without irony, that the celebrated linguistic ability ofthe Irish is due to ‘a bilingual culture, with the tension of the suppressed Gaelic language beneath the English, which is something common to Scotland too.‘

This justly-famed manipulation of a dual language is represented among the twelve festival shows by Point Fields‘ production ofJustice by Hugh Murphy, and Behan‘s rarely performed Richard's Cork Leg, staged by Glasgow‘s Arches Theatre company. But Boyd hopes that the festival will question the stereotypes of Irish drama rather than further the mythological status of ‘the blarney‘. To this end he has included The Dogs by Dublin’s Rough Magic. which is written. according to the press release, ‘in animal speak‘. Of all the Irish companies setting out to challenge the traditions of text-based drama the most spectacular, Macnas from Galway, is to be included in the festival. ‘They have the ambition of

Best from I r

the west

For the next month, Glasgow looks westwards as six city-centre venues celebrate the vigour of contemporary Irish theatre. Stephen Chester talks to the Tron’s Michael Boyd about his Celtic soul brothers, and rounds up six ofthe festival’s highlights.

total expression, which they attempt through V I various theatrical tools.‘ says Boyd. ‘In a way ‘Glasgow‘s Irish,‘ claims 'I‘ron Director Michael I, i they‘re an “event” company rather than a theatre Boyd.casuallyantagonising several thousand ' _ , 3 group.‘ Rangers fans. ‘And I‘m Irish.‘ he adds to sum up 'Tangm' by Palm“: Productions Another important tradition in Irish drama dates his reasons for co-ordinating the city‘s first Festival . . . . back to the time of Yeats and the Abbey, and the of New Irish Theatre. Presentatlonef ireiand» Wltheelllfjhs anti idea that theatre was ‘the pursuit of politics by

It‘s a festival which aims. according to Boyd. to GUinneSS'drmkmg eemPetltlene- A SettleS 0f other means‘. Since then Irish theatre has played a ‘provide an authoritative overview of the second conferences held during the festival wrll address 1 significant role in the formulation ofpublic generation of Irish theatre companies and writers.‘ such problemsas wellas discussmg the role of 5 Opinion and no Irish play deserving of the name _ The fact that most people aren‘t aware that the theatre in Post-Induetnal eltles- A159 0" the . l and the loyalist community may even reject the first represented by playwrights such as Brian agenda 15 the POSSIblht)’ Ofeonsuuetmg 3“ Imh term Irish —— would be complete without some Friel and Frank McGuiness engendered the likes , . controversy. Representing the ‘outraged and quite of Dermot Bolger and Martin Lynch. is indicative The theatre the tesuval celemates ls frankly disgusted‘ section in the festival is Sean ofthe need for such a festival to take place. theatre that SIIII matters. McCarthy‘s Dixie, which dodged an injunction to

Boyd has spent the last eighteen months perform in Glasgow. This tale ofcorruption in scouring Ireland for suitable groups and material and Scottish Axis— Boyd resists using the term County Cork demonstrates that the theatre the for the month-tent; testimi- GiVen the breadth 0f ‘Celtic Nationalism’ but is finally obliged to do so festival celebrates is theatre that still matters. but Irish theatre. he has adopted suitably “CXible to provide the type of steady funding required to Boyd stresses that it‘s also theatre which is highly criteria for selection. ‘I really warlth to inCIUdC a deveIOp an indigenous theatre culture. entertaining. ‘Originally I was very po-faced and Russian company who did a Beckett short.‘ he says Given that 30 per cent of the funding has come . wanted to call it a season, but festival sounds more to illustrate his eclecticism. 'hut it never worde from Whitehall‘s European Arts Festival John 3 exciting. more like a celebration. which is what it Get legtstteaHY-' Major’s attempt to celebrate ‘the first language of is.‘

One of the challenges he faced in Programming Europe’ such pre-occupations could be seen as a I The Festival ofNew Irish Theatre, Tron Arches, the festival was finding work which was specifically cheeky biting of the grant-awarding hand which I OldAthenaeum, Ramshorn, Tramway and GFT, Irish but avoided the ‘Irish Tourist Board feeds the festival. Boyd also points out, not i Glasgow, Wed 14 Oct—Sat 14 Nov.

I Dublin's Pigbaclt I Wilma" ("81992 77m" i " a; «I , _ M .r ' I ‘An excellent, tmponant

V Theatre (:Ompanv has ()UtThcatrC Award~ t V play’ said this very

. . . gained an impressive Rough Magic has . v -‘ I - i. , publication when it - ' ._ t reputation for bringing 1mPressed Matte“ and ' , appeared at the Fringe. ,1 7 i new performance stylesto Edtnbmgh ange Eclipsedis Punchbag

3 classic plays. The Tender Trap re—locates Marivaux in Hollywood and features

Theatre‘s story of unmarried mothers imprisoned in convents.

audiences with Bat The I Father. Rabbit The Son. and more recently with i Love and a Bottle. The I


the songs ofSinatra. . ‘Would make a stone ' 008$ '5 abet" (1985' and weep.‘ said The Guardian. . A _. , offers mama)??? k I premiere ( s a . I Macnas is a collective I With “mush” "'9 be“ -

title in the festival. Ground Contra/to Davy Mentalis a study of alcohol abuse from Belfast‘s award-winning Theatre in Education troupe. Replay Theatre Co. The show tours Strathclyde schools.

I I According to Boyd

I ‘Bolger writes screenplays

i ratherthan scripts.‘ The

i Lament For Arthur C Ieary

t performed by 7:84, was

" inspired by a Gaelic poem and concerns an economic exile‘s return to Dublin after fifteen years.


specialising in pageants. processions and general ‘happcnings.‘ and its production of the 8th century heroic talc Ta'in boasts sixteen players. six musicians and ‘immcnse good humour‘.


The List 9 22 OctobeT-I 992 43