Couch potatoes

In the beginning was ‘The Couch’ and ‘The Couch’ was good. Said couch gave its name to The Dodgers’ 1988 Fringe show, and rarely was so much surreal humour derived from an item of household furniture. The jokes were from a living room annexe just left of a comedic parallel universe. Six years later The Dodgers, aka Jack Docherty and Moray Hunter, return to the stage for two warm-up dates before a lull ' national tour in May. The couch is still with them, only now that Hunter and ' Docherty are top TV stars, it’s a customised couch. Things get a bit posh when your TV series - ‘Absolutely’ (sketch-based schizophrenic menageries) and ‘mr don and mr george’ (‘The Young Ones’ without the squalor) are rightly acclaimed.

We’ve had and we can expect don and george, anorak-on-the-loose Calum Gilhooley, MacGlashan the rabid jock, and those inbred Stoneybridgers. What about these new characters?

Jack: ‘Who’s been telling you there’s gonna be new characters?’

Me: ‘It says here, on the press release.’

Moray: ‘Oh, must have been us then. We’re introducing the MacDougall Brothers, we think.’

writing the second series of “mr don j and mr george” for Channel 4, having 3 conference blethers on the phone

T under the guise of “being

put a phone in the Tron and we’ll call

Jack: ‘We can’t say too much at this i m- stage. We’re plying the “We’re gonna- unveil-somebody-new” ticket. Also,

we’ve never had a catchphrase, so we’re gonna work on one. Maybe

Dancing to a different peat

people could bring along their suggestions.’

Moray: ‘We’re thinking of having a catchwalk as well.’

Me (later): “Get to Falkirk” Is their catchphrase. Should have thought of that earlier. llever mind.’

Me (now): ‘So you’re just sitting around today, in the offices of your Absolutely Productions, putting off

interviewed”? Jack: ‘Yeah. Maybe we should just

up at eight o’ clock.

Moray: ‘Yeah. It’s just like being in Reo Speedwagon.’ (Craig McLean) Hunter and Docherty, Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 1 and Wed 2.


Tamsin Grainger looks forward to a fortnight of I mixed pleasures in Glasgow’s New Moves.

The third fortnight of the New Moves dance festival transports its intrepid audiences to Quebec and back. Two

I programmes of new choreography frorn ‘; Canada, and one each from British-

meat- Incest

. . g Clare Venables: pressure-cooker ‘lt’s the opposite of a problem,’ says director Clare Venables about the Citizens’ Stalls Studio, the smallest theatre she’s worked in in over two decades. ‘When I was asked to do something here, I offered various big plays that I thought would work pressure-cooked in a small space. And I’ve always wanted to do Oedipus in a small space because of its powerful psychological resonances.’ Venables made her name in the 1970s, running her own theatre by the age of 26 and becoming associated

with a wave of young women directors helped along by the feminist

resurgence of the time. To the current

7 generation of female directors - Scotland’s Caroline Hall, for example Venables is seen as a pioneer who

made a career in theatre seem that

: little bit more possible, even it her

48 The List 25 February -I() March I994

I own recollection is less romantic. ‘By I Crucible my husband and I had ; separated, I had a child and it was the t

first theatre I had run as a single woman. I loved runnning the theatre,

2 I’m a pioneering woman, you just think, I wish there were a few more!’

lyrical and rather po-faced, whereas

punchy.’ So much so, in fact, she has

based artists Fiona Wright and Rosina Bonsu are packed into these two weeks. the time I went to the Sheffield with an informal meeting between the

3 choreographers thrown in for good measure.

Bonsu collaborates with trombonist John Kenny and together they aim to but being a single mother, it was very § ‘caII forward images and tnake them hard. You don’t think, oh, look at me , pungent for people'. This literally 5 involves re-crcating the smell of peat : from Kenny‘s Irish past, as well as building an installation to capture a i particular light and colour frorn ; Bonsu's. ‘John has ordered two

humming tops and came to the last rehearsal with an Alpine horn.‘ laughs

Bonsu. ‘We're wondering how to incorporate them all. We are putting - ourselves out on a limb. We are part of

the Gut Reactions programme and so we are taking risks. We feel we have

been given licence to play.‘

Following in the honourable Citz tradition established by Robert David MacDonald, this Oedipus liex has been specially translated by Venables. ‘Translations of Greek theatre are usually very Victorian,’ she says, ‘very

the orginals are very clear and

found that far from consciously updating Sophocles’ original, simply writing in English the words he wrote in Greek automatically gives them a modern ring. ‘If you go for the heart of what he is saying it is incredibly modern in texture.’ It is also very much in-keeping with the themes she has explored in recent years. ‘What probably motors me most is the relationship between the sexes and the great range in that - the pain, the brutality and the misery as well as the great joy we’re capable of giving each other. The other thing is the connection with the child in ourselves, which is why Oedipus has a central place. The way that our adult lives are governed by the unknown experiences of childhood and so adult life becomes like an unravelling process.’ (Mark Fisher) Oedipus Rex, Citizens’ Theatre,

personal experience. Her background is in performance art she was

of New Moves. during a National

review of Live Art Platform in 19‘) l. Based on Jana/t. which she produced

; last year, Tatar/ting Jmta/t is. she says. ‘more simply about movement and emotions.‘

Actually. the work sounds anything

but simple, but that might have more to

1 do with the fact that the piece isn't finished yet and she's in the enviable

position of having more material than

she knows what to do with. Better than

choreographer‘s block! ‘It‘s about how love and desire are exchanged.’ she

. says. ‘About the subjectivity of seeing.

I give the audience a lot of time and

' space to think their own thoughts. and

i afterwards it will remain in each of our

Fiona Wright also works directly from . . men and the woman. ‘It s as II the

Away from New Moves. V-Tol provides.

some high-velocity action at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre

memories. so it's all subjective.‘ Perhaps subjecting dance to brainy scrutiny is a world-wide trend. certainly all the New Moves performers seem to indulge in it. ‘The performances are theatrical and more intellectually based.’ says Denis Bergeron. agent for the exposure and promotion of young Quebec-based choreographers throughout the world. The choreographers Bergeron works with tend to be inspired by other artists‘ work. Sylvain Emard's full-length 'Ierrttt‘tts Vague. for example. began when he saw the work of Francis Bacon. Afterwards. when he moved to the studio. he used his emotional responses to the paintings to get himselfgoing- ‘turning inspiration into movetncnt.‘ as Bergeron puts it. Translated as Il'ttstet/ Land. 'lerrutns Vugtte uses a story Iimard was told as a child about Iuttiberjacks. Three cnortnous backdrops and 12()() kilos of sterilised soiI help to rc-crcatc the effect of a forest that has been razed to the ground. ‘After you see the performance yott will know w here the story comes from.‘ says Bergeron. “but

' I won't tell you the punchline. You will understand why there is a lot of grief in the Iumbcrjack catnps when you have

Q seen the dance.‘ The performance

consists of a male trio and female solo

and there is no interaction between the

woman represents the spirit of the

‘discovered’ by Nikki Milican. Director

forest. The men don‘t notice she‘s there ;

3 but feel something around them.‘

\"cticl.tlcla-bot'tt Jose Navas was moved to make When We Dreamer! Another Heaven in response to his emotions after the death of a friend from AIDS. The ()uebccois

f choreographers tend to make the dance first and only afterwards find the

music; in this piece. .\'avas uses the Bolero. ‘a vehicle between pain and ecstasy". Elsewhere in the Quebecois

; run. Harold Rheaume‘s [we and

Chum/He are both sensual and attttospheric. while Manon Levac

explores the difficulties in expressing emotion in Sylvain Iimard‘s l’uvmute. New Mot-es. 'I'rmt um/ li'ttttttt‘tt_\'.

(Ilusgmv. 'lite /- .S'ul /9 Mat:

Glasgow, Wed 2-Sat 26 Mar.