IAN ANCIENT TRILOGY
Festival supremo Brian McMaster has been wooing Romanian director Andrei Serban for some time. Born in 1943, Seban crossed the Atlantic to escape the Ceaucescu regime when he was still young and began working with some oi America’s most progressive theatre companies in the early 70s. Heavily inlluenced by Peter Brook, he
made his name creating
unconventional productions of European classics with companies including La Mama, American Repertory Theatre and Gutherie
One of these was a controversial
comic interpretation oi The Cherry Orchard which McMaster caught at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1977. ‘I sent him a telegram saying would you like to direct La Traviata tor Welsh National Opera,’ recalls McMaster, ‘and Andrei thought someone was playing a iolre on
him and put it in the bin!’
He did eventually draw Serban to Wales ior another opera and was keen to renew his aquaintance tor the Festival now that Serban has returned to post-revolution Bucharest and restaged one ol his New York hits, an Ancient Greelr promenade compilation
oi Medea, The Trojan Women and Elelrtra. Periorrned in the Corn Exchange, a venue personally selected by Serban tor his Sit-strong company, the production has met with rave reviews across the world and promises to be one oi the Festival’s most memorable highlights. (Mark Fisher)
An Ancient Trilogy (lntemationat Festival) National Theatre of Bucharest, The Corn Exchange, 225 5756, Sun 30 Aug—Sat 5 Sept (not 2), 6.30pm, £15.
V THEATRE 3
FROM A BALCONY
A weird thing happened to me during this show. After three hours of trying to grasp the subtle similarities between the play‘s two parallel plots I looked at my watch and found only twenty minutes had passed. And no sign of the balcony yet. Forty minutes later (real time) I was on the pavement outside and still unable to connect either the title to the play or the story of a drugs dealer to the tale of an aristocrat and a nun in Portugal.
Maybe the whole thing was just a bad pun on habits, or maybe the multi-layered interchanges of character and theme required two viewings for full explication. But since I’m unwilling to sit through it again without being paid vastly more money I‘ll never know for certain.
Given the performers tendency to twitch their heads on each line and strike poses reminiscent of Restoration dramatics at every opportunity, I suspect the play definitely had something to do with drugs. (Stephen Chester) I From A Balcony (Fringe) Chaplin - Lyonheart Productions, Richard Demarco Gallery (Venue 22) 557 0707, until 29 Aug, 6pm, £4.30 (£3.50)
* A straight black line divides the stage into two 5 matching white rooms.
furniture and the painted j door,the two reﬂectand
. pauses, but rarely giving much away about the
5 be mental patients,
v THEATRE ,
occupied by a young man (David Brown) and i woman (Sarah Quelch). , Like their rooms, which are virtual mirror images I of each other down to the i
echo each other's behaviour. and once they
discovereachother beyondthe wall,their
conversation. Much like a Beckett play,the
language is sparse. simple, full of meaningful
identities of the two
At first they appear to
insomniac amnesiacs. But as they grow close to each other, at an exquisite moment in the play, the woman unexpectedly crosses centre stage through the wall, destroying the line between reality and dream, and further blurring their possible identities. Fine performances and an intriguing script make this well worth a visit. (Robert Alstead)
I Who? (Fringe) National Student Theatre Company, Pleasance (venue 33) 556 6550, until 5 Sept, 7.30pm,£5.50 (£4.50).
A figure in black enters the room by candle-light
and illuminates his table
with ten more candles. Slowly he builds his set — a
' scattering of books on the ‘ black table top, an
unidentified pile of rags. A second man enters with
another bank ofcandles ’ andjoinsinthe arranging. : An ethereal, percussive : score breathes out ofthe
speakers. The pace is
. leisurely and assured.
From this unhurried backdrop the story of Don Quijote emerges, a babble of strangely distant speech accompanying the l8in~high puppets. The whole thing is done with tremendous precision and attention to detail. the action synchronising perfectly with the pre-recorded soundtrack. but for all the proficiency and clever use ofsimple props, I rarely got the sense of magic that the ingredients seem to promise.
Perhaps greater familiarity with the Don Quijote tale would reveal more of the production's finer points, but for me, it comes across only as a straight-forward retelling ofthe story. (Mark Fisher)
I Ouiiote (Fringe) Bambalina Titelles, Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 228 1404, until 5 Sept. various times, £7.
Gm Music at the Festival
EDtNBURGl-l MUSIC BOX 27th nueusr
EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE 29th AUGUST
H u E
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AND me tosr sour. ems, caucuses PLAYHOUSE _
30th AUGUST f A- ~-
TICKETS - JUST THE TICKET VIRGIN UNION STREET, GLASGOW - RIPPING VIRGIN EDINBURGH AND ALL TOCTA OUTLETS. THE PLAYHOUSE 03l-557 2590. CANDLERIGGS 041-227 55l I. CREDIT CARDS 031-557 6969. POSTAL &
OTHER INFO O3I-556 I212.
The List 28 August — 10 September 1992 31