’l scarroun NOS
performers to dodge and move constantly. Within this deadly arena. time is maintained meticulously; if the rigorous routine falters the performers are ‘killed’.
It is, according to director Teiji Furuhashi, a metaphor for the automated, media—saturated world. ‘lt’s not easy to describe it, but the audience will recognise the relationship between man and technology,‘ he says. ‘It is a system which we are responsible for, yet which now orders our lives.’ For the audience, the lives played out below will be seen as components of a grand machine, in which reward and punishment always appear to lie ahead. And it is an inquiry into the future; an exploration of the possibilities — as well as implications - of human-system interaction. Thus pH stands also for post-History and as a pun for the potential Heaven/Hell — the choice, claims Furuhashi, is for the audience to make.
While it is clearly applicable to Western society, pH does not manage to escape its Japanese roots and Furuhashi concedes that there are cultural factors at play. ‘I think the time-code of the performance is alien to Europeans,’ he says, ‘and
the structure of the set, which is compact and easily dismantled. is essentially Japanese.’
The design is certainly very functional, utilitarian and orientated towards efficiency. It is a structure which controls the performers, ordering their movement into
‘In Japan people went because they thought it was cool, whereas in Spain the audience viewed it as a warning about the future.’
patterns, and therefore alluding to the symbol of modern Japan — the automated production plant.
Technically, the set is a feat of theatrical engineering, which more than justifies Dumb Type‘s description of ‘performance art and architecture’. Constructed from scaffolding, it surrounds the performers, and elevates the audience, suggesting a stadium in which the battle is between life and death. Across this, two sliding bars move through thirteen positions, projecting slide-images upon the floor below to lead the performers on.
Furuhashi says the result has left
@ ﬂ @
III II “Dill III "II" Illl
0.2 mlsec-O .4 mlsec
ll llllll ll llCJlll lllllllll llll DI Ill
different impressions on different audiences. ‘In Japan people went because they thought it was cool,’ he says, ‘whereas in Spain the audience viewed it as a warning about the future and came away feeling scared by what they saw. We don’t know how people will react in Scotland, but we’ve been told the audience is a different one again.’
Dumb Type, formed in Kyoto in 1984. has a reputation in Japan for providing theatre which straddles the boundary between static art and theatre. ‘We all have a background in visual arts, but we felt there was a need to find a new form of expression that unites the fixed visual image with the physical,’ explains Furuhashi.
Physical it certainly is, but Furuhashi insists that the company enjoys the rigorous routine. ‘It’s more like a game. but if they miss a move they get hit, and sometimes they bruise or bleed, but they enjoy it.‘ Watching performers getting knocked around may sound like a perverse sort ofentertainment, but if the actors enjoy it who’s complaining?
pH, Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 8—Mon 11 Nov (inc Sun).
I Theatre Royal Comedy Branching out from its repertoire of opera, ballet and theatre, Glasgow‘s Theatre Royal has plans to move into the world of stand-up comedy. Its first laughter night on Mon 30 December will showcase Perrier Award-nominee. Eddie lzzard, whose loveable sense of surrealism has been earning him an enthusiastic following on the club circuit. I Transport wanted Children's theatre company. Visible Fictions. needs to borrow a car or van to seat five people to get them through their southern Scottish schools‘ tour of Bill '5 New Frock between 18 Nov and 20 Dee. Anyone with spare wheels please contact Jo Smith on 041332 3408. I Script wanted Leith-based profit-share company Fruition Arts is on the lookout for a 30-minute script to complement another short play due to be performed in February. The only stipulation is that there should be a numberof parts for women. Budding writers should contact Martha Sinclair on 031 553 4507 before the end of November. I RSAMD upgraded Thanks to grants from several sources. the RSAMD has made substantial improvements to its facilities for people with disabilities. The Academy‘s theatres now have induction loops
I Light in the Village John Clifford (Nick llern Books £5.99) Although not officially published until December, Clifford‘s contribution to the Traverse’s 1991 Edinburgh Fringe season — a parable about the inhuman power of unchecked capitalism — is already available in local shops. In a Fringe unusually short on hits, lan Brown‘s production of Light in the Village came as close as any to creating a buzz about town, and it's pleasing to report that the i script reads as well on the i page as it came across on stage. (MF)
The List 8—2] November 1991 53