No means no
Easy: date rape on trial
After a series of high proﬁle court cases in America. the controversial term ‘date rape’ was coined to offer an alternative image to the masked-man cliché. Some suggested that it implied that being raped by an acquaintance was a less serious and traumatic form of attack.
This is the thorny topic tackled in Easy, the latest work by writer/director Nicola McCartney for Glasgow‘s LookOut Theatre. When nightclub singer Rachel ends up alone with her blind date things take a rather ugly turn. and the trial that follows is a test for everyone, particularly when the friend who set Rachel up doesn't believe her.
‘Though it's been dealt with on ﬁlm,’ says McCartney, ‘to our knowledge this is the ﬁrst time the subject's been dealt with on a stage. The play looks at the complications of the issue and how difﬁcult it is to actually deﬁne what acquaintance rape is. let alone get a successful conviction. lt's deliberately ambiguous and we don't come to any real conclusions because we want to provoke people into talking about it and questioning it afterwards.‘
The company spent a year researching the subject. before developing the script during extended workshop sessions, with McCartney at the helm. The style LookOut has developed since bursting out of Glasgow University four years ago is described by McCartney as ‘very ﬁlnrlc’. ‘It allows you to move very fast and to mess around with time sequences,’ he says. Easy also uses music as an integral plot device as Rachel performs her cabaret act in the run-up to the trial.
‘Even though it‘s about this very dangerous issue. it’s also about sexual relationships between people currently in their 205 and 30s.’ continues McCartney. ‘it's an age group i think there are a lot of myths about. We‘ve all learnt the vocabulary to talk about sex that we feel is expected of us. especially since AIDS, but i‘m not sure it‘s necessarily lived out in the same
way. We can all claim to be as politically correct and post-feminist as we like. but in the end a lot of it‘s just ' talk.’ (Neil Cooper)
Easy by LookOut Theatre is at Citizens'
Circle Studio. 16—20 May, then touring.
Playing at home
More rooted in local culture than your average major arts festival, Mayfest has always had a by-the-people — for-the- people aspect. Ronan O’Donnell reports.
Always geared to promoting community arts alongside its programme of international work. this year Mayfest is supporting two local . groups which are trying to stretch T artistic boundaries. At Castlemilk People‘s Theatre. the project in hand is Carl MacDougall‘s new play The Climbing Boy. Set in the expanding i Glasgow ofthe 1850s. it tells the story , of an lrish immigrant family’s degrading struggle for economic survival. The cast is a mixture of seasoned actors and experienced locals who. coached by C.P.T., will earn Equity status during the show's tour. The Climbing Boy is directed by lan Wooldridge. who returns to his community theatre roots following a long spell as artistic director of Edinburgh‘s Royal Lyceum Theatre. Wooldridge sees the distinctions made between ‘professional’ and ‘community' drama asobscuring the commitment that really counts. ‘Drama initiated in the community informs the profession, and the profession has to respond to that,’ he says. ‘Drama isn‘t just about what‘s established or mainstream. The dividing lines are grey; there’s a lot of interchange
between both areas and it‘s got to be a good thing that work from the community extends drama. The difference between working here and at the Lyceum isjust one of location.‘
As Castlemilk‘s writer-in-residence. Carl MacDougall has been closely involved in rehearsals. An established stage and television writer. he sees the move from tutor to collaborator as a natural progression. ‘1 like the idea that people in a housing scheme can turn round and do a history of that housing scheme.‘ he says. ‘lt's not just reclaiming the past but taking your place in it. What attracted me was that the chimney sweep ofthe play was anonymous in the court records i read. He didn't have a name or a voice. We also. like the Victorians. render invisible things that disturb us.‘
in another area of urban regeneration. TRAM Direct. a new community company, mixes professional and community actors to tell the story of the Gorbals from the 1950s to the
Care in the community? CPT‘s The Climbing Boy
present. Writer/director Patti Moore has plundered various archives to create a multi-media show, The Pied Piper (ifHutc/tesmztnu'n. Concentrating on the decanting of one family. it has as its underlying theme the effect of design and architecture on the city's culture. Staged in the dilapidated St Francis's church. a powerful symbol of Gorbals identity. this is an ironic setting for a piece about the impact of social engineering on communities. ‘The play has as its narrator Sir Basil Spence. designer of Queen Elizabeth Square.‘ says Moore. ‘so there is humour. but it's sceptical as regards the ruse of “community consultation". It's in that context that we approach community drama.‘
The Clintbing Ba): Castlemilk People '5 Theatre. Cartier 'I'lteatre. Wed /7—Sat 20 May and on tour; The Pied Piper of Hutc/tesanttmn (and exhibition), TRAM Direct. St Francis Church. Garbals. Wed lO—Sat l3 and Wed 1 7—Sat 20 May.
learning to Trust
Vito Acconci, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Rosemary Trockel and Lawrence Weiner are big names on the international contemporary art circuit. They are names that pop up in student’s essays at probably every art college In the tilt. They are all influential artists yet their work is rarely seen in Britain, never mind Scotland. This however, is about to change.
Trust has been curated by Charles Esche and Katrina Brown along with four young Glasgow artists - Christine Garland, lioddy Buchanan, Jackie Donachie and Douglas Gordon. The intention? To show evidence of an international context for the contemporary (conceptual) art scene happening in Glasgow right now.
The Glasgow artists were invited to collaborate because they have all made installations for Tramway recently. They set down with the curators with no preconceptions or limitations and made up a ‘wish-iist’ of their favourite stuff; the work they’d really like to see in Glasgow. In
the end they get almost all they wanted. and there is work by nineteen artists in Trust. ‘It is not dogmatic, position-taking work,’ stresses Katrina Brown, ‘it shares an element of doubt, awareness of each human belng’s ultimate uncertainty and our reliance on each other.’ Our shared vulnerability is the theme of Cady Iloiand’s adult-sized playground swings and of Rosemary Trockel’s knitted life-belt (The Mystery of Malpica).
This is also a rare chance to see some really classic video work - Stan Douglas’ I’m Not Gary (check this out if you think conceptual art isn’t funny)
mtemationally renowned artist Vito Acconci in his perfonhance-based video Theme Song (173)
and Vito Acconci’s Theme Song where he comes on like he’s trying to get you (the viewer) into bed. lie knows It’s lust a camera he’s talking to, but he knows it’s you too. As the video unfolds, Acconci becomes more and more desperate for real human contact and honesty.
The artists in Trust ask you to get involved personally for a while. If you can suspend your disbelief and let yourself fall into their work you might become more aware of what we share as human beings. (Robert Montgomery)
Trust is at Tramway, Glasgow, 7 May-18 June
20 The List 5-18 May 1995