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Nocturnal emotion: Donal D’Kelly in Catalpa - The Movie
If you‘ve ever burned to tell a story and blown it in the telling. take a few tips from Irish writer/actor Donal ()‘Kelly. His latest piece. ('urul/m 4- ’l‘lte Movie is his third solo show. one of whose I themes is storytelling itself. Based on the true story of(ieorge Anthony. captain of the .»\merican whaling ship ('u/ul/m. which liberated sis l’enian prisoners from a penal colony in Freemantle. Western Australia in [875: but it’s given an extra layer of urgency by its present-day narrator Matthew Kidd. a would-be filmmaker convinced he can make an epic movie from the l story. After failing to interest Hollywood. Kidd rehearses‘ The
(ireatest Movie l’itch liver Made. rc- enacting the whole yarn with jttst a bed and a sheet for props. I
‘The story ofthe ('(tlulpu was just an amazing adventure story. but on ' another level it throws up the complex l nature of heroism.‘ says ()‘Kelly. ‘Anthony was a Yankee - he had no I Irish antecedents at all. Historically. heis portrayed as going for purely altruistic reasons. on a human rights basis: but ljust couldnit buy that completely. l think there had to be other. more complex reasons.‘
As ('qul/m ~ The Movie reveals. Anthony was no saint. For one thing. his heroic rescue of the Freemantle Sis did rather stretch the terms of the crew's contracts. l’aid according to the number of whales they killed. they found themselves dragged halfway across the world in pursuit of Anthonyis ambition.
As for the ambition of cinematic wannabe Kidd. ()‘Kelly reckons it says something about him and his national character. ‘The idea of somebody going around with this enormous idea in their head strikes a chord with me —- I spend most of me life going around with huge ideas in me head: and the idea of success arising out failure -that‘s a concept we‘re very familiar with in Ireland.‘
Not too familiar to 0' Kelly. though. His acting career reaches new heights this month as he hotfoots it to (.‘annes Film Festival. where The lim in which he co-stars has been entered for the main competition. Dublin to Cannes via (llasgow now there's an epic journey. (Andrew Burnet) Cum/pa —- The Movie. lx’ml Kettle Then/re (inn/may. Arr/It's 'l'ltmlre. Glasgow. 'Iiw 7—bit! // May.
unprepared, they face a futile class
: Husky business
‘When I first read the play in 1993, I thought it was excellent — really funny’ says Wooley. ‘But as a first
. show, I knew I could never have got
away with it because it was too wild.’
Since then, however, BLT have
received positive reviews for their
Gaining confidence year by year, Sarah Wooley, co-tounder of Big Like Texas theatre company, has finally seized the day. Her chance to pole-axe a great British hero is here at last.
Better known for Humans In Britain, Howard Brenton approached his earlier play, Scott 0! The Antarctic, as an extremely black comedy, which
; finds Scott and his motley crew , accompanied on their famous sortie
south by the Devil and God, plus respective Sidekicks. Hopelessly
and Empire-ridden disaster, helped or hindered to varying degrees by these
Going south: God helps Scott plan his route
debut Kennedy’s Children and its
; follow-up Talk Radio; and Wooley has
worked at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre as assistant director of Endgame and The Trick Is To Keep Breathing.
‘I contacted Howard, and he has been very helpful,’ she says. ‘Apparently the play hasn’t been performed since it was first staged on Bradford Ice Rink. From that huge space, we have taken it to practically the smallest in Glasgow [the Citizens’ Stalls Studiol.’
Continuing a long-standing
collaboration, this production features design by Susan Sloan and Mark Dawes, collectively known as
Concrete Dog; and there’s an original score by Alan Scobie. With Captain
Dates in high heels and Scott played by actress Helen Devon, don’t expect
conservative nostalgia to equal the ' sum of these diverse parts.
‘There is a suggestion Dates never said, “I’m going outside . . . I may be
some time,”’ says Wooley in a cutting
footnote. ‘The only person who mentioned this was Scott, and he was writing for posthumous publication.
l Another source even suggests he
urged Dates out of the tent.’ What a complete rascal! Tell me more. (Paul Welsh)
Scott 0! The Antarctic, Big Like Texas, Citizens’ Theatre, Tue 7—Sat 11 May.
: Fancy witnessing a parade of high and
low life, prostitutes, hustlers and thieves? It may sound old hat to anyone who’s slammed three tequilas too many, but Glasgow School of Art’s
Threepenny Opera looks destined to
educate all remaining tee-totallers in
the building early in Mayfest.
Drawing on talent from Glasgow and
j Strathclyde Universities, the Royal
Scottish Academy of Music and
Drama, Scottish Youth Theatre and
GSA, this major student collaboration . has no precedent in the city.
According to producer Katherine
Mansell-Moulin, there was a simple reason for tackling Brecht and Weill’s
' decadent, politically charged jazz
musical. ‘It’s a shame people are not really
1 brought together, with so many related
art and theatre courses in Glasgow,’
Q she explains. ‘When I first became involved in student theatre here, I
found it was all very insular, and the standards were quite low. In every aspect of this production, we are
looking for professionalism — from costume and set design through to
Set in the mid 19th century, the show reflects Brecht’s concern for the individual struggling with an oppressive state. Layered on top,
’ 4,. Pretty as a Peachum: Susan McNaught In The Threepenny Opera
however, are a quality soap and Weill’s masterful score. The story follows the antics of two outlandish criminals — always ready to burst into song as they compete for power, women and cash — and their bright entourage. With a stark, monochrome set topped by metal walkway and flamboyant costumes, there was always the possibility this production could turn into a cattight between aspiring luvvies. How does a producer deal with so much young talent creamed off and concentrated on one stage? ‘Everyone is being treated as equal,’
says ManseIl-Moulin. There are no
prima donnas here. We are just getting on with rehearsals and having a good time.’ With an eight-piece professional jazz band providing artillery, that could be bloody bawdy
brilliant. (Paul Welsh)
The Threepenny Opera, Glasgow School of Art, until Sat 4 May.
0n the Right’s track
Period of change: Salus Popult Suprema Lex
Chaos theory and conspiracy theory agree on one thing - anything that can happen will happen. Take MlS‘s infiltration of the BBC. If you control the media. you can manipulate public opinion and why would the Powers That Be not want that'.’ In .S'ulus Pupil/1' Supremu l.('.r. self-confessed ‘lefty' playwright Tom Kempinski suggests the Powers That Be have long been
. alert to such possibilities. ‘Let's just
say there's one chap in the BBC who
has a little view s has a vet.‘ he says. Sir/us l’n/m/l .S'upn'mu l.('.v means ‘the
highest duty of government is the
; welfare of the people‘. and was widely
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used in the mid l7th century. when (‘romwell wrested power from the monarchy. and established a flawed protoype of modern democracy. ‘If you look in constitutional law books.‘ says Kempinski. ’the biggest chapters are about that period.’
In the play. Kempinski takes key figures from the period and places them in a modern television studio. where their motives can be scrutinised. The thrust of his argument is that the rights painfully won at Naseby have been steadily eroded since the emergence of Thatcher and the New Right throughout Europe and America. ‘After the War. the general ethos was . fascism was horrible but now the war is won and that can never happen again. In the last ten years. the right wing has really come on. I mean when I was in France last summer. l.e l’en increased his vote from l5 to 20 per cent.‘
Kempinski‘s mention of France is significant. For fifteen years he suffered such acute agoraphobia that he barely left his house. Sultry l’upu/l. . . is one of twelve new plays he‘s poured out over the past two years. in a renaissance which marks the beginnings of a recovery. ‘It was the first sign of a change of direction for me.‘ he explains. ‘because they‘re all different. In the past. it was mostly my psychology —- and now there's this eruption. it's all kind of things.‘ There are indeed major developments between Kempinski‘s best known play
the intense psychiatric drama Duel For ()m' A and Sir/us l’npuli . . .. and Big Brother is unlikely to appreciate them. (Andrew Burnet)
Sit/us Pupil/1' Supra/nu Luv. Actual 'I'limIre/SIrul/n'lytle 'I‘lwulre (iron/r. Rants/tum Thea/re. (ilusgmr. until Sal // .l/(l_\'.
20 The List 3-16 May I006