Lindsay John is back on the scene after a two—year break. Ellie Carr
finds out what he’s up to.
I‘ve just stepped off Sauchiehall Street and into the world of Lindsay John. Fresh from two years oftime out ‘gathering thoughts and working as a waiter’ — he‘s now back on the performance scene to which he's devoted a good part of his life. Watching him sitting here in the top studio at the CCA —- so totally immersed in his work —— it's hard to imagine him
doing anything else.
‘l‘d been in Scotland for about ten years experimenting and pushing ideas — always working on the basis of poverty. I realised I had to stop. step back from it all and ask myself how I could go
further with tny work.‘
The new Lindsay John is noticeably changed. Celebrated for his solo works. he now says performing solo has been ﬁne. but it‘s almost no longer a challenge. ‘Here the budget is small so there are only two performers, but I‘d like to build up to a situation where there are six to eight people
performing. That would be a challenge.‘
The new piece is based on improvisation. John refers to it as a ‘living event.‘ ‘l‘ve come up with a very clear structural idea. Movement from myself and dancer Centli 'l‘empleton: musical score by MP. Lancaster; video an by Peter McCaughy; voice by Jane Marie O‘ Brien — all these elements will run in parallel with a common structure that unites them.‘
I refrain from saying. ‘So you‘ll be making it up on the night‘ — and of course there‘s a lot more to it than that. Two weeks before the show John and Templeton already have a strong idea of how they want the piece
to look in performance.
‘All my work is very visually orientated.‘ Lindsay says. ‘I see dance as a kind of sculpture in motion.‘ It comes as no surprise to learn he has trained in both painting and sculpture. ‘The last person I want to know about when 1 dance is Lindsay John. I use costume and colour to change the body — to get rid of the public self— to try and tap into something more primal.
At this point John brings up the subject of the Japanese art form Butoh. ‘I don‘t call my work Butoh. but a lot of people like to label it that.‘ he says. looking at me out of the corner of his eye. ‘I get guidance. direction and courage froth Butoh. ()ne of the things I have learned from it. is not just to see dance from the perspective of the human body; human emotions; human relationships — but also in terms of substance. animal. insect. tree. spirit —
anything. I think this lacks a lot in dance.‘
‘We‘ve lost a lot. People used to dance more: when someone died. when a baby was bom. for the seasons and so on. There‘s very little dance for celebration
Pulling out a CCA publicity flier. I read from the top ofthe page. ‘Lindsay John — A Dance of Defiant Celebration.‘ He laughs as he explains. ‘l've been pressured to cotne up with a title, but that's not it. When I talk about celebration in this country I get a very dour response. People ask. “What do you have to celebrate when things are so tough?“ What I‘m saying is you can do it as an act of deﬁance —- you can dare to celebrate.‘ He may not have a title for his piece. but he‘s sure as hell got attitude.
Lira/say Juli/1. ('C'xi. (I/usgrm; l’ri 29um1 Thu/1; 30
marm- Goal-den days
Is it a passion play of two halves, lasting 90 minutes regulation time (plus thirty minutes for those die-hard Govan teddy bears)? Well, yes. Follow Follow might be the much-coveted recital of Glasgow Rangers Football Club’s121-year olticial theatrical history, but as actor/director Jonathan ‘Wattie’ Watson points out, this is not just a bigoted Glasgow kiss in response to the Celtic Story at a lew years back.
‘llah, Follow Follow is of interest to anyone who supports a tootball team lrom Cowdenbeath to Stenhousemuir,’ says Watson. ‘lt’s about the history
various decades, providing backdrops
Marseilles came a devoutly-
that every club has, and this is just our version at Rangers.’ From an original luncheon in
researched script of triumph and tragedy. Watson’s Wizards are aided and abetted by David Mclliven’s atmospheric accompaniment and video-slide screen lootage from
and storylines to 121 years of fervour and controversy.
‘Only three at the cast see the play as single characters all the way through the play,’ says Watson. ‘Ihe rest of us are tans and legends such as MacPhail, Gillick and the Mclleil brothers who founded the club. It was their wish that Rangers should always be a big club aiming tor the top. We deal with the highs and lows of that
' journey, including the religious bigotry
which I think has been somewhat tempered in recent years.
‘Graeme Souness came here to break down the barriers. He told the story of former Celtic manager Jock Stein who, when invited to sign two boys of equal talent, would always choose the Protestant, as Rangers wouldn’t sign the Catholic. Graeme tried to end that and I think it’s testament to him that the supporters have reacted to the signing of Marseilles delender Basille Boli, who is of course black and Roman Catholic.’ Either that, or Bali is the only current Hangers player to lift the European Cup and likely to remain so. Is that a sending (oli)ensive statement? (Philip Durward)
Follow, Follow, King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Fri 29 Jul—Sat 10 Sept.
48 The List 29 July—ll August 1994