in a pig sty and eventually liberates himself. By letting the pigs free he becomes brave. It‘s a play about extremes: from being a coward to being brave. from being a tnan to being a pig. from the stink of the
pig sty to the rose-scented magnificence outside.‘ Enjoying the luxury of being ottt of the on-stage
spotlight. Glenaan says he approaches the job of
directing in much the same way as he would the job of an actor. ‘As an actor I probably bring a practical
reality to the rehearsal rooms. because you know
what actors go through.‘ he says. ‘but from a
director‘s point of view it‘s fascinating. It‘s very enjoyable to be allowed in a rehearsal room and not be an actor; to watch the process that the actors go through. In fact. you learn a lot about acting. The tnain difference is that usually you‘re one of the psychos looking at the director and now you‘re
standing there and all the psychos are looking at you!‘
Mark Fisher gets down in the trough with Kenny Glenaan as he directs Athol Fugard’s A Place with the Pigs for Communicado.
For an actor. Kenny (ilenaan is doing one hell of a lot of directing. As rehearsals progress for the latest Comtnunicado show. he's been sneaking off during his lunch hours to put the finishing touches to his production ofJames Kelman‘s ()Ilt‘. 'lim. Ht'y.’ (now en route to Ireland). his production of 'l'rtt'k/t't/mwt 'Ibwn for Ireland‘s Calypso Productions did the rounds over here last month and he‘s already planning his next l‘)‘)5 production for \\'iseguise. Despite the workload he‘s as unfazed about directing Communicado maintnan (‘terry Mulgrew. star of A Plate with the Pigs. as he was with working with Booker-winner Kelman.
‘l)irecting is a natural evolution.‘ says (ilenaan. ‘l‘m involved in about 2‘) projects and it just so happened that three of them came together at the same time. so i decided to turn down some acting work and go for the directing. But I‘m still an actor who directs.‘
‘Usually you’re one of the psychos looking at the director and now you’re standing there and all the psychos are
looking at you!’
The cramped. circular design of Karen 'fennent‘s set on which the company is already rehearsing is imposing an appropriate fix on the movements of Mulgrew and Ross who becotne increasingly irritated by the constant stench and noise of the pigs. Glenaan was inspired by the idea of the Elizabethan playhouses where the audience was gathered closely around — at one time he even toyed with the idea of having rotting vegetables around the side of the stage ready for the audience to throw when they got fed up. Budgets and regulations have curtailed some of the tnore extravagant plans. but the spirit of the boisterous piece should remain. ‘What l‘tn trying to do is encourage the actors to use their own voices.‘ he says. ‘l want to find the coward in Gerry Mulgrew. We‘ve got to prod into that and stop “acting”. It can be a lot tnore simple and real than that.‘
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A Place with the Pigs: mucky comedy
resonance for the oppressive situation in South Africa. That element will remain. though it‘s not something that (ilenaan is pushing too hard in this production which will concentrate as tnuch on the loud. smelly and nmckily humorous aspects ofthis bizarre story.
Performed on a raised circular stage with the audience gathered round on three sides. the production features musicians Joel Sanderson and Dominic Harris who also have the job of poking pig heads up through tiny trap doors when they‘re not creating a porky cacophpny on a formidable range of instruments. Above the boards. Gerry Mulgrew plays l’avel. the guilt-ridden deserter with a mission to escape. opposite Ann-Louise Ross. his long-suffering } wife. "l‘here‘s no -ist or -ism to the play.‘ says (ilenaan. ‘l‘ugard doesn‘t limit it. it‘s much bigger. it‘s tnuch more universal. It‘s about a guy who hides
‘The main difference is that usually you’re one of the psychos looking at the director and now you’re standing there and all the psychos are looking at you!’
This month‘s project then is a play by Athol liugard. the leading South African dramatist who has played a key role in changing perceptions about the situation of the black and coloured population of his country. A Pftlf't’ wit/t l/lt’ l’fgx is a two-hander based on a true story about a Red Army dcsetter who hid in a pig sty for 4| years. For Fugard. the story presented an allegory of captivity and escape that had a powerful
million years!’ he says. ‘Other people say we’re radical, I don’t think we’ve
ever claimed to be radical. It’s never been our intent to be radical or
revolutionary or whatever. We aren’t in
the mainstream but I don’t think that’s because we’ve chosen that position. Obviously we’d like the facilities and
, the security that the mainstream can
offer at times for certain shows.’
The company may not choose to be
marginalised, but one of the qualities that has helped keep it together for so
long is that it has remained true to the
spirit in which it was founded.
l Collaborative, although not
necessarily democratic, The People
2 Show gives no credit to an individual
; writer or director, responding instead
and couldn’t find elsewhere,’ says Long. ‘It does have an ideological principle, but it doesn’t have a political point of view that it works towards and I think that’s a reason why the company’s still here.’
Show number 100 took as its starting point the death of the jazz trumpeter Chet Baker (a three-second fall out of a seedy hotel window in Amsterdam), though the story has become so abstracted that only the live jazz score now hints at its origins. ‘The show is very non-verbal,' explains Long. ‘lt’s a lot to do with sound, light, video images, music and it takes on its own life. It’s to do with the start of the fall 5 and the end of the fall and to do with a 3 character who enters other people’s
The words ‘experimental’ and ‘alternative’ don’t sit so comfortably with a word like ‘centenary’, but the fact remains that experimental, alternative theatre company The People Show has just notched up its 100th production. Keeping track of the mathematics is particularly easy in the case of this 27-year-old company - its shows don’t get names, they get numbers. Thus People Show 100 wears the company’s achievement for all to see.
50 would lounde'jmembe' Mafk Lfmg l to the various talents of its members. lives.’ (Mark Fisher) '1?" muted ‘0 “"d h'mse" E“ "Us . ‘There is a spirit that we enjoy and a : People Show 100, CCA, Glasgow, swam" 3" those Years 390? "0‘ "l a 3 way of working that we find unique : 25-26 Nov.
The List 18 Novetttbet‘-~l December I‘M-147