IAYFES‘I‘ PREVIEW Hall or nothing
a series of elaborate interior re-deslgns. llis selﬂess commitment confounds his superiors whose crude understanding oi human behaviour extends no further than the profit motive. But beyond the comedy created lrom the clash oi dull-wilted managers and tree-thinking stall, the play is an Indirect commentary on the 3 homogenous lace ol mass-marketing
; and the role of the visionary artist in a i blinkered world where commerce is 1 king.
Like much oi Poliakoll’s work, it’s also about emotionally-stunted people
, trying to lorge friendships, but
i thwarted by an inability to reach out
i beyond their own sense ol alienation.
! Caught in the unnatural environment oi
i the DIY emporium, these are people
physically displaced and socially
’ alone. Pollakoil’s writing is terse and
economical —the comedy comes out ol
character and situation rather than
linguistic punch-llnes- and on the
page, Sienna Red is a brisk and
" :. repeatedly surprising read. lts Mayiest
Peter Hall (lell) in rehearsal perlorrnance is part of the Peter Hall
Company’slirst Britishtourslnce . t .t .. .. ‘ ‘Out oi the collision oi the characters, a lorming in 1988 and stars Francesca ,. ‘ ' ': '~ '~ 3' t' t ‘ '1 Suzi‘I’i'. its; not; large and resonant world oi its own can Annis and Martin Shaw. Directed by ' . . . :. .; .; = ‘: ill-saws“ . be created,’ wrote Stephen Pollakoll in Hall himself-the man who lounded the - f: 3;. .433}, 152;. ' ':.'5~ ~i ' "
the introduction to his ilrst collection at nsc and went on to lead the National -
plays (Poliakoll: Plays One, Methuen). the production promises to be an
And true to form, his new play, Sienna entertaining and thought-provoking
tied, at least on the strength oi the mainstream Mayiest pull. (Mark
script, has layers oi meaning that go iar Fisher)
beyond the limits oi the mass-produced
DIY warehouse in which it is set. Sienna lied, King’s Theatre, Glasgow, On one level, Sienna Red is a comedy Mon 4—Sat 9 May.
about a lowly employee who upsets the Sienna lied is published by Methuen on v WO Ru) bland unliormity oi his retail outlet with Mon 15 June.
8 m I tackles another issue that the
politicians would rather ignore - the army. A short story written by Sergei Kaledin, Gaudeamus was banned wo until 1989 when the influential and
I daring literary journal Navy Mir
defied the censors and published it amidst a storm of protest from the military authorities.
The Maly Theatre Every Russian male, give or take a few with dads in the bureaucracy,
company 15 unrivalled m still has to serve his time in the army.
‘I thought a retrospective was the sort ol thing you did when you were about retiral age,’ jokes Steve Shill, no one’s idea oi an OAP. But a retrospective’s
exaicll'ytavzrat :le’s rgpparmg, tganks to dealing With sensitive Conscription, ofcourse, is a
an nv on rom asgow’s entrelor ' f t r fi'f th h issues throu h owerful Common “a u e 0 ' e “m8 0‘"
Contemporary Arts, Shill has made d Ph.l.g 1? Europe, as is the bullying which the
thirteen shows overthe past six years, rama' 1 It) a", raw recruits have to put up with. but
as a writer, director and actor, and is prevrews the Russran the Russian military are in a league
reviving three tor Maylest. There’s the
’ ' apart when it comes to ‘initiation eleglac rm now", based an Edward company 5 latest offering,
rites’. Every year, tens, even
liopper’s Cape Cod paintings, the - I , Gaudeamus- hundreds of recruits are tortured blackly humorous Fine Film oi Ashes, stove Shill: poignant Maly, an abbreviation of the Russian and, sometimes, killed by their and The Year They Changed the Wires, for ‘small’, seems singularly NCOs. Every year, the liberal an almost knockabout comedy on the disciplines to work in a collaborative, inappropriate as the name of one of newspapers report the terrors and pitlalls, or pratlalls, oi movie-making. non-compartmentalised way. It’s an the world’s premier theatre publish letters from mothers
Shill describes his work as ‘telling approach which suits his range at companies, 48 members-strong, presented with zinc coffins, welded stories with pictures, in atmospheres, skills, embracing all aspects at a which performs anything up to 500 shut, containing their sons who as well as dialogue’. Looking back at production without resorting to the times a year, tours the world en ‘committed suicide’ or ‘suffered a past shows, he iinds them surprising dictatorship oi the director. masse and presents ten-hour epics road accident’. And every year, the and touching. ‘l’ve had a tendency to But theatre, he acknowledges, can be that have been developed over country’s leadership denies that look pn my shows as a commodity- a frustrating medium to work in. ‘Once four-year rehearsal periods. But there is a problem. A Gorbachev- here s something I can sell. But putting It’s gone, it’s gone, all you’ve got are Maly has the ironic name and is inspired commission set up in 1990 to Face Down back together again, we . the video and the reviews and the happy to stick with it. look into the bullying provided the were in tears at lunchtime, and now I photographs. I suppose that’s also the Last seen in Britain with the whitewash which the increasingly remember why this show worked — great thing about theatre, it’s there and universally acclaimed Brothers and powerful army had wanted. because it’s so poignant.’ then it's gone iorever. It’s something I Sisters in 1990, the company is Lev Dodin, Maly’s artistic director
Looking back has also helped him guess I’ll never reconcile,’ be returning to Mayfest with its latest since 1983 and now one of the most look forward, and he’s formed a new concludes, then adds, only hall play, Gaudeamus. While Brothers inﬂuential members of the Russian company, Split Rock International, to jokingly, ‘unless i become a and Sisters, which premiered before artistic community as secretary 0‘ keep shows in repertory and to develop lilmmaker.’ (Ken Cockburn) the accession of Comrade the Russian Union of Theatre new work. lie describes Gorbachev, bravely tore strips off Artists, was inspired by Kaledin’s enthusiastically its education The Steve Shill Retrospective, Centre the hallowed image of Stalin years story and a hunger strike by mothers Platinum“ Which encourages tor Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, Fri before the Party leadership jumped 0f murdered SOldiersr ‘0 adapt students lrom the various theatre 1—Sat 9 May. on the bandwagon, Gaudeamus Gaudeamus for the stage. In Maly’s
12 The List 24 April — 7 May 1992