mm:— The original neighbours
Peter Jinks talks to Aborginal actress Ningali about her one—woman show.
Ningali first saw a city when she was thineen. The skyscrapers of l’etth. Australia seemed pretty unreal in the eyes of this Aboriginal girl who was born under a tree at Wangkatjunka. and brought up on a cattle station in the Kimberleys by a family of stock hands. She had never seen so many white people.
Fourteen years on. having just arrived from Dublin after a tour of Germany. Ningali can sit back in her rented [Edinburgh ﬂat and say that she found London ‘boring'. Things have changed alright since the days when as a young girl she used to splash about in the river that passed through Christmas Creek. The tree where she was born is now
Ningali draws on Aboriginal rituals and storytelling
fenced off. and the new landowner doesn't take kindly to trespassers.
The show is a mixture of impressions. anecdotes and songs drawn from her life so far. lts subject matter ranges from a year spent in Alaska as a schoolgirl. to the Aboriginal stories and
‘My grandparents taught me a lot.' she says. ‘I didn't even speak English until I was eleven or twelve. l didn‘t know
the imponance of it like I do now. You
rituals she learnt from her grandparents.
see. our days have gone. Our values are very strong still. but when it comes to lighting anything legally. we have to do it through the white system.‘
A seam of politics runs through her set — about dispossession and the invasion ofChristianity — but it's just part of the whole story. For Ningali sees herself primarily as a storyteller. true to the ancient oral tradition of her culture. even though she loves Country & Western. and still does stand-up comedy on the side. She trained professionally as a dancer in Sydney. and to her. dancing and music is a universal language which she uses to communicate with people all over the world.
‘Alaska was the biggest turnaround for me. Interacting with the native peoples there. seeing the way they live in small reservations when they once had huge lands. it made me aware of who I was, and how important it was to preserve our culture. We had a lot in common. Both cultures have a real respect for the land and for the animals. ()ur beliefs too: for some people the world came out of this huge explosion. For us, it was the Serpent.‘
I Ningali (Fringe) Traverse (Venue IS) 228 l4()4. ll) Aug—2 Sept (not 14. 2|. 28 Aug) various times. £7 (£4).
[1112:111— Scottish Actors Studio
Andrew Byatt deserves an Oscar. Or something like that anyway. Since 1993 when he first set up the Scottish Actors Studio to allow Equity members more autonomy, this most down-to- earth at thesps, who played opposite Harvey Keitel in Peter Macnougal’s Down Where The Buffalo Roam, has tirelessly, and almost single-handedly, been organising workshops and events to allow prolessional actors hands-on experience with seasoned troupers. Previous workshop leaders include Ken Russell, Rutger llauer and Alison Steadman, and much at Byatt’s time is spent chasing other such luminaries in order to pin them down to a commitment.
A 880 documentary last year tollowed Byatt as he attempted to collar luvvies’ Iuvvy Richard Attenborough, and a recent trip to the Sundance Film Festival secured a commitment from Robert Redford, so proud was the star of his Scottish roots(!). More recently there’s been a trip to Hollywood that resulted in middle ot the night phone calls from Quentin Tarantino, no less, while messages at support have been taxed
over from Robert (Bob) De lliro.
Workshop leaders tor the Festival series at workshops, funded by the Ramada Foundation, include Pauline Collins and veteran actress and director Janet Suzman, who will lead a text-based workshop working with five pairs of actors. ‘Actors need to get together,’ says Suzman. ‘Any excuse will do, and with a lot of actors out oi work they need to keep in touch with what they do more than ever, or else it’s like a stonemason not having any stone.’
Byatt too maintains the importance of such a unique organisation, and has put his own acting career on hold in
Rutger Hauer leads a Scottish Actors Studio session
order to devote optimum energy to the studio. ‘lt’s a demonstrable tact that in the casting arena there’s a prejudice against Scottish-based actors. Part of the reason tor setting up the Actors Studio is to show ott the talent there is here who sutfer from unfair discrimination in their own country. Yet the whole 01 los Angeles has now heard of the Scottish Actors Studio.’ (lleil Cooper)
llamada Workshops (Fringe) Scottish Actors Studio, Royal Lyceum Studio (Venue 145) Info 0141 227 5004, 13-19 Aug, 10am, £10 (£5) observer tickets only.
Top 0’ the morning to you. Gabe Stewart otters tour oi the cream 0’ the crop, destined to help settle your porridge.
I Storm in a Teacup Intimate Exchanges Theatre Company does an admirable job of making Shakespeare's The Tempest not only understandable. and unpatronising, but also thoroughly enjoyable for 7—l l year olds. Their transported. rapturous faces say it all. Storm in a Tear'up (Fringe) Intimate lire/ranges Theatre Company. l’leasanr'e (Venue 33) 556 6550. 9 Aug—2 Sept (not [5, 2]. 29 Aug) llam or ll.3()am, £4 (LU/£5 (£3.50).
I A Place with the Pigs Innovative Communicado Theatre Company consistently excites the Fringe: in I993 with the visual physicality of The legend ofSt Julian; last year with the linguistic flamboyance of Synge's Playboy. This year Athol Fugard’s tale of an ex-soldier‘s lengthy exile in a pigsty gets the Communicado treatment.
A Place wit/1 the Pigs (Fringe)
C mntnunieado. Traverse ( Venue l 5) 228 I404. 13 Aug—2 Sept (not 14. 2/. 28, 3/ Aug). various times. £10 (£6). I The llon Ground This show has all the essential credentials: written by Fringe First winner Dermot Bolger. and directed by long-time collaborator David Byrne (non-Talking Head). and featuring one of the most memorable women characters of Irish drama.
The Holy Ground (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. [2 Aug—2 Sept, noon. £7 (£6)/£8 ([7).
I Reader This new psychological thriller from the pen of Ariel Dorfman (Death and the Maiden), has a TV company reader checking through an anonymous script of his own life story. Steeped in an atmosphere of veiled threats. Dorfman's demanding script asks more questions than it answers. Reader (Fringe) Traverse Company. Traverse (Venue I5) 228 I404. 15 Aug—2 Sept. variuos times. [/0 (£6).
The List 11-17 Aug 1995 23‘