i Han Act
Back in1990,Simon Thorne and Philip
Mackenzie of Man Act set up shop in Glasgow to work with twenty local
5 men, many with no
performance experience, on a show called The Sweatlodge. Performed at Tramway, this physical, dance-based piece plumbed the murky depths of the male psyche; the violence, the peer-pressure and the repressed emotions. The sight of so many be-suited men moving sometimes in harmony, sometimes in antipathy, was one of the most memorable stages in Man Act’s seven-year exploration of what it is to be a man.
And the key word is exploration. ‘1 don’t think The S weatlodge has the answer,’ said Simon Thorne at the time, ’but hopefully it will throw the arena open to allow more questions.’ Theirs is no slavishly mechanistic response to feminism, but a considered, long-term investigation into and celebration of the macho world of men.
Since 1990, the
| company has rc-created
The Sweatlodge with cross-sections of local men in other cities, and has toured with its earlierActs of Man Trilogy to Europe and North America. It returns to Glasgow with Call Blue Jane, which is the kind of intense and intimate small-scale show for which Man Act earned its reputation. Telling the story of a businessman whose empire falls apart, while a shadowy figure lurks in the shadows waiting to settle a debt, Call BlueJane is a
sometimes tender encounters arising out of obsession, anger and failure.
Directed by intelligent, South African-bom writer Deborah Levy, the production should prove another imaginative instalment in the i company’scareer.(Mark Fisher)
Call Bluelane, CCA. Glasgow, Thurs 3—Sat5 Dec.
succession of edgy, brutal.
' Killer thriller
it ever there was a Scottish actor cut out to play a Canadian drop-out in a cult play with Twin Peaks undertones, it is Dougray Scott. With jet-black eyebrows, gleaming white teeth and enough cheek bones to keep a baseball team clocking up the home runs, Scott has the rugged good looks oi an all-American boy. Periorrning on stage ! in Scotland iorthe ilrst time after a
I couple oi successtul years’ TV work in England, Scott has the lead role in the
‘ Traverse production at Brad Fraser’s erotic thriller, snappily entitled Unldentilled Human Remains and the True Nature oi Love.
’On a superficial level it’s a thriller,’ says Scott about a play which has already enjoyed controversial runs in its native Canada, in the USA and Italy. ‘it’ll have people on the edge oi their seats. But there are many diilerent themes in it—iear, sexual orientation- which is what makes it so rich ior me. It’s about these characters and their insecurities. it’s very honest. Sexually it’s explicit; there’s nudity in It and i there’s a simulated blow-job. The good 1 thing is that i don’t have to take oil my
Free-ﬂowing and hard-hitting, the play is about a group oi young people in Edmonton - the town blessed with the world’s biggest shopping mall -whose lives are transionned by the loss oi one
Erotic panto altmatlve
oi their number and unsettled by reports oi a motiveless serial killer. Switching lrom tree-tall larce via heterosexual romps and steamy gay sex, to darker themes oi death, crime and decay, the play is driven by a youthful energy that compelled director lan Brown to stage it. ’It’s a gutsy play,’ he says, ‘and it’s written irom the guts. In America it was described as an MTV play. It’s very last-moving, it catches you up in it and it does what most plays don’t, which is to grab an audience and take it on a helter skelter ride. Sometimes the general audience needs to be grabbed by the balls a bit.’ (Mark Fisher)
Unldentilled Human Remains and the True Nature oi Love, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 29 Nomi) Dec.
See Competition Page for ticket otter.
Striking symbols ‘- 1 4m .1
vL . I V r r *i 1 ii = «a ., l "
An inspector Calls
1945 was, by all accounts, a bit oi a watershed. The war had ended with a huge shlit oi consensus, one which would create great institutions to realise a new vision oi society, one whose basic tenets would survive another 40 years beiore the rise oi Thatcherlsm.
it was also the year In which J.B. Priestly wrote An Inspector Calls, prior to his unsuccessful run as an Independent candidate in that year’s election. According to Stephen Daldry,
48 The List 20 November — 3 December 1992
' An Inspector Calls, Theatre Royal, | winner oi the Evening Standard Drama 1 Glasgow, Mon 30 Nov—Sat 5 Dec. l
' Award tor Best Director, the play was
all part oi the consensus shiit that Priestly was to some extent responsible ior bringing about, and as such iustliles Bradlord’s ilrst son being ranked alongside Brenton, Hare, isherwood and Auden.
’You’ve got to remember that Priestly wasn’t just a pipe-smoking, convivial, iovlal uncle, but was Involved in quite radical theatre movements,’ says Daldry. ‘ln An inspector Calls we’ve tried to realise the production as we
‘ think he would have wanted it. He’d
always described it as a symbolist
piece oi drama, not as a realistic piece, a and always said he’d never wanted it
done in a bloody drawing room.’
Daldry’s production, with its iilm noir set, eighteen local extras and political parallels, challenges the perennial am-dram interpretation oi the play as a well-written thriller, but Daldry quotes Priestly’s claim that, ’oniy a mad man would consider me a naturalistic dramatist’ as lurther evidence oi the play’s true intent.
‘I think the play’s incredibly pertinent now because oi what’s happening in the mining Industry and everywhere else. There was a wonderful moment when the play was iinlshing its run at the Rational when some people called out tor a general strike. It was lantastic because it had that sort oi immediacy I about It that showed people really did 3 connect with Priestly’s vision oi l wanting to change the world.’ (Stephen Chester) i
t After daring to pass comment on the : unempeachable perfection of the
: Grassmarket Project earlier in the year, I was advised by the company’s
reviewing pantomime‘. Now that : that time has come round again, l’m a happy to do just that, with no
Christmas show as an inferior form
1 you catch its stars Una McLean and
. whom Yuletide is incomplete without at least half-a-dozen
1 Christmas shows under our belts, so on the strength of last year’s output, here are some top tips for the
: discerning panto goer:
Sure~fire hit for those looking for a
traditional, large-scale glitzy affair, ' is Aladdin at the King’s Theatre,
Last year’s Tron panto i
unforgiving press officer to ’stick to
apologies to those who regard the
just because it happens to keep much of Scottish theatre alive for the rest of the year. Admittedly, there are only a handful of us hardy souls for
Glasgow. The production delighted Edinburgh audiences last year and if
; Gerard Kelly on top form, you won’t :
be disappointed. Similarly glam, Dick Whittington at the King’s
Edinburgh might turn out to lack the i star punch ofits predecessor, but
. Eric Cullen, Allan Stewart and Jan
: Wilson will no doubt be doing their
lfyou’re after a more street-wise
' reworking ofthe formula, Glasgow‘s E ' Tron has etched out a niche for itself ‘ in this market, welcoming back
Forbes Masson to write Cinderella. His Jack and the Beanstalk last year was strong on music and story, although a wee bit thin on corny jokes; if he ups the quota this time,
it’ll be a hit.
For those who find the variety
' elements of panto too much to
handle but still crave good, solid family entertainment, just look for ' the name of Stuart Paterson. 3 Perhaps the most produced } playwright in Scotland, Paterson was ' responsible for last year’s brilliant Shinda the Magic Ape and is back at | the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, with i an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. And although it’s been a couple of years since the Citz‘ panto found favour with The List’s reviewers, an advanced booking of 70 per cent for Miles Rudge’s The Jungle Book speaks for itself. (Mark Fisher)
See listings for details