V NEW PLAY
What's black and white and grey all over'.‘
It's this play, right. about an atheist. Alexander Moncrief. tussling internally with his soul. who is advised by a passing preacher to build a temple to God to absolve his guilt. Anyway, he bumps into this Zen Buddhist builder bloke who agrees to help him and while they're looking for an appropriate location they meet a man who thinks he‘s a Monopoly board. They challenge him to a game and win the Mayfair property ‘because you couldn‘t expect God to live on the Old Kent Road'. So they commence building. right. but then the workforce start to drop like flies in suspicious circumstances and things take a turn for the Miss Marple, and it's all very Old Testament meets Bill and Ted '3 Bogus Journey meets Italian pantomime.
That's the shaggy dog version of the joke. Here's the Denis Leary version of the answer: two words — Solomon Is Glory.
‘A black and white comedy about the grey area of guilt.’ runs the blurb from Cardiff-based company Theatre Y Byd. Playwright Ian Rowlands elucidates: ‘it’s basically about men‘s obsession with having to build totems around them to fulfil their needs. and the materialistic society we live in that puts store in what is tangible. what can be seen. as opposed to the spiritual. what can't be seen. Within 20th century society. atheism does lead uncannin to capitalism. After the destruction of all spiritual values. what are you left with? You're left with what is seen and what you can buy.
‘But there‘s a point where you‘re faced with your own mortality and you re-assess your spirituality. 1 don't subscribe to any particular form of belief myself, but it is a pathological need in humankind to have it. The big guilt of Alexander Moncrief is that he has to turn to God.‘ (Fiona Shepherd)
Solomon 's Glory. Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh. Thurs 18—Sat 20 Mar.
I ame- Dei there
Ask Dutch flew Moves choreographer, Angelika Dei, about the concepts behind her forthcoming show, Les Depots Lapidaires, and she refuses to answer. This is only partly because it can be difficult to express movement in words. The main reason is that her concepts have yet to be formulated. ‘l have an idea and will try, during the rehearsal process, to define it more and more,’ she explains. ‘l will ask questions to find out what it’s about. It’s not like painters who know exactly what they’re going to paint in advance.’
What interests Dei is the choreographic method she’s selected. A ‘Depot Lapidaire’ is a place where bits of old monuments and other stones are stored - ‘fallen towers, old Jesuses and Madonnas all lying in a pile’. This kind of rough and ready raw material symbolises what Del is building on in Glasgow. ‘l want to make a number of performances in a really short time, sort of sketches,’ she says, explaining that each show will be unique. ‘In Glasgow I have nine days’ rehearsal for three
performances, which is an adventure, really rather crazy. First i thought it would be snippets, but there will be a line running through all three, people always see a dramatic line.’
The shows will feature film and slides from her own collection, great artists including Diana Payne Myers who has worked with DVD, original costumes and a set which is being specially constructed in Glasgow by Dutch sculptor iiene van Duden. There will be music from Gzech-slovakia and Hungary, although as Dei has 60 tapes with her, anything could change before the opening night. But for all the flexibility, the shows will not be works in progress. ‘That’s like going into someone’s kitchen and seeing them cook - a very intimate thing,’ Del argues. ‘You will get a meal and I will strive to make it a good one that I know has to be eaten. However if you do see all three of the performances, then you’ll get some idea of how it was cooked.’ (Tamsin Grainger)
Les Depots Lapidaires parts III, IV and V, DGA, Glasgow, Thurs 11-Sat 13 Mar.
Sex, drugs and cockroaches
‘ls Philip Ridley a maggot wanking weirdo?’ ran the headline of a Blitz feature several years ago. ‘Yep’ say those who saw his drawing at an IDA exhibition which featured ‘man with erection disgorging black bird pecking out man’s eyes’. ‘iio,’ counters Malcolm Sutherland, director of iiidley’s first stage piece The Pitchfork Disney, ‘I’ve met him and he isn’t.’ But then, can you entirely trust a man who’s just directed the stage version of Iain Bank’s The Wasp Factory?
Philip Tildley is one of those young, irritatineg talented artists who have succesfully mastered the short story, novel and film. Now he’s moved into theatre, with equal critical acclaim, and brings to his first prize-winning play his usual concerns - the demented and disturbing fairy-tale world of child sexuality.
The play’s themes and styles, which Sutherland refers to as ‘fiew Drutalism’ are best articulated in his brief synopsis: ‘lt’s about a brother and a sister who are both 28 and they
never go out, and they eat chocolate and take valium to sleep. Into this situation walks a real Thatcherite boy called Cosmo, who’s quite pretty, and he has a little stage show where he eats cockroaches, and he falls in love with the daughter who’s asleep on the sofa. Cosmo has this sidekick called Pitchfork, who’s a mentally deranged subnormal man who comes and terrorises the twins. It’s really the story of two people who can’t cope with modern society.’
As befitting the screenwriter of The lirays and the director of The , Reflecting Skin the play is filled with visually precise dream sequences, as Sutherland explains. ‘The girl talks about this dream where she meets dogs in a church and she starts climbing up a crucifix, where she kisses Christ and takes a chocolate, and the cross starts to crumble.’
And to think they only call him weird. (Stephen Chester)
The Pitchfork Disney, Ditimns’ Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 23 Mar-Sun 18 April.
inm- Dream on
The Scottish Ballet is rather understatedly preparing for an unusual event. In tiny letters inside the leaﬂet. it writes that its forthcoming A Midsummer Night '5‘ Dream is the dance event of 1993. Given that it is referring to the ! commissioning ofa world-famous choreographer to make a full-length ballet based
; on Shakespeare‘s masterpiece of night- time intrigue. it‘s all the more strange that the
' newspaper adverts don't even mention this CBE- awarded dance—maker.
Robert ‘Bob’ Cohan is really pretty high up in the realm of living choreographers. Trained , at the great Martha Graham School in New I York and partner of the erstwhile, sadly late.
I grande dame. Cohan is best known in the UK as the founder Artistic Director of London Contemporary Dance Theatre (LCDT). Now in his late 60s. Cohan has only once made a full-length ballet —
I Dances of Love and Death — but is revered for a number of one-act contemporary works including Cell (1969), which are now studied as part of school dance courses across the country.
Usually ballet companies use Mendelssohn's Dream score, but in true. § collaborative LCDT style. Cohan is adding § music by Barrington Pheloung. the composer of 50 dances who shot into the public eye with his Inspector Morse music and the score for i the film Truly Madly } Deeply.
Galina Samsova, Artistic Director of The Scottish Ballet. heralds the project as a
milestone in the company's development, because of the challenge that ‘the innovative combination of Cohan's contemporary style with the classically trained dancers‘ will bring.
,' (Tamsin Grainger)
‘ A Midsummer Night '3' Dream. Theatre Royal. Glasgow. Fri 1 9—Sat 27 'Mar and touring.
45 The List 12 ———25 March 1993