v NEW PLAY '
PAINT WHAT you on
Of all the small companies that forge minor miracles out of little or no resources. Wiseguise is not only one of the most prolific, but also one of the most pertinent, forsaking glitzy showrnanship for gritty, unsentimental text-based work. its latest production, Jimmy Murphy‘s Brothers ofthe Brush, was picked up at a Traverse reading after premiering at Dublin‘s Abbey Theatre.
‘It’s ultimately about self-preservation.‘ says director Jim Twaddale about this story of three Dublin housepainters, “and how when the chips are down it‘s every man for himself. The further we get into it in rehearsal the more complex it becomes. The small space in the Citizens’ is perfect, because there‘s all this conflict which the audience will be right in amongst.’
Writer Murphy was himself a housepainter, so he certainly knows what he‘s on about, which is more than The Guardian did when it named him one of the top ten British playwrights, disregarding his Dublin pedigree and thus proving that cultural colonialism is alive and well and living with the liberals.
Wiseguise‘s lrish connections have been accidental so far. though the company is keen to continue them, with member Kenneth Glenaan currently directing for Dublin-based Calypso Productions. visiting Scotland with another new work. Trickledown Town.
But for now, Brothers Of The Brush is the main priority. ‘lt‘s very relevant to now,‘ says Twaddale. ‘ln the low-wage economy Thatcher left us with, industry‘s being decimated more and more, so skills aren‘t valued anymore. They‘re not even treated with contempt. They‘re just forgotten about.’ (Neil Cooper)
Brothers of the Brush, Citizens' Theatre. Glasgow, 11 Oct—5 Nov. Trickledown Town. Traverse, Edinburgh, 12—16 Oct; Cartier Theatre, Glasgow, 18-22 Oct.
Fingal of fun
Strathclyde Orchestral Productions ls a Glasgow-based company founded in 1989, with a remit to ‘integrate musicians with special needs and mobility problems into a professional environment and give them a chance to develop their skills.’
Recently, it has developed a knack of bringing out the atmospheric depth in the music of Scotland’s most popular groups, first with its imaginative reworking of The Blue Nile in Another Walk Across the Rooftops, which took music from their two albums, transposed it to a cabaret setting and treated it with the golden voice of Michael Cannon. The latest project is taking Runrig’s 1983 album Recovery back to its Celtic roots and hearing it resonate round Fingal’s Cave for the musical comedy Fingal’s Recovery.
‘The idea came when l was out at Flngal’s Cave on a boat trip round the lsles,’ says writer, director and founder-member Gordon Oougall. ‘l was in the cave and it just came to me. I thought “imagine people living here”.’
Fingal’s Recovery does just that: Fingal is the leaseholder but his cave
Runrig the stage treatment has been home to some Celtic soul brothers for centuries. When he decides to sully the environment by introducing crass mod cons and Thingummyiig-style musical outrages, his tenants protest, preferring to cleave to their spiritual roots. The traditional Celtic strains of Recovery form the soundtrack to this musical civil war.
‘The play represents all the intrusions into the isles and the injustices that have been caused,’ says Oougall. ‘lt’s basically saying there’s nothing wrong with progress - it just has to be in the right place.
‘At the same time, it’s taking people who have problems in society and reversing the polarity. Fingal and his entourage, who physically look normal, are strange - and the people who would normally have the problem
integrating into society are very much -
the norm within the cave structure. So in a broad-based way, it’s about the integration of Strathclyde Orchestral Productions.’ (Fiona Shepherd) Fingal’s Recovery, Fruitmarket, Glasgow, 10—15 Oct.
; Whole works
Oonna Rutherford, a hit with Bad Girls ; festival audiences in the spring with Ochone, returns to Glasgow as part of
! performance invasion, the flieuw ; Eccentrics.
j Where Ochone was an assured, l humorous, sensitive and self- : analytical contemplation of the human g condition, The Whole Truth, Nothing But, extrapolates from personal experience a sense of the wider facets of human identity. The fusion of traditional folk and modern funk sounds, performed by four musicans from Turkey, Bosnia and Flemish Belgium, forms the basis for Rutherford’s exploration of the significance of nationality and culture in our personal identities.
The perfonner’s open, personal, philosophical style is promised to us undiminished. For all that her canvas has In some respects been widened, the search for our group identities within the new Europe would seem to begin with Rutherford herself.
Glasgow-born, bringing work from
Belgium and working with musicians
from cultures which have been
_ ; marginalised in different ways in i the self-proclaimed Dutch and Flemish '
European terms, Rutherford, though her CCA residency, offers us an opportunity to re-appraise Scottish identity and its European role. The week after the first performances, further shows with four local musicians, performing alongside those from Rutherford’s Massa-donia company, will bring to the piece new and expansive musical and personal influences.
Through cross-referencing and cross- breeding art forms, Oonna Rutherford holds out the promise of a new and ' accessible angle on national and cultural identities which should cut through the parochialism and petty patriotism that surrounds so much of what passes as Scottish culture. (Mark Brown)
Oe Hele Waarheid, fleits Anders (The Whole Truth, Nothing But), CCA, Glasgow, Fri 7—Sat 8 and Frl 15-Sat 16 Oct.
mutin- Hell hotel
., g 3 rs»: Israel's Tmu-ffa updates Ovid Tmu-Na Theatre, the acclaimed Israeli company which has relished its position as the country‘s only ongoing Fn'nge theatre group since its foundation in 1982 by Nava Zukerman, is often ascribed the blurry accolade of ‘movement theatre‘, but this is not a definition favoured by its artistic director.
‘lt’s mixed; it‘s everything,‘ states Zukerman, speaking from her studio in Tel Aviv, which doubles as a shelter in wartime, and where she is currently rehearsing her company for the forthcoming Transit Hotel — noisily. if the background bustle is anything to go by.
‘In theatre most people attack through the sentence,‘ she says. ‘We start physically but it‘s not just about movement; it‘s movement that comes out ofthe emotions inside the word or the sentence. We‘re not training as _ acrobats and dancers. lt‘s physical work, movement by human beings.‘
The versatility ofthe company‘s style means it can communicate specific meaning with its work, as opposed to just an emotional sensation. inevitably Tmu-Na expresses the experience of living in contemporary lsrael.
On paper Transit Hotel, which is previewed at the Tron for five nights before its official world premier in Manchester, sounds very similar to the cornpany‘s 1988 production As The Piano Plays, which also passed comment on the state of the nation through a love story.
This time the love story which takes place at the eponymous hotel has been inspired by Ovid’s myth of Orpheus and [juridich with the hotel signifying a world in stasis, like Ovid‘s Hell. The story concems a group of people who, nineteen years previously, were subjected to an ambush and occupation by Palestinian guerillas, an ordeal from which they have never really recovered. it takes the liberating effect of the flourishing love between two newcomers to release them.
With this son of format, Tmu-Na is in a position to pass some sort of comment on its society and present it to the world at large, but as Zukerman warns. 'we are not political theatre — we are httman theatre with questions, not answers.‘ (Fiona Shepherd)
Transit Hotel. Tron T heatre, Glasgow, [9—23 Oct.
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