With scant regard ior indigestion, Andrew Bumet dashes oil alter a hasty lunch to catch the early altemoon’s best shows.
I Denied Crowns Acute campus sex-comedy from young playwright Robert Shearman makes much of Shakespeare references, but should appeal to the initiated.
Dented Crowns (Fringe) Exacting Theatre Company, Southside ’92 (Venue 82) 667 7365, until 5 Sept ( not 2 Sept), 1pm, £3.50 (£3).
I Mummy’s Little Girl Jenny Eclair comes up with the goods as a lonely grown-up re-living her childhood stardom. Bitter, witty and probably the best one-woman show on the Fringe.
Mummy ’s Little Girl (Fringe) Jenny Eclair, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 5 Sept (n0127Aug), £6/£ 7 (£5/£6).
I Orlando Virginia W. and Vita S-W. in a theatrical sex romp sent our man scurrying back with his rosiest complexion in years. It seems Red Shift are back on form.
Orlando (Fringe) Red Shift, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 5 Sept (not 1 Sept) 2pm, £6.50/£7.50 (£5/£6).
I A Passage oi Trivial Muslc Confused young men spot Tennessee Williams in their local library, but can he help them solve their problems? Intriguing new play by young Mancunian Toby Manning.
A Passage of Trivial Music (Fringe) Desire Theatre Company, Across The Mersey Theatre (Venue 123) 557 9659, 31 Aug—5 Sept, 1.20pm, £3.50 (£2.50).
I Tattoo O’CIock Poetry Show Myopic Guardian scribe John Hegley maintains his usual standard of sharp, edgy wit.
Tattoo O’Clock Poetry Show (Fringe) John Hegley, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 28 Aug, 2pm, £6.50/£7.50 (£5/£6).
We’ve seen plenty of East-European street action on our televisions over the past couple of years, but are we ready for it on the streets of Edinburgh? Richard Demarco thinks so. Roberta Mock investigates.
A chocho is a ﬂower, usually a
rose, which is wrapped in straw to preserve it from the harsh winter. In Poland, the frozen fragility of the chocho is a metaphor for incapacity. It is used most famously in a play by Stanislav Wyspianski entitled The Wedding, which climaxes with a dance of the chocho, symbolising the possibility of change being quelled by helplessness.
Polish theatre company Teatr 77 are bringing their own version of the dance to Edinburgh in the form of a ‘street action’. Their Chocholy (the plural of chocho) investigate the problem of The Other in an alien environment, providing an example of integration despite the existence of real and imaginary borders
between people and communities.
The action centres on Chocholy in a foreign city, a situation shared by the company itself. Afraid of their vulnerability, these actors wrapped in straw protect themselves by remaining enclosed and detached from their strange environment. The performance is essentially an illustrative process of opening up to a shared community, typical of a company which has for some time been promoting a Europe-wide art movement with its work.
The Mound performances will open with a bid of welcome from a local representative (yet to be announced), a song or speech bidding the Chocholy to tear down their barriers. Like much street theatre, Chocholy is unscripted, although not without a planned structure. Audience response still shapes the production. Teatr 77 perform only in Polish (indeed, language barriers precluded a formal interview), but are confident that the universality of their message can be
Chocholy has only been performed a couple times in Poland, where an audience would recognise the company’s policy of promoting the acceptance of racial and sexual minorities in its work.
This is in keeping with the Lodz-based group’s philosophy since their formation as a student company in 1969. Like many student groups with progressive and liberal attitudes, Teatr 77 were banned several times and their work‘s political content censored. Taken from the address where they ﬁrst performed, the name Teatr 77 became ironically apt after the company shifted direction in 1977 to concentrate on more European-orientated projects.
‘ Intent on building a ‘common
house‘, Teatr 77 have worked with artists throughout Europe, the most recent collaboration being a joint Hungarian/Czech/Polish production of Don Quixote in Hungary. Chocholy replaces Expulsion of the Rats (the street action listed in the Fringe programme) which the company cancelled owing to technical limitations. Teatr 77 can also be seen in a dramatisation of I Served the English King by the Czech novelist, Bohumil Hrabal, at the Richard Demarco Gallery. Both events are part of a week of Polish theatre at the venue. The establishment of a European cultural community starts here. I Chocholy (Fringe) Teatr 77, Festival Place, The Mound (Venue 97) 557 0707, 31 Aug—5 Sept, 2pm, Free.
Inspired by the V to Z shelves oi the American Drama section at Manchester Central Library, Toby Manning’s debut play, A Passage oi Trivial Music, is an attempt to resolve two contradictory gay sensibilities. ‘l’ve always been iascinated by Tennessee Williams,’ Manning explains, ‘and lthink what's important about him Is the way his homosexuality littered through his work without him ever being lrank about it; the way a non-liberated climate managed to produce some very Interesting and emotive work.’
The play is set at night in a public library, where two men ol the 1990s are falling to communicate. When they are joined by the ghost oi Tennessee Williams, dreams and memories rise
22 The List 28 August — 10 September 1992
to the suriace. ‘The thing that comes out oi the play,’ says Manning, ‘is the idea that beiore gay liberation, there was a sort oi code and a secrecy to the way that homosexuals communicated, and a lot oi people see that as having a certain excitement, glamour and romance about it. Breaking taboos is
an exciting thing to do, and when everything becomes lrank and public, you lose an aspect at that magic. That very much connects into Williams, because people like Blanche [the central character in A Streetcar Named Desire] are always talking about how the truth isn’t necessarily the most Interesting thing.’
Not that Manning iavours the ‘iasclnation lorthlngs not being direct’ which hampers his two characters' attempts to be honest with each other. “i think it’s a dichotomy that exists within a lot oi people,’ he says. ‘That excitement and secrecy have gone, but at the same time they were part at a repressive society. I couldn't in any way come down in lavour oi that, but I do believe that too much lrankness, too much lack oi imagination, can lead to a very deprived and uninteresting Iiie.’ (Andrew Burnet)
A Passage ol Trivial Music (Fringe) Desire Theatre Company, Across The Mersey Theatre (Venue 123) 557 9659. 31 Aug—5 Sept, 1.20pm, £3.50 (£2.50).