Light in the village
The noise. clutter and seductive power of 20th century technology can numb our sensitivity and detach us from human values. Playwright John Clifford attempts to get a clearer picture of our predicament by looking to an elemental Third World society where the forces of
capitalism and corruption. the gaudy ‘ gimmickry of a televisual culture. are
visible in stark relief.
In Light in the Village. a simple tale
about a land squabble in a primitive present-day Indian village. Clifford makes literal the metaphor of the West‘s rape of the undeveloped world. Equating the rude thrust of capitalism with the crude lust of masculinity. the play laments our failure to value the ‘feminine‘ principles of love. co-operation and peace. Whether the world is run along traditional or modern designs. it is women. Clifford argues. who suffer the most. while the spiritual well-being of us all is diminished. The script is eloquent. rich in ideas and unusually witty for Clifford - an
l l l
earthy Glaswegian Creation parody runs parallel to the main story. giving rise to my favourite line. 'Don't worship me. it'll wake the baby'. and elsewhere. symbols of Western achievement from Woolworths to Wimpys are ironically mocked. Director Ian Brown makes the most ofthe line of humour. notably in the truly splendid opening sequence which matches each verbal trick with a ﬂuid visual twist of a cotton sheet and a delicate shift ofJeanine Davies‘s typically precise and enchanting lighting.
The six-strong cast volleys its lines dextrously about Tim Hatley‘s rustic set in a production accomplished enough to disguise the fact that for all the important points Clifford is trying to raise. he holds back from
War and Greece
Christopher Logue is not the only person to have ‘translaled' Homer’s The Iliad into colourful contemporary prose. Back in the 20s Ezra Pound did it and, way before him, Chaucer did it too. In fact Christopher Logue and Chaucer may have a thing or two in common - they are both voluble, gritty and raunchy writers. Logue has written a pornographic novel (under a pseudonym), a book of rude limericks and these days edits the ‘True Stories' section of Private Eye. How he came to be writing versions of The Iliad may be a mystery to some of the stuttier Classics scholars - Logue speaks no Greek and writes his Iliad-inspired poems, which he calls ‘accounts', by consulting translations— and some have taken issue with his very contemporary style. Logue litters his poetry with anachronisms — Kings refers to NASA‘s Apollo at Cape Kenedy, ratherthan Olympus - invents his own characters and draws on linguistic sources from Milton to Joyce.
He has lived with Homer since 1959 when the BBC invited him to be one of
several poets to translate different
parts of The Iliad tor a broadcast on the
' Third Programme. Logue enjoyed the
experience enough to translate tour more of the 24 books, which were published lrom 1962 onwards, and then together, under the title War Music in 1981. Kings, Logue's version of The lliad‘s two opening books, was published by Faber earlier this year.
Just as his original brief was to prepare something suitable for broadcast, Logue's successive accounts have also been broadcast on radio and read aloud. At this year's Fringe he will read from Kings with actor Alan Howard, whose association with Logue and his work stretches back to 1981, when he read War Music on the radio. Howard challenges the
notion that Logue has jazzed up a Greek
original, agreeing that in Homer's time The Iliad would have been regarded as
an action-packed drama, not a chunk ol 3 price £5.99
scholarship to be treated with
the body-blow. the rally-cry. the finger-pointing accusations that his material needs. In this post-Thatcher era ofcynical apathy. drama that transfixes us. without activating our anger or re-engaging our political will. is. I suppose. appropriate. But Clifford has too much to say for us to accept impotent despair as an answer; this is his most political play to date. but there's room to go much further.
It‘s a relaxed. endearing and emotionally engaging production that is well worth seeing. but I‘m already looking forward to Clifford‘s next play. (Mark Fisher)
I Light in the Village (Fringe) Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 226 2633. until 31 Aug, various times and prices.
reverence. ‘His use of language, which is, I think terribly exciting and memorable, makes you see why these plays or stories are so great. But when
1 you look at some of the translations
3 about, you think what a load of boring : nonsense - they’re so dreary. You
know it must have been more exciting
than that, and more poetical‘. Logue himself does not find that 30 years
; translating one book is too long. ‘lt's an
' extraordinary thing’, he says, ‘and as
you get older your motivation towards it 1
changes-you see things that you would do now that you wouldn't have donethen!
Kings will essentially be a reading .- Logue has not dared to act since a bout of stage fright struck him dumb on stage some years ago. Howard has learned his lines, but, he says, there will not be any dressing up or swashbuckling. ‘It isn't a play, but it will achieve, one hopes, certain dramatic pitches. We won’t have any scenery beyond a table and a couple of chairs. The words are the most important thing'. (Miranda France) Kings (Fringe) Christopher Logue and Alan Howard, Assembly/Wildcat (Venue 116) 220 4349,18—24 Aug, 5.45pm, £7 (25).
Kings is published by Faber and Faber,
' (Venue l lb) until3l Aug (notSun).3.3tlpm.£5 (£4.50).
Ade/e Anderson (Fringe) l’leasanee. (Venue 33) until.“ Aug (not Sun).
Jiving Lindy Hoppers
. the best oftheir
year. Shut Up and Dance
Miranda France recommendstlve ways to while away an altemoon.
I Dinner Dance Brilliant. energetic dance from a group which prides itself on taking risks. trained by the marvelloust innovative 78-year-old instructor. Johnny Hutch. Dinner Dance (Fringe) The K osh, Assembly Rooms ( Venue 3) 220 4349, 16—18. 20—24Aug. 3.15pm, £7—£8 (£5.50—f6.50).
I Love Among the Juveniles Fringe First-winning John Binnie returns with a double love story which sheds new. positive light on race. sexuality and affection. Love Among theJuveniles (Fringe) Clyde Unity, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, 16. [9. 21.23 Aug. 5.30pm. £4.50 (£3.50).
> I Light in the Village A 3-6pm powerful new play from Siesta time? John Clifford. highly FDTQDI It. TI)ch acclaimed author of Ines are shows to be de Castro. about hard seen. theatre, timesin an Indian village. comedyand all Light in the Village sortsto betalten (Fringe) Traverse in before you ('mnpany, Traverse earn that High
Theatre (Venue 15) 226 2633, until}! Aug (not [9 or 26). various times. £8 ([4).
I Shut Up and Dance The invite you to slip on your
impromptu jazz-dance lesson. pIUs a selection of
performances from last (Fringe) The Jiving Lindy
Hoppers. Assembly” Wildcat at the Meadows.
I Adele Anderson [Ex-Fascinating Aida chanteuse tells jokes. plays jazz and mellows out with sortie ol' favourites.
3.30pm. 14.50 £5 (£3.5ll-L'4). i
The List 10— 23 August lWl 33