Meat to the
Flesh: good enough to eat A female student-tumed-escort interviewed in Cosmopolitan recently cited waitressing as her route into prostitution. She received so many leers and innuendos waiting tables that she decided to ditch plate-juggling and make a bob out of being leched at.
The idea of the body as a commodity is the inspiration behind Frantic Theatre Company‘s new production Flesh. Their last piece. Klul). won an Edinburgh Fringe First award in 1995 and Flesh also draws on the young company‘s raw physical energy.
‘After Klub it struck me that we were selling our sexuality on stage.‘ says Spencer Hazel. who wrote both pieces. ‘I thought. let's get offthis moral high horse about this: we all consume or sell sexuality ourselves.‘
Flesh tells the stories of ‘four people taking control of their lives by using their bodies.‘ Two of them make a living out of selling sex. another dabbles in it whilst reﬂecting on the recent death of her father. The fourth both buys and sells. ‘He‘s a rather sad person.‘ says Hazel. ‘He has difficulties having relationships, in fact he “buys” relationships. but at the same time he sells his body by allowing it to be used for medical research.’
Hazel interviewed prostitutes. lapdancers and the manager of a rent- boy agency while researching Flesh. He also drew on his own experience living in France andihe Netherlands t6— examine the complex British social rules around talking about sex. ‘There are so many layers and levels about how people interact sexually in Britain. in Holland there's a greater openness about sex. but there's very little sexual interaction in a social setting.‘
Like Klub, Flesh features a specially- commissioned soundtrack by DJ Andy Cleeton (of The Hacienda, Manchester and Republica, Birmingham), which Hazel feels is important in attracting young people to the production. ‘Young people are deserting the theatre, or just have never got into the habit of going. It‘s important for theatre to create a mirror. not just to tell stories. What we‘re trying to do with Flesh is to lure the audience into consuming what‘s on stage and ask them if they would use their sexuality to get what they want.‘ (Catriona Smith)
F lesh, Frantic Theatre Company.
Cartier Theatre. Glasgow, Wed I 3—Sun
First they were Red. Now they‘re Dead. Sounds like the epitaph for some ill- fated band of revolutionaries. but it is in fact the roll-call of recent works by Edinburgh-based dance company The X Factor.
Springing from the muscles of four sure-footed male dancers. Red catapulted The X Factor back onto the local scene last January. With its snappy soundbite-style mix of fired-up but casual choreography. specially- mixed sounds by Glasgow‘s Goldfiin Productions and comedy moment voiceovers. the show was an instant hit. Accessible. unpretentious and funkin charismatic. it sent a much-needed and sparky ripple through the Scottish dance scene. and more than anything else he‘d ever done. marked director Alan Greig out as one to watch.
Dead — which opens at Edinburgh‘s Traverse before transferring to New Moves in Glasgow — is Red's rhyme- along sequel. It involves a major overhaul in the line-up, still all-male — but with one Belgian and one French dancer snatched from a London audition. an Engliin dancer poached from a recent choreography course and Grcig himself skipping back and forth from director‘s chair to stage as dancer number four. The reshuffle. says Greig. owes more to circumstance than artistic choice. ‘That's the nature of project work: because you‘re not funded all year. people will disappear.‘ With the all-new learn now firmly in place, though. the director/dancer is forging ahead.
Content-wise. Greig appears to be staying with his winning Red streak — taking the key elements of the successful pilot project. plus sizeable chunks of a solo created in (Int Reactions. the choreographic hothouse
sessions during last years New Moves. and distilling them into Dead. ‘We‘re taking some of the same movements and pushing them into new dynamics.‘ he says. ‘Some bits are completely new — but again it‘s all these different sections. each with its own lighting design. music and mood.‘
Also common to the Red formula is the new soundtrack. ‘Again we‘re using (ioldlish Productions from Glasgow -- and it‘s very accessible music.' (ircig reckons. "They've sampled tracks from films like Barbarella. The Day T/lt' liar/l1 Stood Still. the (ills TV show The ('hampimrs. looped them and added other bits of their own.‘
The highly-memorable comic voiceovers from Red — what Greig refers to as his ‘dead letters‘ and hence the title Dead — also get a look in. ‘We‘ve got dinosaur stories. a “What Madame Pompadour Did To Amuse Louis XIV“ story — oh. and Judy Garland again.‘ says Greig. Entirely unconnected to the movement they are. and all the funnier for it. ‘They‘re not important.‘ he says. ‘they‘rejust bizarre stories.‘
Back at the Dead rehearsal studio.
. I Fiﬁ-ﬁg? ..
The X Factor: boys keep swinging pressure is mounting as opening night looms. The four boys are working flat- out to whip the piece into shape. but the real heat comes from the presence of a fifth man. (‘anadian dance-guru. Peter Boneham. Notorious as an inspirational but scarily tough taskmastcr. Boneham is spending a week with The X Factor courtesy of New Moves. carrying through the work developed by Greig and Boneham at (In! Reactions last year
In the absence of an older. wiser dance generation in Scotland — heir apparents have mostly fled South - the New Moves initiative to ship in Boneham as a ‘mentor‘ is welcomed by Greig. ‘He gets me to find totally new things in myself.‘ says (ireig. utterly respectful of the llamlmyant. charismatic 60-year-old. ‘Yes. he can be abrasive. Yes he shouts a lot. But he‘s also very supportive. Without an older dance generation. l think we need that here.‘ (Ellie Carr)
Dead. The X l'Ylt‘lU/Z 'I'ral‘el‘se 'l‘lieatre. Ifdinlno'gh. Fri S/Sat 9.11am New Moves a! 7i”tlllllt‘(l_\'. Glasgow. Tue 26 Mar.
Your average Scottish punter could be forgiven for thinking Spanish dance begins and ends with flamenco. The flood of feisty, heel-clicking shows that have spread their ruffled skirts UK-wards of late — Flamenco Fire, Corazdn Flamenco to name but a few - have elevated the status of modern flamenco, but done little to discourage our tacky package-tour- inspired view that it’s the only dance- form our Latin neighbours have up their puffball sleeves.
Doing their best to combat the image is Glasgows go-ahead European dance festival, flew Moves. There are no less than three Spanish dance companies this year and, while some of them may well have traces of flamenco in their blood, there isn’t a cummerbund or Cuban heel in sight.
Vincente Saez is the veteran of the trio, with three years of New Moves under his belt. His contribution to last year’s festival, Rapfa, was a work of brooding intensity set to minimalist jazz - and all the evidence needed to
point to a flipside in the Spanish dance stakes.
Flamenco, agrees Saez, is undergoing a renaissance, but as he points out: ‘lt’s an expression of popular culture from one part of Spain [Andalucia] . . . but from other parts of Spain there have emerged many other kinds of dance}
Saez’s kind of dance - as borne out by ﬂapfa and his new, spirituality- drenched work Regina Mater takes a
Compania Vicente Saez: carrying out the plan giant leap away from the flamenco tradition of flamboyant hyper- dramatics and a carefully measured step towards a new Spanish theatre of calm, cool, collected and thoughtful expression. ‘What I am looking for,’ Saez says, ‘is some kind of relation between the interiority of the dancer and the movement.’ (Ellie Carr) Regina Mater, Compania Vincente Saez, Thurs 21-Fri 22 Mar, New Moves Across Europe, Tramway, Glasgow
58 The List 8-21 Mar 1996