Guns ’n’ poses
When Sean ()‘Casey wrote The Slim/(Hr a] (t (ill/mum in I922. Ireland was as volatile as it‘s ever been. The Easter Rising had taken place just six years earlier. and the country was in the thick of Civil War. sortiething some might argue is still the case. The first part of his Dublin trilogy — which also includes Jmm Am! The l’uyt'm‘k and The Plough Am/ The Stars - .S'lmrlmr focuses on Donal Davoren. a tenement dweller with literary aspirations w ho allows himself to be rotnanticised by the other tenants into a heroic figure on the run from the British Army.
‘lt‘s very funny and very sad at the satne time.‘ says the play's director Jon l’ope. whose new production for the Citizens' Theatre is the last of the trilogy to play there. ‘It talks about big issues in a highly entertaining way —- something you can see from its structure. which is nearer to vaudeville than any kind ofclassical structure. When it first played at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin it didn‘t really have the same explosive impact as the other two. largely I think because unlike the others it is actually a fiction. It‘s not a documentary based on real events.‘
liven so. Abbey proprietor and literary propagandist Lady (iregory wrote in her journal alter the first night that. ‘all the political points were taken up. with delight. by a big audience.‘ A far cry from her supposed comments -- now as much the stuff of myth as any Irish
Sean O'Casey: no romantic ideas about violence
legend -— when asked why the play was only allotted three nights instead ofthe customary six. that they were ‘only putting it on to let the poor fellow see how bad it is.‘
The tragic consequences that ensue in the play expose the dangerous folly of dilettante dalliance with violence. echoing the playwright's peaceful nature. ‘()‘(‘asey was a member ofthe lrish Citileiis‘ Army.‘ says Pope. ‘but he left once they took up arms. I think this comes through in the pacifist tone of the play. whereby this romantic idea
of violence is created in people's heads.
but the actualin is a lot more horrible. and a whole lot sadder.‘ (Neil Cooper) The .S'liurlmr Ufa (iunmun. (filizwts' 'I‘llr'ulre. (I/usyrm'. I‘ll ()~.S'ul 28 ()('l.
mm— Out in the evening
Change of roles: alter his wrenching King Philip in Don Carlos, Giles Havergal is back in the director’s chair.
Noel Coward was one of the 20th century’s most celebrated figures, and his work is still performed around the world; yet his last full-length play, A Song at Twilight, has been largely ignored for almost 30 years. Now the Citizens’ Theatre is staging a production, directed by artistic director Ciles Havergal.
Coward made his farewell West End appearance in the leading role in 1966, and Havergal cites his bravado performance as one reason for the
play’s neglect. But who better to revive the play than the Citizens’ company, which has previously staged numerous Coward plays, including Private Lives (twice), Blithe Spirit and The Vortex, which enjoyed success in London’s West End. ‘He has become something of a house playwright,’ admits Havergal.
A Song at Twilight is one of Coward’s darker works: the story of an aged, gay author who has managed to hide his homosexuality from an unforgiving world. The play is seen by some as closet autobiography but llavergal sees the homosexual issue as a minor one. ‘It’s actually about privacy and the invasion of privacy,’ he says.
The production is being staged in the 120-seat Circle Studio: llavergal confesses that this is his first project in the small theatre since it opened in 1992. ‘The play is more suited to a small space,’ he adds.
The cast includes Robert David MacDonald and Roberta Taylor, both Coward veterans, having appeared n the Citizens’ Private Lives in 1984. But the mood of A Song at Twilight is quite difterent, as Giles Havergal explains. ‘All the characters break out and say what they really think. In a Noel Coward play, that has terrific surprise value. The play has a valedictory, autumnal flavour about it, which is very touching. The comedy is still there, it’s just tied to something a little more profound.’ (Siobhan Donneﬂy)
A Song at Twilight, Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, Thurs 5-Sat 28 October.
International Festival at University Theatre 1995
Artifact Theatre Company (Morocco) The Palmist
Tue 3» & Wed 4 October 7.30pm 536/3 tconc)
The University oi Athens (Greece) .
The Theatre at Paris Takopouli‘s
Thu 5 & Fri 6 October 7.30pm Ste/3 (conc)
Lithuanian Academy oi Music and Drama ‘
The Mask and The Asylum Sat 7 & Sun 8 October 7.30pm 96/3 (conc)
we ‘4' - o' ! : ".. \ u .I. . . -""~. 1" M
I ’ i .. ‘o y". - ‘9‘» ~ '-£ ’ o g " ‘. * Mﬂfigsvjv' U
. _ ' I V ‘ 3O MidlahfStreet, Glasgow, G1 4PR Tel 0141 221 9736
Wmllllllllllﬁ’ A PLACE WITH
7 v w g V ‘ BY A'l‘llfll. ""5 l 1’3 FUGARI)
FUNNY, (ITDRII’IEIJJNG Scotland on Sunday A 'I‘IERIKIFIC Blilfl‘ 0F ENERGY The Observer
TUESDAY 3—SUNDAY 8 OCTOBER 8pm 0141 552 4267 or 0141 227 5511
63 Trongate Glasgo
The List 22 Sept-5 Oct I995 57