I o h .v ‘ . .... -“" e x ‘ «-
\ . . . . __ «3| t tends to put you in mind of that ancient
’ Mything link
As the end of a millenium draws near. people are looking back into
out about a festival celebrating everything from dragons to storytelling.
Dungeons and Dragons. convoys converging on Stonehenge for solstice celebrations and. well.
Legend and Folklore understand that much of their audience will come from Hocus Pocus clientele and the massed ranks of adolescent
Stuart Mcl lardy"s itinery for the week-long festival reveals a surprising diversity. Each day of the week is to be given over to a
lecture on crypto-zoology. while during Europe day. Ian Turbitt presents his adaptation of Reynard the For which was premiered at the Netherbow earlier this year. Lectures and music make up the majority ofthe programme
the form of the Solan Company which presents Aeon. described as a fairy tale for the future. ‘There‘s a grail aspect to Aeon.‘ explains Tony
This is the cue for Bonning‘s co-director. McI-Iardy to intercede. ‘Hold on a minute. what are you talking about? It‘s Celtic originally.’ This
their mythical past. Philip Parr finds L
beards. These are the conventional images which spring to mind when mythology is mentioned. The organisers ofthe first Edinburgh Festival of Myth.
throughout the week. but theatre is represented in
Bonning. ‘like Perceval and his search for the Holy. Grail. which is obviously Germanic. Wagnerian.‘
games masters. But a glance at Tony Bonning and
continent. ()n ()ceania day. for example. there is aL
Surely some myth-take? Edinburgh celebrates legends andfolklore.
Bonning‘s classical and European bias antagonising Mcl lardy‘s Celtic roots. ()n this occasion. Bonning wins out.
‘lt's set in the 21st century.’ he continues. 'It‘s the idea ofthe continuity ofthe mythic theme — that even in the 21st century the mythic theme will still apply. People will still be dramatising archetypes. people will still want to be heroes. people will still want to have great dramatic relationships with each other. just like they did in Arthurian legend.‘
The continuing relevance of myth and legend to modern society is a recurring argument. Apparently. the world is about to enter a new phase which myth can go some way to explain. ‘In
‘Every time the-great year turns there are weird, strange happenings.’
mythical terms we‘re coming into a period of time — the great year.‘ claims Bonning. ‘But there are a number ofgreat years in terms ofcalenders; the Chinese have a cycle ending now. as is the age of Aquarius and. ofcourse. it‘s two millenia since the birth ofChrist and they‘re all coinciding about the year 2000. Which is interesting in itself. though I
Chinese curse — “may vou live in interesting \ . .. . . ' ' g .. . ~ times . continues Mcllardy. Lvei‘yttmethe
7' great year turns there are weird. strange
happenings. The turning of the last great year was two thousand years ago — the birth of Christ. At that time there were all sorts of wonders being seen. It‘s a theory. I‘m not saying I‘m totally going along with it. but what matters here is that all these different cultures have got these prophetic calenders and they‘re all talking about this particular point in time. And because we are addressing ourselves to the basic mythologies underlying cultures world-wide this is of particular interest to us.‘
This might seem to be veering into Icke territory. but the presence of academics and scientists as well as artists. not to mention the rationality of the two organisers themselves leads you to believe that this is not your regular new-age nonsense. Similarly the motives of the organisers are more clearly inspired by green than turquoise concerns.
‘I suppose the bottom line is that we're living in an endangered world.‘ says Bonning. ‘and we‘re trying to get back to the basics of human society and human culture. trying to find ways of crossing boundaries and dealing with problems that are truly international. The whole of the globe is under threat because of pollution. resource depletion and habitat destruction. One problem that always makes this worse is that people are divided tip into different cultures. countries. colours and we feel that by getting back to the fundamentals. the primal ideas that myth represents. we can. by working together. come tip with some ideas that will lead to a solution of the problems of the world. What we’re trying to say is that we've much more in common than separates us and hopefully. from that. we‘ll get links that will bind ustogethcr.‘
Aeon. A dam House. Ifdinburglt. Friday ()xlagust at Noon and Saturday I () xi ugast at 2. 15pm. For other Festival ofMyt/t. Legend and Folklore details
is apparently a common form of disagreement with , hope not cataclysmic.‘ see ()pen section listings.
nontra- Agony and ecstasy
When Hulme-grown Mayhew and Edmunds last did theirthing —Going Down On Jesus -the Right Reverend Colin Scott condemned it as ‘extraordinary and distasteful. It should be ignored.’
Not to be ignored, however, they are back with The Devine Ecstasy of Destruction. This time the subject is not Jesus, but power relationships and the fascination of experiment. Three
The Devine Ecstasy of Destruction
people - a man, a woman and the Marquis de Sade - come together to act out theirfantasies, bound up in the rituals of sado-masochism.
lorn 251 years ago, de Sade was imprisoned for 27 years during which time he wrote profusely, inspired by the mood of the times and letting his
imagination run to the limit. His interest was in the extremes of human nature—death, killing and self-destruction (what, no dolphins?). Perhaps appropriately, some of his work was written on toilet paper since nothing else was to hand.
As well as de Sade, Mayhew and Edmunds draw from an assortment of images, with references to films, literature, history and current writings, in the quest to discover what the devine ecstasy of destruction is. The show depends on a lot of hardware — pulleys and harnesses—and at one point somebody ends up having a sword stuck up them a la Edward II. It’s a shame there's not more movement, since Mike Mayhew moves like he’s on
castors when he gets going, but the show is guaranteed to provoke an audience and make itfeel uncomfortable.
So does it simply shock for the sake of it or does it explode taboos? It all
depends on where you stand on the
shockability scale. If nothing else, the show will be remembered for its artistically explicit publicity which in Manchester was lifted in wadges from displays by eager collectors. Mike Mayhew sums up the performance most succinctly: ‘it’s obscene, it‘s extreme, it's sexy.’ (Juliet Vincon)
The Devine Ecstasy of Destruction, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow. Tue 6—Wed : 7 Aug.
ON FOLLOWING PAGES: JOHN CLIFFORD IN INDIA 0 LOOT AND WEST SIDE STORY REVIEWED
The List 26July — 8 August lWl 53