die,’ Royston explains. ‘Looking back,

I think that was one of the most truthful moments of my life. Ever since then

I’ve been avoiding it.’ Incorporating

this early experience into its narrative, Point Of Departure is about a young boy . who finds an injured bird. He keeps the creature in a box and tries to nurse it until it eventually dies. Through the experience the boy learns something about death, which will help him with

the deaths of his mother and sister. I ‘I always try to say something in dance,’ Boyston continues. ‘Things . that other people look for about } movement may be a bit Iost,’ he admits, but only because he concentrates on the narrative. ‘Personally, I think the narrative is largely missing these days. Dance is rarely political. ldon't see why it can't speak as loudly as theatre; it can be very dramatic and atmospheric.‘ Employing the formidable talents of ex-Scottish Ballet dancer Elaine McDonald, the piece has also been shaped by sculptor Graham Bowers. j

His dominating set uses a dramatic

perspective which draws the eye, like a

journey into the future. At the front of

the stage stands a giant egg-timer

which marks out time. The music was i

commissioned from William Henshaw, f

who composed the score bit by bit as I

the piece was being created. 1 ‘I always hope that when people 5

come to see my things they will leave

thinking about if, hopefully affected by ,

lt.’ Judging by last years reviews, he

has, at least, achieved this aim. (Jo


Motional Precipices, Assembly

Rooms, Edinburgh, Sat 20 April.

The List 19 April 2 May 199i 45