Lust for life;
Ambitious new Scottish company‘ -~
Colour Clinic won’t shy away from the challenges of a ‘difficult’ Latino text, as Neil Cooper discovers.
When Shared Experience toured Maria Irene Fornes‘s The Danube to Glasgow last year, it introduced Scotland to the work of a unique and complex playwright revered the world over. Everywhere except here that is. where the Cuban New Yorker is considered an enigma. Now. with Colour Clinic’s production of Lust. we're seeing for the first time a homegrown company brave enough to immerse itself in Fomes's strange and beguiling world.
The Danube is notable for its linguistic daring and precision. no doubt a result ofthe fact that English is Fomes’s second language. Lust continues in this adventurous mode. moving from a relatively straight opening into an extended. doolally dream sequence and beyond. This is no Oz-like fantasia though. and no-one's about to burst into spontaneous singalongs
of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow‘. Rather. Lust is a dark exploration ofthe primal forces that motivate us '
all. Or something like that anyway. because Lust is a complex text to say the least. and might not immediately appeal to Scots audiences weaned on frothier fare.
But director Morven McLean doesn’t see total understanding as being of prime importance. ‘With a conventional play. people always want to ask what it's about. but this is a completely unconventional play being done in a completely unconventional production.‘ she argues. ‘Fornes deals with subjects rather than narrative and storytelling. She sets up lots of questions but doesn‘t necessarily answer them. So
S'I‘lil’liAN ii liRVllil.
In living colour: Martha Leishman as Helena in Lust
there isn't anything for the audience to understand as such. lnstead. it‘s more of an experience.‘
A new company founded last autumn. (‘olour Clinic
looks set to be ‘an experience‘ in itself. McLean‘s c.v. includes l’oland‘s State Theatre School in Warsaw and Chicago’s legendary Steppenwolf Theatre Company. and her ambitions reflect these wide-ranging influences. In setting up the company. she has adopted a bold approach which for want of a better word we'll call multi-media. it's a clapped~otit. much abused. catch—all phrase. but Colour Clinic seems set on restoring a little dignity to it. By
blending artistic disciplines outwith the standard theatrical framework. McLean aims to create a whole far greater than the sum of its pans — actors. musicians. designers and dancers.
‘l wanted Colour Clinic to be much more fluid than just a theatre company.‘ she says. ‘l prefer a broad spectrum with no boundaries.‘ To this end an exhibition of paintings and photographs by company members Lucy Ross and Stephane Erviel will run alongside Lust in the Traverse bar. while other members plan on hooking up with local literary terrorists The Yellow Cafe in an event sponsored by Regular Music. which runs throughout this year's Edinburgh Fringe.
Music plays a big part in Colour Clinic's ambitions for world domination. Electro-acoustic composer Simon Atkinson has weaved into 1.1m a soundscape
‘With a conventional play, people always want to ask what it’s about, but this is a completely unconventional play being done in a completely unconventional production.’
as diverse as the text. with woofers. tweeters and all manner of lli-iCCh hi-fi in the Traverse studio for optimum effect. ‘l‘m interested in the different sensory experiences audio and visual arts create and how they relate to each other.‘ explains McLean. ‘ln Lusi. for instance. you‘ll be able to see the music. It‘s not just there for crappy scene changes but is integral to the plot.‘
And the plot. as already mentioned. is a difﬁcult one. McLean would much rather be provocative than pay lip service to the tired old notions of a Good Night Out. "Theatre should be about more than that.‘ she says. ‘Basically. i think people need to go back to their own imaginations and start looking outwards instead of inwards and asking why all the time. That way i think they‘d be freer and more receptive to things. it's your instincts and desires that get you through life. and if you kid yourself it‘s not then you’ll never be happy.‘ (Neil Cooper)
Lusi. ('o/nur ('li/It'r‘. 'l'rurerse Theatre. Edinburgh. l‘ri 30 June—Sui 9 July.
W; I All stitched up ?
' 1‘} changes involved.
' Frankenstein, the monster he creates and Frankenstein’s friend. There are, he concedes, some quick costume
As with previous projects, Inglis
currently touring the UK. So far, he says, audience reaction has been favourable: ‘l’ve received a positive response from people of all ages.’ During a lengthy career, Inglis has
‘iiob Inglis has succeeded where the might of movie moguls crumbled.’ So said The Scotsman in 1980, when Inglis brought his stage version of Tolkeln’s classic The lord of the Rings to the Edinburgh Fringe. The same might well be said of lnglis’s new show, Frankenstein. The honor genre has had its fair share of adaptations recently, especially on the big screen; but even Kenneth Branagh would be hard pushed to shrink Mary Shelley’s sprawling novel into a one-man show. Inglis has done so, compressing the list of characters to just three parts:
Masked emotions: Rob Inglis in Frankenstein
adapted the play himself, sticking as closely as possible to the original text. The set is minimal: a backdrop, designed by Hilary Vernon-Smith, evokes the Alps and Orkney, and the only props are a table and chair. The show is directed by Duncan Law, who
admits that the biggest challenge was . posed by the monster. ‘We didn’t want a creature with wires hanging out of
its head; more a misshapen assemblage of human limbs,’ he explains. Inglis is keen to make the show as physical and exciting an experience as possible, which seems to be paying off. Following a premiere in February, the performance is
lent his booming voice to productions for both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre, and has now created eighteen solo shows, including Jekyll and Ilyde and Churchill at War. Alongside his annual international tours, he has established a reputation as something of an institution on the Edinburgh Fringe. He won’t be performing at this year’s Festival - so catch Frankenstein while you have the chance. (Siobhan Donnelly)
Frankenstein, Rob Inglis, Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh, Fri 30 June-Sat 1 July.
The List 30 Jun-l3 Jul 1995 55