this as well — a metronome. what goods at metronome? It‘ll be slower in a bigger hall. slower if there are more people. slower if there are more players. It'll have a different tempo in the morning at the rehearsal than it will in the evening at the performance. When you're in the run of a play you listen every night to where that first laugh comes. 1 I' will be relieved to have done it a few times.’ Written by Venedikt Erofeev in the late 60s.
5 Moscow Stations as it is translated here. is a comic celebration of the desperate boo/y lifestyles of a _ social stratum perhaps unique to Soviet Russia -- that of the intellectual alcoholic. Like the author himself.
the novel’s hero. Venya. drinks in order to escape the l uncomfortable contradictions of a totalitarian society I and — in a country where Stalin had promoted drinking as a means of stupefying the nation ~- just to . pass the time. The resulting character is a ; dipsomaniac who can speak his mind. who can allude I ; to art and culture. and who can fall down in a i f drunken haze with the best of them. 5
Funny as it is. the novel is no bland glorification of alcoholism — as Courtenay says. it is nine parts amusing and one part not at all amusing —- but if there 5 is a danger of making a hero of this drunken wreteh. 3 it is not something that worries the actor. ‘I would I have thought the whole thing is fraught with danger.‘ he says. admitting that it is too sordid to be
V NEW PLAY
Station to station
Mark Fisher talks to Tom Courtenay about drink and the one- man show.
Tom Courtenay is taking this one seriously. Last
April he starred in a radio adaptation of a cult j Russian novel called Mos/o'a-Petushki and it seems ‘ he has thought of nothing else since. Working closely ; with Stephen Mulrine. the Glasgow-based translator of many fine recent plays including Alexander Gelman's The Beneh and Ludmilla Petrushevskaya's Cinzano, Courtenay spent the whole of last summer fashioninga version of the novel that would be ' suitable for the stage. His close association with the development of the piece coupled with his t commitment to doing itjustice. meant that he was Tom 00"
rtenay: Russian alcoholic
glamorous. ‘but so what‘.’ You‘ve got to throw
just about word perfect even before rehearsals begun order to get some genuine feedback. the actor has yourself into it or you'll have no chance.‘
with director [an Brown at Edinburgh‘8 TraverSC ; played this 90-minute monologue to an invited Despite his long career spanning more than 30 ; Theatre. ‘1 just thought it was poSSible to make it ‘ audience on a couple of occasions as part of his i years. from films like The lxme/iness oj'u Long one-man piece out of it.’ he says. sitting in the preparation. Word from these early performances was Distance Runner to international theatre hits like The Traverse bar. a rather more dishevelled version of the ; very positive. but Courtenay has no intention of Dresser to last year's touring production of Motiere‘s ‘ intense figure he cut in [)r Zhivago orBilly Liar. ’ relaxing until he feels he has got the measure not 3 The Miser. this is the first time Courtenay has 5 ‘Most Of the learning‘s done and it‘8 it question 0f i only of the play itself, but also of a variety of 3 performed a monologue on the professional stage. practice. When you think how long it takes to learn 1 audience responses to it. ‘l've been with it a long ‘lt’s a new experience.‘ he says. ’l've never done one ' “3" mimics Speaking this is abOUl ﬁfteen times i time. I wouldn‘t have dreamt of doing it otherwise.‘ g before. I doubt 1‘” have time to do one again the way longer than that.‘ 3 he says. ‘It will evolve in the doing of it — plays do things are going. ['11 be interested to see if it goes z
unusually in a theatre world Where C()“V'CY()r‘bC]l 3 anyway. You learn the timing of a play from the well and if I‘ll do it again. it's a beautiful thing.
three-week rehearsal periods are the norm. Courtenay F audience. What has to be spelled out to them and otherwise i wouldn't have started out on it.’ and Brown had spent a couple of wmter weeks on the what they pick up quickly; you can only tell by doing L Moscow Stations. Traverse Theatre. lz‘rli'nhure/t. l’ri play long before the start of rehearsals proper. and In . it. Conductors. when they‘re interviewed. they say I 12—8102 2/ Feb and Tue 2-—Sun 14 Mar.
m1- Family feuds .
if you didn’t catch sx-s and haven’t read a newspaper, gone to the theatre or left the house for a long time, then . you might not be aware that 7.84 has ; been ‘redefined’. Perhaps it’s a sad ' sign of the times when they start ' making nostalgic documentaries I about agitprop theatre groups, but as i new artistic director lain iieekie explains, ‘in the last ten or fifteen years, tilt politics have changed the fabric of our society so much that the kind of work 7.84 did before isn't as
the whole thing ends knee deep in corpses, and is in essence, claims Beckie, ‘a family drama on a very big scale. But through that family drama
‘ eternal questions are asked about her we should treat each other in our own personal relationships.’
The pertinence of these ‘eternal questions’ is demonstrated by the continuous popularity of the piece throughout history, and its interpretation into innumerable contexts. While Reekie believes that 1 the active question of the piece is t. ultimately ‘what is the nature of government, the morality of your own personal beliefs and how important it is to be able to stand up for those beliefs,’ he stresses that the company
) as Creon and Pauline Knowles as Antigone
9mm" in communmunﬂ "m" "'9 - must always do is to ask questions its latest choice of production, doesn't want to try and torce a
39mm" 3,3 n '39- } challenging the status quo, our own Antigone. the eponymous heroine of ? concept on Antigone, but rather to mm *9 '8 "VIM ‘0 d0 "0‘" '3 ‘0 a conceptions and our own experience.’ I this classic tale is a sort of pro-Christ ‘retease the story in a way that is
331 "'3‘ "‘9 WWW “New?” 0" The shift from tub-thumping t Sigoumey Weaver, who refuses to relevant to us now.’ (Stephen Chester)
m" '°"°' 3" 3° °°"""°" "'3‘ “'9 slonaneeﬂnn to dissections 0' obey the King’s embargo on burying : Antigone, Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Tue
don’t have the answers, but what we
personal politics is demonstrated by her dead brother. Being Greek tragedy za-stm 29 Feb and on tour. ON'FOLLOWING PAGES: THE BIG PICTURE 0 MY BROTHER’S KEEPER
The List lZ—ZS l‘ehruary l‘)‘)3 43