Sixties icon: Joe Orton

her since l’epys. diaries haye proy'idcd an outlet for the most intimate of outpourings. many of which would make the straightest hair curl if ey er read. Sonic. though. assured of fame. pen their warts 'n' all wares with a new to posthunioUs publication. l’layw'iight aad (ills icon .loe ()rton was one such diarist. ln prose as pithy as any of his dialogue. he created a dey'iant. hard-nosed image of himself, The title. /)ltll'\' ()l .l Shiite/truly also said much about how ()rton saw himself. Aided by photos that sltll eyolse the period. cocksuie atid \eiging on fetishistic. this image has remained. Hanger. Ses. Dangerous sc\. .‘\ \cry nice bastard.

.\'ot that nice. though. as the fatal hammerblow to the skull deliyered by his lo\ct' Kenneth llalliwell seems to testify,

lligh Tl )oh 'l‘heatre (‘onipany is production of a play based on the diaries seeks to dispel the myths. Written by .lohn l.ahr author of the ()rton biography l’riiA I]: lirur lat/W. llllllL‘tl l‘y Stephen l-rears it's firmly rooted in tact. ‘l spoke to people who knew ()rton.' says director from \Valton. Both Kenneth (‘ianhanr and Sheila Ballantync w etc in the original production of /.mrl, 'l‘liey said he was nothing like how he was portrayed in the 111m. not hard and nasty at all.‘

()rton‘s murderer. though. remained [‘l\'0lill ti! his life. ‘llalliwell taught him e\erything about the classics and literature. and you wonder w hethcr ( )iton could'y e achiesed so much w ithout him ' \\'h.ite\cr. \Valton is clearly a fan: "It would be great to see hun .iliyc and writing now \Vhat he would have made of the 'l‘hatcher years is anybody 's guess iNc‘ll (‘i‘u‘pcl't [)1tll‘\‘()l,l Sonic/truly, High-[lull lj/lt’llll't' (hut/nun. (.Illft II\ [hull/1. lllt’ IJ bill /.\ .\/it\

18 The list 3 ll» .\lay l‘Nh

Blood Ties

Sectarian bigotry on the , terraces is nothing new to Glasgow, but a Belfast— based company offers a . new perspective on 3 Ireland’s north/south l divide, as David Harris 5 finds out.

Walk into any of the growing number of Irish theme pubs and amid the shamrocks and tricolours the chances are you'll hear Van Morrison being played. For the majority of us in Britain. a Belfast Protestant is scarcely less Irish than a Dublin ('atholic. but for the Protestants of the six counties. brought up being told that [Eire was abroad and Britain was home. recognising a mutual culture can be deeply problematic. Such a national identity crisis is the focus of Dubbcljoint Theatre (‘ompany’s xi .N'ig/tl In A’urmrlier. whose title refers to a l‘)‘)3 World Cup qualifier in Belfast between Northern lrcland and the Republic.

llorrified by the display of bigotry at the match. a young dole clerk. Kenneth McAllister. is forced to examine his own attitudes. Dan (iordon‘s solo

performance during which he also portrays Kenneth's family and workmates. a plancload of passengers and the crowd at Windsor Park A takes 1 the character on a physical and

emotional journey out of the strait— jacket of his prejudices. the endpoint of l

l which sees him supporting the

Republic at the liinals in .\'ew York and realising that despite his upbringing he

3 is. after all. liish

Playwright Marie .lones. herself from

? a Protestant lmcls‘ground. has already

made that quantum leap. ‘\\'c were

3 brought tip to beliey'c we were better.‘ : \‘hc admits. ‘lt's ridiculous some of the myths that we grew up with as

l’t‘oteslatits. “c w we told w e w cl'eit‘l

Irish. that we were British. and yet we

Rage against the regime: Dan Gordon in A Night In November

trend in the .\'oth at a titnc when

people were less frightened to Voice

opinions about preyiously taboo

stlltjet'ls lll l’rotcstant ttl‘etls. the

response \aiied horn tearful catharsis to indignant rage political settlement can legislate for

iilwiously. Ito

entrenched indiy idual passions. let

had no affinity with Britain or lingland.

and so were quite lost in a sense.‘

Kenneth .\lc.-\llistci is driyeu by the

need to find an identifiable cultural

heritage. and Jones is clearly speaking

for herself w hen she describes the years of indoctrination that keep so many

from the freedom that such identification offers. ‘You liayc to knock down eycrything you‘ye been brought up with and say. “That was wrong. and it‘s restricted the as a person. it's restricted me culturally." |

. couldn’t inyol\c my self with Irish

music. lrish dancing. Irish literature

and the Irish language. because we

were told all those things were alien and dangerous and subycrsiycf

Written before the ceasefire and performed during it. the play caught the

alone the tribal loyalties suggested by the football analogy

(’ultures can’t be defined sttlL‘l_\ on a iicgatis'c basis. on a sense of w hat counts as different. but for a long time. says .lttlics. lllttl‘s all l'lslet“\ l’rotcstants haye had. ‘I don't know- what a British culture is." she says. ‘Wc were taught the history of the kings and queens ot lingland. but there wasn't anything we could get iny'olyed with spiritually 'l‘he l’iotcstant culture was really just denigratiug alt lt'tsh one.‘ Both communities in Northern lrcland l1a\e more in common with each other than w ith l.ondon or l)ul\lin. but recognising that may be the longest battle on the road to peace. .l .‘yte/I/ /u .\'m ( Ill/ll /; /)Jl/t/’t'//ltll!/

Won/ti. from. (ii/.1 'C Ila ii/H‘.

(Ll/mam. lli'i/X .\i;.'//.\/i1\1

Halt/it flu/iii I’lm/tn Hit/H rilw present Hint/('11 ()1! Nu li i'gt‘ (ll ///\’/: (it/Celts" Ila um; (iiityeoie lit”! /i No: // .l/ttr.

. lNot saving but drowning

The Arches Theatre Company clearly have little belief in selling an

j audience short. The publicity for their

3 new production Blood And Wafer

: promises that the onlookers ‘will be

l swept away by the Flood to the

i furnaces of Hell and dragged screaming to the clouds of Heaven and beyond.’ Certainly gives new meaning

i to the phrase ‘clearing the aisles.’

3 Yet this ambition and authentic

i sensibility should come as no surprise l to anyone studying the Arches’ record. ' l Their 1994 production of The Crucible g was performed on a stage which

i closely resembled a courtroom, with l

the audience huddled together on church benches to heighten the sense a of claustrophobia inherent in Miller’s play. l Blood And Water, meanwhile, has i reference points coming out of its 1 ears. An adaptation of Mystery Bouffe 3 by early Soviet playwright and futurist l pioneer Vladimir Mayakovsky, it is i spiced with soundbites plucked from E the works of T.S. Eliot, Allen Ginsberg

Rowing for life: Blood And Water

' and “LB. Yeats.

However, it is from a modern horror story that the play has drawn its

greatest influence. A recent court

case in France saw a group of Ukrainian sailors on trial for the

murder of eight African stowaways

discovered sheltering on their ship,

trying to reach a brighter future. ‘The irony is that both parties were in

search of the promised land,’ explains Andy Arnold, Blood And Water’s

director. ‘They both drew on their survival instincts and their determination to go on was their way of finding Paradise.’

In Blood And Water, strangers from across the world meet at the North Pole in a bid to escape the floods which are threatening the Earth’s existence. An ark is constructed to aid their search for the Promised Land. 0n the way, some come to grief, while others meet Beelzebub and Heaven’s thunderbolts.

The work is underpinned by a score written by the late Vivian Stanshall of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, who had previously collaborated with Arnold on a play chronicling Shackleton’s expedition across the Antarctic, based on an advertising campaign for the voyage which stated: ‘Men Wanted For Hazardous Journey. Return Not Guaranteed.’

All of this may sound a bit grim, but Arnold is here to reassure us. ‘The audience will be so close to the action that they will feel a sense of danger,’ he says. ‘But the piece is also full of irony and very comical. Hopefully there will be lots of laughing and nobody should get too wet.’ (Brian Donaldson)

Blood And Water, Arches Theatre Company, Arches Theatre, Tue 7-Sal

25 May. A