Youth and experience
in the former Yugoslavia. 25 May was the national day of youth. This year the youth of Tuzla. in northem Bosnia. were celebrating as usual in the tnain square. when the Bosnian-Serbs. using shells with an accuracy of 30 metres. bombed them. Seventy-five were killed.
At the very same moment. a delegation from Tuzla was in Edinburgh forging new cultural links due to begin at the Festival with a display ofTuzlan art and drama. hosted by the Demarco European Art Foundation. In all, 38 participants (including twenty from the youth theatre) hope to show that while the rest of Bosnia-Herzogovena has turned to nationalist parties. Tuzla remains an island of multi-culturalism. as the diverse ethnic backgrounds of the actors confirm.
But the problem is getting here. The youth group Jonathon Livingston Seagull hopes to begin the ﬁve-day journey by bus. in time for its first performance on 21 August. but fear set- backs like those experienced by actress Baisa Bakin-Snajllovic (due to appear with Scottish actress Mary Riggant in Baked Beans for Bosnia). Bakin-
Snajllovic left Tuzla on Thursday but got stuck in Zagreb when the Croatian war broke out. She tried to get a visa on Friday but found the British Embassy
out members of staff were taking shelter in the basement. Twenty-six-year-old youth theatre director Samir Mehanovic (who lost a brother in the conflict) describes their play Fly out of the Cage as ‘avant- garde‘: it takes place in ‘absolute time'.
closed. On further investigation. it turns
After three months oi war-zone negotiations Tuzla Youth Theatre have
ilnally arrived in Edinburgh and characters are derived from Jungian archetypes. When the present is war. ethnic cleansing and massacres like the
| one on 25 May. it-is understandable that
the youth of Tuzla wish to move ahead of their time. Their message is that ‘love and peace are supreme in humanity‘. Let‘s hope they can make it. (Ben Brown)
I Fly out oi the Cage (Fringe) Demarco Foundation (Venue 22) 558 3371.21—26 Aug. l 1.30am, £5 (£3).
Buy Masterson’s totally committed rendition oi George Orwell’s Animal Farm is as essential a warning today as it was 50 years ago. Such is the timelessness oi Orwell’s theme oi political corruption, that uncanny similarities between llie down on the Farm and 90s Britain now echo new political masters. Orwell’s original bearish satirical sketches oi lenin, Stalin and Trotsky are, in the hands oi Masterson, reminiscent oi John Major, and Michaeis ilesaltine and Portillo. Masterson’s vision oi sixteen years oi Conservatism as a slide toward totalitarianism may seem iar-ietched. However, many oi Thatcher’s children probably believe that naive and stupid animals deserve to be shaited ior their revolutionary ideals. The message ior contemporary Britain is clear: peopleget hooked on believing in a cause when they’re at their lowest ebb, at the moment oi their greatest desperation. It’s then that It’s easiest to betray them. This is a timely warning to any iuture Labour government not to make promises they
Animal Farm: Buy Masterson pigs out
Masterson’s contemporary allusions complement the iable: the lying government statistics ring true today; the reierences to increased proiits tor the rich and increased taxes on the poor; the promises oi better healthcare amidst hospth closures. Some puns (notably the piglets’ grunt- maintained school) elicit groans irom the audience, but most oi the parallels have a lightness oi touch, which inevitably lead one to wonder lust how iar away British society is, either
temporally or geographically, irom a
country where terror triumphs totally over reason.
Masterson does one helluva job in physically telling this story oi betrayal and honour, irom the initial hope and glory days oi the animals’ rebellion, to the deterioration toward compromise and corruption. This incredible teat oi storytelling is intercut with the odd contemporary political speech. Such juxtaposition gives the moral iable the immediacy oi an urgent warning. The physical exertion oi his two-hour, one- man tour de iorce leaves Masterson dripping with sweat. I just hope that rich, pebble-dashed-velvet voice can hold out ior the whole run (and yes, I’m sure he must be sick oi it, but close your eyes and you can hear traces oi his uncle Richard Burton).
iialph Steadman describes Orwell’s book as “more correct now in its outlook than it was at the time - it’s all come to pass exactly as it shows.’ But it could never happen here, could it? The nearly iull houses ior this show coniirm that this is the right artiste, doing the right piece, at lust the right time. (Gabe Stewart)
Animal Farm (Fringe) Guy Masterson, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 2 Sept (not 21 Aug) 11.30801, £8. 5027. 50 (£7. 5MB. 50).
Gabe Stewart drags herseli out oi bed at some unearthly hour to dish out iive oi the best shows ior early birds
I Read Movie Godfrey Hamilton‘s play explores gay identity with equal quantities ofcomedy. romance. lyricism and soul-searching. Joel’s up- beat. trans-Am trip. britns over with life-affirming good humour.
Road Movie (Fringe) Starvin g Artists. Traverse (Venue I5) 228 [404. 22 Aug-2 Sept (not 28 Aug ). various times. £ 7 (£4).
I The Mervyn Stutter Thing Mr Stutter‘s variety showcase highlights seven different Fringe shows each day. The format allows Mervyn's talent to shine. while giving punters a chance to judge the companies for themselves. The Mervyn Stutter Thing (Fringe) Pleasanrre (Venue 33) 556 6550. [2 Aug— 28 Aug (no! 22 Aug). [2.45pm. £5 (£4).
I Complete History at America It may not be an all-new, hot-off-the press show, but the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s ‘mother of all history lessons' still takes some beating in the quality stakes.
Complete History ofAmerica (Fringe) Reduced Shakespeare Company. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, 11-28 Aug. noon. [Si/£8 (£8/f7).
I Pasta with Chopsticks Healthy. multi-cultural. all-American Fringe First company providing exuberant family entertainment. This production is described as a sort-of ‘Best of Shoestring' series, which.judging by past form. can't be bad.
Pasta with Chopsticks (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. 11—27 Aug (not 14. 2/. 26 Aug). £5.50/£5 (£4.50/f4).
I Animal Farm Virtuoso Guy Masterson's one man political update on the Orwellian moral fable. celebrating its 50th anniversay this year
Animal Farm (Fringe) Guy Masterson. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. I2 Aug—2 Sept (not 21 Aug) 11.30am. £8.50/£7.50 (£7.50/f6.50).
f.‘ The List 18-24 Aug 1995