. TIIEM'RE PREVIEW
I III wrnds
The work of Dundee Arts Centre writer-in-residence John Harvey is shortly to be showcased at Glasgow’s Arches Theatre by way of a double bill - two short plays, Scenes from a Musical Life and Keeping Right On to the End of the Road. Both pieces deal in their own ways with forms of disability but beyond that their correlation is tenuous.
Scenes from a Musical Life, presented by Theatre Touring Tayside, focuses on Ruth, a disabled girl who uses a love of music to liberate herself from her cocooned home life while her parents and nurse increasingly enmesh themselves in a tangle of remorse and frustration.
In QED Theatre Company’s production Keeping Right On . . . , the disability is mental. The one-man show hinges on the character Gerry, a disturbed alcoholic boor awaiting release from the hospital whose four walls have provided him with sanctuary and life of a different kind. All other characters are realised through Gerry’s persona, as acted by the play’s co-deviser Peter Grimes who, it transpires, has no small amount of insider knowledge.
‘Before I started in theatre I trained as a psychiatric nurse for three years,’ he reveals. ‘The people I met when I was training were some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met. I worked in Carstairs for a bit and I wrote loads of stuff down when I was doing it. I thought “I’ll never need it but I’ll have it anyway”. I saw a lot of abuse as well. I was working nightshift sometimes i and you’d go in and there’d be nurses laying into patients for no reason. That’s one of the reasons that I left.
‘Also, there’s a political point in it about people being thrown out into the community from mental hospitals. It’s happening right now — people are walking about the streets now who are mentally ill.’ (Fiona
Scenes from a Musical Life and Keeping Right On to the End of the Road, Arches Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 13-Sat I 7 Oct.
Young at heart
In Sauchiehall Street, this month’s theme is Spain. Tamsin Grainger outlines the CCA’s enterprising season.
Young Spain is a festival of Spanish Theatre— theatre which encompasses video. performance, installation. dance. acting, music, and mime, all by up-and-coming Spanish stars. ‘I am trying to encourage new, young, developing work and to give it an environment in which it can be created.’ says Nikki Milican. once again the author ofan inspiring, ifbrief. eight-day season. Young Spain was initially planned in 1991 but fell foul ofthe Third Eye Centre closure. To include it in the Centre for Contemporary Arts‘ Autumn programme meant Milican, ruthless in her choice ofgenuinely virginal work, had to let the previously-selected installation artist go because he has since made an impressive name for himself. Enter Estacio Perferica with Smog. ‘This is work that isn’t really known in this country and is a risk for us,‘ explains Milican. ‘We are having to adapt the piece to our space and are busy gathering plastic cups and rubbish for him before he arrives. We‘re sure the installation‘s going to fit but we
just won‘t really know until he arrives.‘
Inez Boza and Carles Mallol have been selected to kick off the festival. ‘It’s a good opening show because they are more established.‘ says Milican. ‘It should be a light-hearted. humorous opening, expertly performed because technically they are very good.‘ In Senza Tempo, she explains. they construct a half-imagined world in which to pour out their dance. their lechery and lewdness. the dregs of themselves — adding 350 bricks amd 40 cabbages for good measure.
‘You can conjure up all sorts of romantic images ofSpain,’ Milican ventures, ‘but ifyou look at Andre Corchero‘s photo on the front of the brochure it sums up all the passion — he looks like a matador. When we ask for information from the artists about their work, they send us reams ofpoetry — that‘s Spanish culture: vibrant. fiery. all the things ours isn‘t.‘
Corchero was trained primarily in Butoh, Japanese contemporary dance, with further experience as a mime artist. A an Poeta Futuro is a
Mal Pelo: stars oi the iestival
response to the poet Jaime (iii de Biedrna. who died of AIDS two-and-a-half years ago. "l‘hc words are not metaphorical. but strong.’ Corchero explains. ‘He talks about love and hate in a direct way which touched me very deeply.‘
Corchero goes on to explain the essence of his and his partner Feliu Formosa’s piece: ‘Our work is primarily sensation - feelings and emotions living on the stage and being shared with people. I try to touch the audience with my body. to communicate. not to say big things. but to be with them.‘
Mal l’elo. the only company to have previously performed in the UK. gives the concluding performances ofthe festival with Sur, Perms (lel Sur. "l’hey are the stars because they have been going longer than the rest and have already produced a hit show.‘ says Milican. ‘At the end ofthe day the festival is an exciting blend ot‘Spanish culture and it'll certainly be different from the Spain you might see on 'I'V'.‘ Young Spain, Centre for Contemporary A rts. Glasgow, Wed 21—31113] (‘
amm- Dance stance
‘Just as a single shalt ol lightning on a very dark and troubled night can suddenly illuminate the way, thus does Chandralekha’s intellectual insight provide a direction tor dance.’ Critic Shanta Serbieet Singh gives a typically enthusiastic description otAnglka, the seminal dance work that Chandralekha's company will perform at Tramway. Made in 1985, it was heralded as a landmark in the South East Asian dance world because of Its brave tloutlng ol tradition.
At 64, Chandralekha remains one of India’s most challenging choreographers, an iconoclast at traditional Indian dance. She has broken away from Baratha Natyam, the classical dance style In which she was trained, and produced an individual and contemporary altematlve that has led her to work with such luminaries as Andy Warhol, Merce Cunningham and Peter Brook. Drawing on sources as diverse as animal movements, yoga and martial arts, Chandralekha has created new images to supplement the traditional dance language.
In direct contrast to Chandralekha ls
Kalam Vlau, d'iclo I Kala Ghetheana Kathakali Troupe
the Kala Ghethena Kathakali Troupe which is also part of Tramway’s South India Week. Kathakali is a powerful and traditional male dance-drama from Kerala, where the actor-dancers are usually from the martial caste.
In this classical style, the vivid language of gesture and mime is used to translate the words at the play which are simultaneously sung by live musicians. The characters are always largerthan lite and, consequently,
costumes, head-dresses and make-up are highly distinctive.
The plays are taken Irom the epics of ancient India: the Mahabharata and Ramayana depict heroic deeds oi gods and warriors, treacheries oi demonesses and the baseness of evil men. The choreography is deterrnlned by emotion and characterwith relationships further described in the lyrics of the accompanying song-cycle as well as being portrayed through movement.
The Kathakali Troupe enthrals with the spectacle of lictional India, whereas Chandralekha delves into contemporary culture with her dynamic choreography. ‘What I would like to ask,’ Chandralekha questions, ‘is whether, in our times, we could try to comprehend the immense power and potential of dance to vitalise us, energise us and humanise us, in a society that seeks to lragment us in every moment.‘ (Tamsin Grainger)
Kala Chethena Kathakali Troupe, Tramway, Glasgow, Tue ZO—Wed 21 Oct.
Angika, The Chandralehka Group, Tramway, Glasgow, Thurs 22—Fri 23 Oct.
Srl, The Chandralehka Group, Tramway, Glasgow, Sat 24 Oct.
M The List 9 — 22 October 1992