Breaking down the walls
Christoph POsselt can‘t always find the right word. His constant companion is a weighty English-German dictionary which occasionally provides the required translation but unfortunately seems to give little hint of how to pronounce it. The result is a high degree of self-mockery because Posselt and his partner in Comedie Mimes Bernd Hahnke don’t take themselves too seriously, in spite of being members of that most austere group of performance artistes — mimes.
‘We don‘t make pantomime like Marceau,’ explains Posselt. ‘Too many people think of pantomime as Marceau — white-coloured faces, artificial movements. We make comedic pantomime with dance, speech. Whatever we need to do in the show we do. We make new forms, search for new forms and our starting point is to make fun. Life is so hard. so depressed, we want to make art where the audience can laugh, because we think that it‘s a help with life.’
Especially life in eastern Germany. Comedie Mimes hail from Berlin and a continual source ofinspiration for
their work is the rift which has developed between the two halves of their newly united fatherland.
The play which Comedic Mime’s is bringing to Edinburgh is Tutti Paletti which, through the rivalry between two stage mimes, attempts to show the division of Germany. ‘People are so jealous of each other,’ says Posselt, ‘especially in Germany. “Oh, they have a new car, ooh, he has a new house, ooh, he’s so successful at work.” So everyone is seeing their life through the lives of the others. People look outside and forget that they have their own lives. Those from east Germany refuse to answer for what they have done.
They say “I was not part of the system, Erich Honecker must answer for it." We hope that we can explain from our performance that everyone must answer for himself.‘ Combine this message with first-rate clowning, tap-dancing. free gifts of chocolate and sparkling wine to the audience. and the tiniest amount oftraditional mime and you‘ll get some idea ofwhat a Comedie Mimes show is all about. (Philip Parr) I Tutti Paletti (Fringe) Comedic Mimes, See Red (Venue 4) 220 0541 , 8—17Aug(not 11). 11.30pm: 19—26 Aug, 109m. £5 (£4).
‘Any Queries’ is the gay and lesbian revue which asks those vital questions: ‘Why is it that heterosexuals always look so sad?’ ‘What is it that they do in bed?’ and ‘What made them heterosexuals in the ilrst place, did they have dominating tathers?’
‘lt’s a pot-pourri with a loose theme oi communication,’ says Between the Lines' Paul Trainer, ‘communicatlon trom the government to the people. All those cliched things that get thrown at you in public. What we have done is to turn the questions on their heads.”
Fittineg tor a group which gave its tirst perlormance in a bookshop, anothertarget is the gay Mills and Boon-type literature which stems from the purple pens oi such as Gordon Merlck. ‘Hls writing is so hackneyed and cliched that it could be Barbara Cartland, except that there are two males lnvolved,’ explains Trainer.
The Ice Pick by the AIDS Positive Underground Theatre, is about two lovers; Michael is HIV positive, while Peter decides not to test tor the virus. Director Grant Spence says that although the protagonists are gay, ‘the issues dealt with are not just restricted to gay men. it is about human relationships which are now thrown into relief by the crisis at AIDS. It is to do with love, with sex, with mortality; all at the main themes that people have to contend with.’
Although the play is about the
experience at AIDS, there is also a lot at humour in it, even it it is very black. ‘My attitude towards the virus is that it is not a death sentence,’ says Spence. ‘There is a positive side, a way at dealing with it which will not stop your lite. Hopefully, we will explain and clarity what the experience ot lilV exactly is, as opposed to what we are told it is: the perceived notions and the media perceptions at a “gay plague" ’. AIDS Positive is no strangerto just this sort oi misconcelved notion. Following lt prize-winning pertonnance oi The Ice Pick at the 1990 Brighton Festival an un-named ‘major sponsor’ threatened to withdraw it’s tunding lithe company appeared in 1991. Alter much behind-the-scenes
lobbying, the company did appear again and the sponsor, still hiding behind the mask ot anonymity, withdrew. Recalling the incident, Spence is obviously still bitter, but as he says, just mentioning the virus ‘throws up so many taboos, so much ignorance and tear.’
Tennessee In The Summer, is a production which promises to expose the most lurid and steamy aspects at Tennessee Williams’ private lite. Doyne Mraz, artistic director and tounder at Los Altos Conservatory Theatre says that he been intensely interested in Williams’ lite since he had the privilege at working on two productions with him. Mraz believes that the production, which uses dual casting ot a man and a woman to show
f Williams’ homosexuality, is more honest than any at the books written
about his lite. (Thorn Dibdin)
i Any Queries (Fringe) Between the ? Lines, Blue Oyster Club (Venue 86) 226 g 6458, Aug 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23,30,
g The ice Pick (Fringe) Aids Positive
Undereground Theatre, Theatre
, Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, 1241 - Aug (not Suns), 6pm, £3.50 (£2.50).
‘ Tennessee in the Summer (Fringe) Los . Altos Conservatory Theatre, Moray
House Union Theatre (Venue 108) 556 5184 1241 Aug (not 20, 27, 29), tom, £4 (£3).
Philip Parrtlmechecks live shows worth staying up late tor.
I Judgement This late addition to the Fringe is a story of imprisonment. desperation and cannibalism in a Nazi prison and is told in an epic one—man play by George Dillon. Judgement (Fringe) Vital Theatre. The Randolph Studio (Venue 55) 225 5366. 12—31 Aug (notl8). 10pm, £4.50 (£3.50).
I Etcetera Six ;Australians, six grey suits. six briefcases and six pairs of glasses get together to challenge theatrical convention. It‘s funny too. Etcetera Incorporated (Fringe) Etcetera, The Assembly Rooms ( Venue 3) 220 4349, 9—31 Aug (not 20, 27), 11.45pm, £6/[7 (£5/£6).
If ~ I.
A I Jack Dee He may be a miserable sod but his act is getting better each year. As the others seem unable to resist the magnetic attraction of playwrighting, Dee
stand-up comedy ofthe
Jack Dee (Fringe). The
Assembly Rooms ( Venue
3) 220 4349, 9—31 Aug.
10pm, £6.50/f7. 50
I Corky and The Juice Pigs
The Gilded Balloon staff
don‘t know where they
are. we don't know where
they are. last reports had
them placed somewhere
in the Australian outback.
Ifthey get here though.
this Canadian comedy
I group should be
Corky and The Juice Pigs
5 (Fringe), The Gilded
f Balloon (Venue38) 226
.f 2151, 9—31Aug, 11pm. £5
g I Stomp!
i Cresswcll. returns to
f Edinburgh with his latest
ensemble to hit dustbins. flick Zippos and beat out
‘ rhythms to appeal to even
the most conservative
drum (ear. that is). Stomp! (Fringe) The
Yes/No People. The
E Assembly Rooms (Venue
3) 220 4349, 9—31 Aug (not
probably provides the best
No sleep till the Fringe Club. Mostly, but not solely, cabaret, these are the late-shows Michael lgnatiett would die to be in.
The List 9— 15 August 199149