784 ' ' ii! i1'-‘.'i’.'.'ii


Spirit of Mayfest Award Winners 1993

by Roy MacGregor directed by Iain Reekie

Museeiburgh Brunton Theatre 3 - 4 June. 7.30pm

Paisley Arts Centre 5 June. 8.00pm

Irvine Magnum Theatre 7 June. 7.30pm

Aberdeen The Lemon Tree 9 - 12 June. 7.30pm

Edinburgh Traverse Theatre 16 - 20 June. 8.00pm

"Stunning...eloquent. provocative, with great acting" - The Herald

"Plays as varied. intense and thought-provoking as this are

rare and should not be

of population c0untry of The 1966)

missed” The Scotsman

Full details from 041 - 331 2219

Traverse Theatre Company


Stuart Hepburn : "excellent...painfully funny" 5‘5‘ The Independent =+ Until 13 June £7 (£3.50) U840 £1


Fresh air

‘Mlsmatched characters, power games, lies and truth, deceit, sexuality, violence, modern times, society today, Americana . . .’ Yep, it’s Oxygen Iiouse again, describing the concerns of their current double bill ‘The Cellar’ and ‘Iiattlesnakes’.

it’s the sort of material - ‘the darker stuff’ as director John Mitchell refers to it - which has become associated with Oxygen House. The company was originally founded by a group of under employed actors who perionned lunchtime shows at the Iietherbow Theatre. The performances, rehearsed rapidly with very little money, gave rise to the highly individual Oxygen House style; minimalist sets and an interdependence of light, sound and acting. Despite the success of the shows and the company’s growing reputation for slick, hard-hitting theatre, it wasn’t until the acclaim awarded to ‘lied King iiising’ at the Edinburgh Fringe that their fortunes began to change for the better.

There then followed a two year hiatus brought about by John Mitchell’s soiurn as Associate Director at The Traverse, after which funding for various Oxygen Iiouse projects fell through. A despondent Mitchell then, ‘made a very quick decision to do a double bill as a profit share, to see what the response was and what sort oi audience we could get. If these productions go well then I think we’ll

reestablish the company - the things it does are unique.’

Since their previous shows at the old Traverse (now known as Stepping Stones) were sold out, he appears pretty confident of the future, with tentative plans for a series oi Oxygen liouse classics. The new writing they’re now performing comes from the pen oi Lance Flynn, author oi ‘The Oorrn’ and ‘inferno’. The other half oi the bill, ‘Iiattiesnakes’, is scripted by experienced radio playwright Robert Oodds, and is set at a gas station in the Arizona desert: a challenge which will doubtless give rise to some very impressive technical effects. (Stephen Chester)

Tho Collar and Rattlesnakes, Stepping Stones, Thurs IO-Sat 19 June.

Pit step

‘SOOO feet down and it was like the set iii; oi Allen or something. When we got to

the coal face, there was only about

three feet oi space. The conditions were really bad and it was nothing like I’d expected.’

Olrector Martin McOardie and four actors from Wiseguise Productions

égiii have just spent a day down

MAYFEST HITS 7:84 PHOENIX 16 - 20 June


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Monktonhall pit. All in the name oi pro-rehearsal research, they explored the huge dark network oi tunnels, got coal dust under their fingernails and soaked up the dripping, thundering atmosphere of the pit-

The play is The Out, by miner turned writer Mike Oullen. Commissioned under the Tron’s mentoring scheme, It’s a chilling, thrilling but brutal response to the romanticised depiction oi the miner. ‘Aithough plays have been written about the mining industry, this production is bang up- to-date as it’s set eight years after the miners’ strike,’ McOardie emphasises. ‘Mike Oullen said that every dramatic depiction oi miners he’d ever seen painted an unrealistic picture oi some kind oi brotherhood, united In their struggle towards social advancement oi the mining community. Iiis experiences In the 70s and 80s were very different. There were a lot of close friendships and dedicated

if??? individuals but he found almost every

aspect of working down a mine

revolved around a power struggle of some sort.’

The Out focuses on the character of Salter who returns to the pit after eight years spent in prison. locked up for murder, after a piece of concrete is dropped from a bridge on to a passing car during a strike, he is bitter, angry and intent on finding the person responsible for his father’s allegedly accidental death. Set in the warren of a mine, the situation becomes explosive and only one of the four characters remains alive at the end.

Iising music and sound effects to evoke the pit, the production is carried by the strength of Cullen’s script. ‘ilnderground the miners’ language is complme different from overground. They insult each other and swear all the time,’ McOardIe says. ‘The dialogue is very pacy and full of, em, colourful language. When we were down the mine, we realised It was like a civilisation all of its own with its own language and code. Some people are really important underground and innocuous overground. The mining Industry will never be in a “happy ever after situation”, and The Out shows just how destructive the whole thing has been.’ (Beatrice Oolln)

The Out, The Tron, Glasgow, Tue 15—19 Jun and on tour.


. Fast cash ..

Iain McAleese as Mike in Sires! A Wee Bit Oi A Force

There was a time when West Coast social dramas equated all too painfully with histn'onic diatribes about the state of the State and the daily difficulties of people who seldom went to the theatre. Nowadays the bitter pills of social comment are delivered in far more palatable terms, with even 7:84’s protest against the poll tax being presented as a comedy staring Una MacClean and Russell Hunter.

And now there's Giros -— A Wee Bit Of A Farce. Strathciyde Theatre Group's contribution to the controversy on Welfare non-provision. outlined by director Susan Triesman: ‘There are these two young couples who are living on the dole and one of them has got a job on the side and is being investigated by a born again fundamentalist fraud officer from the DSS. in order to get out ofthis she invents a whole lot of stories . . . and then one of the couples starts to think that the other lot are having a sex change?

Things aren’t what they used to be. and the influence of Dario F0 is to be felt in almost all stratas of current political playwriting. The author, Martin McNaughton was himself once an employee of the DSS fraud squad, and working from the dictum ‘write what you know‘ later began work on his first full-length farce. Doubtless the absurdist logic of the claims system assisted him in the complexities of comedy plotting. but to find out just how he managed to work in the ironing board, condoms and bananas (which he promises are prominent features of the play) you’ll have to see the show. (Stephen Chester)

Gims A Wee Bit OfA Farce. Ramshom Drama Centre, Glasgow, Mon 7—Sat 12 June.

50 The List 4—17 June I993