1 Joan Ure
‘I don‘t think you could get two more different plays.‘ says (‘aroline Hall. describing the enterprising and prolific Fifth Estate‘s latest project. Hall is directing Joan Ure‘s Seven (.‘harat'ters out oft/1e Dream from the late 60s. a playful look at the uncertain boundaries between art and reality. Lambruseo Nights. the double-bill‘s other half. is a response to the uncompromising realities of life in Pilton. as seen by resident Kathleen Crombic.
Those realities are indicated in the titles of her four monologues: Children and Mental Illness. Blinds and Gnomes. Shoplifting and Being Fit. and Adultery and Police. Muriel Romanes. who is directing Mary Riggans in the pieces. describes them as ‘Very funny and very original‘. while Riggans adds. ‘you have to be comic in a tragic situation to survive. This woman‘s a great survivor. No matter what‘s happened to her she‘s still up there ﬁghungf
The work ofJoan Ure has been neglected since her death of consumption in 1979. despite being championed by the likes ofher friend Alasdair Gray. Seven Characters is one of a number of short plays she
wrote based on Shakespeare. In this ‘
case. a group of actors attend a party. costumed as characters from A Midsummer Night's Dream. They tend to reveal more about themselves by ‘acting‘ than by ‘being themselves‘. While the dialogue can sound dated. Caroline Hall points out that ‘an awful lot is happening "offthe line“. underneath the language. You have to prise it open to find out what‘s really happening between these people.‘
So what is the real logic to this certainly original double-bill? ‘It‘s to put together a woman writer from the 60s and a woman writer from the 9(ls,‘ says Hall. ‘They complement each other in their difference.‘ (Ken Cockburn)
The Nightingale Roars. Netherbow Theatre, Edinburgh. Tue l8—Sat29 Feb.
amm- Jarring hope
Rosina Bonsu is an energetic and enterprising Scottish dancer and choreographer who is currently attracting increasing interest from venue programmers and funding bodies. Mayfest has invited her to make a show lortheir coming arts festival, and the Royal Opera House in London has employed herto choreograph a children’s operetta based on the Sutton Ho treasure discovery. ‘Discovering Realities’, her new dance, will be performed during the Stamping Ground evening on 25 February, a chance for Scottish choreographers to show new work as part of the New Moves Across Europe dance festival.
‘Discovering Realities’ began life at the Feet First Dance Festival in 1990 to considerable acclaim, but although Bonsu planned to develop the dance further, she says she found ‘another l piece that was hidden in there all ready to emerge‘. This piece is based on the myth of Pandora’s Box (actually a jar) which she describes as an ‘apparent gift which was in fact a curse’. In most versions of the story Pandora opens the jar, releases 10,000 evils and traps hope inside. Bonsu has discovered since then that the jar may have contained good, not evil, and this relates to her second theme — a look at ‘the things you have inside, namely
Randomoptie's Colourwheel shares the bill with Rosina Bonsu
hope and your character, which allow you to combat the external things in life which accost you on a daily basis‘.
Although Bonsu dances alone, she is surrounded by innovative collaborators about whom she is very enthusiastic: Rupert Black, for example, has composed ‘filmic music which is open and innocent in the first part, and melodic and driven in the second'. She describes designer Lyndsey John's costume (a giant basket made of willows) as ‘delicious’, and the lighting design, by Bob Pringle, as ‘really integral and necessary to the piece‘. (Tamsin Grainger)
Discovering Realities and Colourwheel, New Moves Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 25 Feb.
I Dance boost Professional dancers in Scotland can look forward to visits from three major guest artists who will each take a weekend workshop in the spring. The residencies. which start on 14—15 March with Janet Smith. have been made possible by a valuable training grant from the Scottish Arts Council. Venues to be confirmed — watch this space for further details.
I New theatre for Glasgow Rory McNeil is the man in charge of Glasgow‘s newest theatre which opens this fortnight in Drumchapel. Christened the Mercat Theatre and opened with the aid of local development money. the venue will host local and touring companies and is part ofa larger community facility. Jimmy Logan is the first big star to grace the stage when he joins local children in a guests-only variety show on Friday 14 February.
I Belgium Festival Two productions by the University of Glasgow‘s Department ofTheatre, Film and Television Studies have been selected to represent Scotland in the International Festival of University Theatre in
Just when it looked like the Citizens’ might be running out of energy after twenty-odd years in the challenging theatre game, it comes up with an idea that turns all preconceptions on their heads. With typical lack of fuss, but thorough artistic reasoning, the Gorbals theatre will open not one, but three plays in the next fortnight and a total of nine in the next three months. Keeping the existing traditional 600-seater auditorium, the theatre has converted some of the bar area in its airy foyer into two new performance spaces of 130 seats and 70 seats respectively.
The Citz’ original studio space, the Close, burnt down in May 1973, and until the renovations of 1988, when a mini-theatre was built on the stage, the three directors, Giles llavergal, Robert David MacDonald and Philip Prowse,
had no chance to work in small spaces.
The experience of that short autumn season whetted their appetite and gave the impetus to work on plays more suited to small-scale production.
‘This isn’t physical empire building,’ Giles Havergal explains, pleased also to welcome guest directors regularly for the first time. ‘We’ve got lots of plays that would be more suitable in different environments. There is clearly a lot of theatre that needs to be seen that isn’t always entirely suitable to a 600-seat auditorium. We were beginning to chate at not being able to do that.’
Programming now involves balancing plays not only over a season, but also across the three theatres. ‘What I was hoping was, rather like a really good crossword, it would look good whether you looked across or down,‘ says Havergal. ‘Each group of three looks very good and if you look at one theatre it’s doing three very interesting plays over the three months. It's important that we have two studios not one, because if you have one it tends to be that you ghettoise: you do your popular stuff on the big stage and the less recognised stuff in the little theatre. If you have two, the hope is that you spread it all round.’ (Mark Fisher)
Niagara, Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, 19 Feb-14 Mar.
1953, Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, 20 Feb—14 Mar.
Summer Lightning, Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, 21 Feb—14 Mar.
Liege. Belgium. The two plays are Subterraneum and Her Other I. both premieres. and can be seen at the University from 19-21 February. I New company A new Scottish theatre company committed to new writing for working class audiences launches its first production in April. The Penny Mob. formed by Libby McArthur. Mike Jones and Willy Maley, will charge just one penny for the first week ofits production of The Lions of Lisbon. a play about Celtic‘s European Cup victory in 1967. I Glass Ceiling debate Edinburgh‘s Traverse Theatre hosts a debate about the potential for women theatre artists when Sphinx Theatre Company (formerly the Women’s Theatre Group) visits from 27 February-l March. The talk is open to both men and women and takes place on Sat 29 February. Speakers include Mary Brennan, Maggie Kinloch and Charlotte Keatley. I Amateurtheatricals wanted Edinburgh‘s Makars are always pleased to see new faces who want to get involved from or backstage in their productions. Contact Mrs lrcne MacKenzie on 031 557 4530 for details.
The List 14 — 27 February 1992 43