l i z
v new PLAY
3 In its 27 years, Mull little Theatre has i always made for a decent novelty
g tourist attraction. With a capacity of
g 43, it’s the country’s smallest
; professional theatre, but even so with i Mull boasting an indigenous population of only around 3000, the
company has to rely on tourist
? patronage to sustain its summer
calibre regardless of subject matter, but also by attempting more to reflect the interests and lifestyle oi the community of which they are a part for a good percentage oi the yr.
This policy extends to their touring repertoire. In previous years the company was led out by iounders Barrie and Marianne iiesketh on I pseudo-evangelistic forays to England , to lure converts back ior the rep ; season. liow they resume touring with i Tom McGrath’s Laurel and Hardy and i for Glasgow audiences The Teuchter’s E Tale by llorman Malcolm MacDonald, a : bi-Ilnguai play endemic oi the desire I to speak to a Gaelic audience as much ; as a more cosmopolitan one, in which
liae Smith has previously designed for Theatre
de Complicite g
2 for example, children’s drama ; workshops. ‘It’s very difficult in a :
A Midsummer Night‘s Dream is a play about magic which has had a mystical and memorable effect on theatre designers down the years. in the 1970s there was Sally Jacob's bare white box. with actors on stilts and trapezes. and last year Robert chage had Oberon et al gambolling through a vast vat of mud at the National.
‘Those particular productions were zietgeists ofthe time. and if theatre is anything at all it‘s the articulation of ideas.’ explains the designer of the Royal Lyceum‘s production. Rae Smith. What she has in mind for the Lyceum production remains something of a secret. ‘l won‘t describe what it is technically because it destroys the effect, but it‘s the method of being able to disappear on stage that gives us a great advantage over ﬁlm — you trick the mind into a world of magic. And that’s what the elastic does.‘
Smith's career has stretched in some interesting directions since ﬁrst herjob as a scene painter at the Citizens‘ Theatre. Time spent working in Ljubljana‘s Mladinsko Theatre. the Haiyuza Production Company in Japan and studying theatre in Indonesia have provided her with a host of inﬂuences and techniques which she freely draws
7 on. ‘Plagian'sm is never a problem.‘ she
says. lfelastic has been used before to ‘avoid a girly way of portraying fairies’
seems doubtful. but for someone who‘s
worked on Theatre de Complicité’s The Visit and Kurosawa's Dreams the resources of the imagination can be rich indeed.
lfthis sounds intriguing (‘bong/slap. it gives an incredible dynamic for actors coming onto the stage‘) then Kenny lreland will be giving an illuminating talk about the conception and design of the play and holding three acting mini- masterclasses on a free student open day. This subtle marketing ploy to get more young bums on seats is being held to launch the Lyceum‘s new Wednesday student standby scheme — best tickets for £4! So spring along to that. (Stephen Chester) A Midsummer Night's Dream, Royal Lyceum. Edinburgh. Fri 22 Oct—Sat 13 Nov. Also Theatre Royal. Glasgow, Mon 15—50! 20 Nov. Student Open Day Wed 27 Oct 2—6pm. Student Standby from 6pm.
: Alisdair McCrone, ‘and for many years,
However, in recent years the theatre has been making more concerted 3
efforts to woo the islanders through, small rural community to shake off a 5 reputation,’ says Artistic Director
I think the theatre was seen as having very little to do with the community. I
think that now we are starting to be
, more oi Mull, rather than on Mull.’
by employing two basic criteria. One,
This Mull little Theatre is achieving
by simply choosing material of proven ;
; holding on to itself,’ says McGrone,
' and telling itself about that as well as (Fiona Shepherd)
; Glasgow, Sat 23 Oct.
a television crew arrive in a Gaelic community intent on interpreting their culture from a woman’s viewpoint, only to discover the locals making their own cultural exploration through rehearsals for a community play.
‘lt’s all about minority culture
‘giving a good idea oi its own identity, telling the outside world about it.’
The Teuchter’s Tale, Arches Theatre,
ilush, shush, whisper who dares, .ilmeoin is having a kip. iiever let it be said that the life oi a razor-sharp Australian-based Irish comic and singer trying to break the lift cabaret circuit is not an arduous one. Last night it was the appropriately-named Gheltenham Pillow Talk club, tonight it’s Deny 0ctoberfest and a chance to 3
catch a Van Morrison gig. ln-between shows, Jimeoin’s body is telling him to ,
catch some horizontal repose. ‘The tour’s part oi a slow process oi i
building up the profile,’ he yawns, ‘lt’s ; 5 been going well, but I’d tell you that I anyway, wouldn’t I?’ Since selling out i
the whole oi his Edinburgh Fringe run, the disarmineg frank Jimeoin has 3
restructured his show slightly, :
breaking up his discursive, slyly witty
‘ quite so taxing on the brain that way.
or just plain daft material into two forty-five minute chunks. ‘lt’s not
it’s asking a bit much to get people to concentrate for 90 minutes at a
With the prestige of rave reviews for
usness Edinburgh behind him, and the current! national tour being sponsored by ! prolific TV production company Hat- Trick, Jimeoin could be forgiven for believing it’s all about to happen for him in Britain, to the same degree that it has already happened in Australia. llot so. Sitcom hell does not loom large on the horizon. ‘Time will tell, but hopefully I’ll be doing some TV in the future,’ he snooees. ‘Mind you, the only reason I do TV is just so I can get people to come along to stand-up shows. l’d rather build up the stand-up profile first rather than get on TV straight away and have people asking “Who the fuck’s this gun”)
With half of young liew South Wales currently shacked up in Earls Court signing op for pantos, Jimeoin shows an admirable determination to remain based in Australia, returning here every so often to up his llli profile. Meanwhile Jimeoin’s body clock is telling him it’s now going on 3am in Sydney. Time for bed. lmn.
Jimeoin plays Glasgow 0ld Athenaeum and Edinburgh Music Box on Saturday 23 October.
Jimeoin in rare moment of conscio
What do you do when you‘re a playwright but you also like the idea of breaking down the old theatre job descriptions that you believe stifle the creative process? in the case of Lee Gershuny. you invent your own sub~ genre. Jazz Theatre. says Gershuny. ‘structures a creative tension between the freedom of improvisation and the limits of prepared texts.‘
Thus for The Cafe of No Tomorrows. her new ‘ double-bill for Edinburgh- based The Elements, Gershuny has written a script that has been specially designed to make space for the free- form digressions of the actors and musicians in the company. ‘This is the ' ﬁrst time l've tried anything like this.‘ says Gershuny who is also directing. ‘and it's the same for the actors and musicians. So we‘re all discovering what is the best way to work. finding intuitively that each scene needs something else. it‘s a bit unnerving because i can't do what i did before.‘ -
As director, Gershuny feels the need to act decisively. but as collaborator she needs the ﬂexibility of staying open. ‘lt‘s like taking an extreme or a complete position that puts you at one end of the rubber band and suddenly you‘re all over at the other side.’ she says. ‘What happens is that you‘re somewhere in between.‘
The two plays. observational comedies. Too Much Is Not Enough and The No-Need Need. are about romantic relationships hampered either by the inability to love or by the inability to express love. ‘The script is a minimalist dialogue with space for verbal improvisation as well as music and movement.‘ says Gershuny. ‘The topics are suggested by what hasjust been said. the actor irnprovises her inner thoughts that she has ' experienced in a written. structured dialogue. it requires that she tunes into her own words and thoughts. just as a jazz musician may take off in another direction in a solo.‘ (Mark Fisher)
The Cafe of No . Tomorrows, Theatre I Workshop, Edinburgh. , Thurs 28—Sat 30 Orr. .J'
The List 22 October—4 November 1993 57