mansi- lenz in focus

Andrew Pulver talks to director Philip Prowse about the Citizens’ contribution to the International Festival.

A triple dose of Jakob Lenz forms part of the strong German presence at this year’s lntemational Festival: The New Menoza and The Tutor are being given rehearsed readings by London’s Gate Theatre. while Glasgow’s Citizens Company are mounting a full production of what critics consider his

best work. The Soldiers (first published

in 1776).

Rarely performed these days, Lenz's work presents some basic problems for producers. ‘The Soldiers is a play l’d meant to do for a long time,’ explains Citz’ director Philip Prowse, ‘but it’s difficult to do without extra funding mainly because it needs twenty actors, which means a large financial undertaking we couldn’t normally provide. The Edinburgh Festival is paying for it, and they asked for something Enlightenment. We talked a bit about doing a Schiller but it's not

Philip Prowse directs .imtob lens in the Citiaerrs’ welcome return to the if

only a case of what will go in Edinburgh, but what will go in Glasgow when we bring it back here.‘

it’s a bit of an arcane distinction as to which 18th century German will make for the broadest audience appeal. Prowse admits that a recent revival of Lenz’s The Tutor at London's Old Vic didn't succeed. ‘But.’ he says. ‘The Soldiers is a much odder piece a real curiosity. i really don’t know whether audiences will warm to it however, it has a very sympathetic and interesting central character, and certainly the people working on it are pretty intrigued.’

And so they should be. Born in 1751, Lenz was the Jimmy Dean of German Romanticism, completing a handful of acclaimed plays before succumbing to a nasty brain disease at the age of 3 1. His brief creative life was devoted to emulating Goethe and helping to crystallise the Sturm und Drang (‘storm and stress‘) movement, which revolutionised German art and directly paved the way for European-wide Romanticism. Sturm und Drang took its stand against rationalism and neo- classicism, turning to folk heroes and visionary inspiration in a search for spiritual regeneration.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that Lenz has survived as a significant figure: he and his contemporaries proved to be direct influences on both Expressionism and the exponents of epic theatre (from Hauptmann to Brecht). in a rare moment of volubility, Prowse explains this in dramatic terms. ‘l think he was trying to reproduce the exact surface of life, with the odd juxtapositions and coincidences you get. He was also trying to reproduce the conversation of real people in moments of crisis, who don’t have very large vocabularies or very full forms of expression. In that sense he was way ahead of his time.’

I The Soldiers (Festival) Citizens’ Company, Royal Lyceum, 225 5756, 31 Aug-4 Sept, 7.30pm; 2.30pm (l. 4 Sept only), £6—£15.

Tiger b the tail y

‘i ieei that the I Ching is still relevant today because it’s about the rules oi nature which are essentially the same as they always have been.’ Karen iiall, Artistic Director, and iellow members oi Streets and ilivers Dance Company, havetaitenthebooiroitheichingas their stimqu ior Treading ilpon The Tail iii The Tiger.

The book is ‘an oracle divining the inture’ through chance, and has inspired artist over many years, the most iuous oi which must be American John Cage. it was with the seminal choreographer Merce Bunan that he iuxtaposed composed music alongside independently created dance on the verynightoitheshowtoseewhat connections would appear by chance.

llailaudhercompanyusethelching asiuspiratiuuiermovementmotiis

which will be both set beiorehand and

lmprevlsedwlthonstage-chanceis an important eiemeutinthemdting andthe perierming oithesirow.

Street and llivers consist oi iour dancers (including iiall) and a musician who has composed a new score ior Treading . . . Formed in 1990, the company works collaborativer using dance and martial art as their raw materials. They iound a lot oi movement stimulus In the text oi the I Ching and that was their starting point. ‘Phenomeua move irom one place to another - wind moving over a mountain brings rain, iills a late, runs down the mountain,’ explains liall, ‘and there are associations with how human beings respond In certain

.situations-seior exupie water

might represent danger. it plunges downwards, iills up the spaces it movesinte, butalwaysmovesonand ilnds a way oi escaping that danger.’


You do not need an in-depth knowledge oi the I ching to appreciate the show. (in the contrmy you are positively encouraged to make your own connections between what you see and your own experience. ‘Audieuces oiteu think they must understand something special about dance,’ says liail, ‘but there are no words so they must rely on the language oi the human body which is actually a very good communicator. The understanding is on a much more instinctive and intuitive level.’ (Tusin Srainger)

Treading on the Tail oi the Tiger (Fringe) Street and liivers Dance Company, St Bride’s (Venue 62) 30 Ms- 4 Sort. 7-30”. ‘28 (£3)-


Five more potential hit between six and eight, selected by Mark Fisher.

I Fools Paradise Showcase One night only for three hours of Fools Paradise’s finest comedy. On the bill are Canadian funsters Corky and the Juice Pigs, the freewheelin' Phil Kay, rhythm 'n‘ rhymer John Hegley, socialist satirist Mark Steel, deadpan Norman Lovett and loads more.

Fool ’s Paradise Showcase (Fringe) Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 228 I404. 30 Aug. 7pm, £12.50 (£10).

I Bill T. Jones The second of the ElF’s American dancers brings across an exuberent and imaginative production that is coloured by his experience of AIDS. Grace and strength with a contemporary political charge. See Feature.

Bill T Jones/Arnie Zance Dance Company (Festival) King '3 Theatre. 225 5756 Sat 28—Sun 29. 7.30pm; Sun mat 2.30pm, £5—£l8.50.

I nEither Either Botil - and Last couple of days to catch the sublime charm of the choreographed beauty of the Gandini Juggling Project. Technically brilliant, philosophically deep, visually captivating.

nEither Either BotH - and (Fringe) Gandini Juggling Project. St Bride ’3 Centre (Venue 62) 346 1405, until 28 Aug. 6pm. £5.50 (£3.50).

I The Broken Jug Subtitles provided for Thomas Langhoff’s German production of Heinrich von Kleist‘s 1808 broad courtroom comedy about legal scandals and bureaucratic hypocrisy. Performed by Berlin’s Deutsches Theatre.

The Broken Jug (Festival) Deutsches Theatre, King’s Theatre, 225 5756. 2—4 Sept, £6-£l5.

I John cooper Clark Back to reclaim the 011' haircut title from Charlie Chuck, the original Northern English punk poet.

John Cooper Clarke (Fringe) Fools Paradise. The Music Box (Venue 50) 220 4847. 30 Aug-4 Sept. 6pm. £6.50 (£5).

The List 27 August—9 September 1993 33