At Glasgow’s Tramway, a dozen Scottish actors are enjoying a unique opportunity to work with one of Britain‘s finest actors. After twenty years working both with Peter Brook and independently in Paris, Bruce Myers might more correctly be described as a French actor — at one point in our conversation I have to translate n 'importe quoi into English for him — but anyone who can turn in a performance of the breathtaking standard of this year‘s Edinburgh Fringe hit, A Dybbuk for Two People, not to mention the role of Krishna in The Mahabharata, is always worth claimimg for your own.
His two-week residency is based on Antony and Cleopatra and rounds off with a chance for the public to see some of the work the group has been doing. ‘In A Dybbuk for two People there is no pretty set,’ he says by way of example. ‘it‘s just a table and chairs plonked in front of the audience. But something happens by energy, and that’s what really interests me. With the workshop it would be good to try to find that energy and then connect it with a magnificent story and magnificent language?
Myers has plans to direct a French production ofJ.M. Synge‘s The Well ofthe Saints next year. but apart from A Dybbuk, he has no directorial experience and his work in Glasgow is more to do with what he has learnt as an actor. ‘To work with Peter Brook for twenty years doesn‘t make me a director,‘ he explains. ‘Ifyou wanted to become a boxer you could train with Cassius Clay, but Cassius Clay‘s sparring partners don‘t become great boxers. But working vvith Brook you become much more of an objective actor; one gets to learn a great deal about oneself as an actor and about just where to find that energy. That‘s the kind ofthing that I would be interested in sharing; the kind of personal confidence about acting, about presenting oneself. about using one‘s own physical and vocal equipment with energy, confidence and strength.‘ (Mark Fisher) Bruce M yers Residency Public ' Showing, Tramway. Glasgow, $1018
46 The List 6— 19 December 1991
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«i How much comedy material can you
get out of hairstyles? At least two hours’ worth if Pete Baikie and Gordon Kennedy are to be believed. The Hairstyles have blossomed, perm-like, out of the Absolutely cartel which also includes Murray Hunter and Jack Docherty. Messrs Hunter and Docherty are nowhere to be seen in this musical off-shoot, but are replaced by Richard Allen (formerly of 803 yuppie-faves, Harvey and The Wallbangers) and Carl Gorham from Radio 2’s Gorham and Swift (me neither). After a successful run at the Gilded Balloon during the Fringe, the boys are returning to the capital as part of a national tour. But what inspired all of this messing around with wigs?
‘The Scottish World Cup squad from 1978 has really got a lotto do with it,’ explains Baikie after dragging himself away from a TV tribute to Freddie Mercury (‘I was looking for some tips'). ‘lt’s just the ridiculousness of people‘s hair. I’m completely bald, so there’s probably some deep psychological
The Hairstyles: danceable comedy
disorder somewhere and this is the way that it’s manifesting itself. I think Gordon just likes putting on wigs.’
Kennedy, during the Fringe run at least, also liked to dress up as a gorilla (not to mention Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey).‘My doctors have advised me against ever doing that again,’ he admits. ‘Apparently I’m the wrong side of 53 to do it. I don’t quite know why I did it. It’s like a mountain, it’s because the gorilla costume was there.’
Baikie and Kennedy promise two hours of frenetic music with very few gaps in between. The comedy, such as it is, will be provided by the outrageous costumes and the choice of repertoire which ranges from the Grandstand theme-tune to a rendition of YMCA.
‘People should be able to dance to everything we do,’ says Kennedy, ’but if people are too drunk or can’t be bothered then there's something to look at. We’re trying to make it work on two levels. That sounds very arty doesn’t it? We’re trying to make it into something of a spectacle and the wigs are part of that. That’s my reason anyway. Convinced?‘ (Philip Parr) The Hairstyles, Wilkie House, Edinburgh, Sun 15—Mon 16 Dec.
EME- Golour bind,” _
Randomoptic video: ingenious
‘The beauty of it is that it makes you do something you’d never have thought of yourself,’ says Vanessa Smith about the method she and Katrina McPherson have developed to make their new dance-video collaboration, Colourwheel.
The method is ingenious. They take an artist’s colourwheel and line up red with compass-direction north, so determining directions for all colours. Then they make a video of people on the streets of Glasgow and choose certain characters, allylng the colours those people are wearing with the corresponding compass directions. They set black, grey and white as the levels high, medium and low, and
slowly they put together a ‘score’ for their dance.
The idea was inspired by Trisha Brown with whom Smith worked in America this summer. ‘lt’s a set of rules that are not based on a theme and not reliant on a musical structure,’ Smith explains. ‘It provides us with a map to make the dance with.’
Smith and McPherson formed Randomoptlc two years ago to look into ‘uslng video during the choreographic process as well as in the finished product’, and at the relationship created when dancers and monitors share the same stage space. 80 as well as the human choreography, the two have made a separate score for video. The camera angles and movements are determined by the pedestrians’ relationships to each other. If the people they choose on the street approach each other, rotate and then move away, so too does the camera when filming the dancers’ bodies in the studio to make the video that will be part of the performance.
‘We’re the Pick Up Company because we pick whoever we need for the next piece,’ explains McPherson, and at Tramway she and Smith are joined by dancers Karen Grant and Craig McKnight. . . plus monitor. (Tamsin Gralnger)
Into the Blue, Tramway, Glasgow, Mon 9—Tue 10 Dec.
I Roaming directors All change at two of Scotland‘s leading companies. Artistic Director Alan Lyddiard is moving from TAG to Newcastle's Northern Stage once he‘s completed work on David Henry Ilwang's The Dance and the Railroad in April, Meanwhile Mary McCluskcy is set to take over at Scottish Youth Theatre from Robin Peoples who is heading to Musselburgh‘s Brunton Theatre.
I Script wanted Leith-based profit-share company Fruition Arts is still on the lookout fora 30-minute script to complement another short play to be performed in February. The only stipulation is that there should be a number of parts for women. Interested writers should contact Martha Sinclair on ()31 553 4507.
,2 Q a 9 §
I Frackments Alex Frackleton (Fat Cat Publications £2.99) Following fellow Funny Farmer Stu McDonald (aka Endell Swift) into print. Alex Frackleton has produced a very entertaining collection of his poetry with illustrations from Stu Who? Frackleton pulls off the rare feat ofbeing funny without being glib and there‘s a serious strand of commentary and observation running through the twenty-odd poems here. Well worth seeking out. but you might have to get to a Frackleton gig before you can find a copy. (ME) I Live Art edited by Robert Ayers and David Butler (AN Publications). Always longed to be a Performance Artist? This one‘s for you. But ifyou thought it just involved running around with a bucket on your head, think again. There are chapters on budgeting. contracts and legal permissions. Specialist reading. though its mere appearance in these post-Third Eye times bodes well. (KC)
V IN PRINT
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