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An international company called Zaoum are putting the multi-media into medieval with a new adaptation of Everyman. Neil Cooper investigates millennial morality.
Zaoum was a word invented by the Russian futurists to define a whole make-believe language. Now it's become the name of a new multi-racial theatre company who aim to fuse the epic sweep of promenade performance with the intimate discipline of chamber theatre. To this end. Zaoum. led by director Sulayman-Al-Bassam. have taken the medieval morality play Everyman and dragged it screaming into a late l‘)9()s — oh. alright then. post-modernist — context.
The venue is a smallish car park behind the Fringe ()ffice. As the audience parade through its three levels. they‘re bombarded with grotesque video images frotn advertising campaigns. which portray actual footage of death as an everyday occurence. ‘The original play came out ofa culture literally saturated in death.‘ says Al-Bassam. ‘These days we have access to real violence in real time. yet
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it looks like virtual violence.’
Al-Bassam dislikes didacticism. preferring to put aesthetics first and let arty politics seep through gradually. In this way. he says. the unique three- tiered setting helps. ‘The play deals with what it‘s like to be in a state of purgatory or suspended animation.‘ he explains. ‘So metaphorically. a car park represents a place where people leave things. then go away for a while. If you like it's a kind of urban refrigerator.’
With participants hailing from all parts of the globe. Everyman will not only be a multi-lingual spectacle. but a multi-disciplinary one too. The company are still recruiting a chorus of local performers to widen the
Everyman: a show that works on several levels
company‘s net even further. Potential applicants should perhaps bear in mind Al-Bassam‘s interest in the relationship between the actor and the music — one informs the other. he says. in what he calls a ‘contrapuntal' relationship. ‘We‘re coming at things from different angles. using different forms of language. and on different levels.‘ he says. ‘So people will see that as they‘re led through the car park. till in the end they're left with a polyphony of voices. and the car park‘s become a box of charms.‘ .
I Everyman (Fringe) Zaoum. Council Car Park. Old Fishmarket Close (Venue 74) 220 5606. l9—3l Aug. 7.30pm. £6 (£4).
Mark Baldwin Dance Company
Get Mark Baldwin to talk about his talent tor dance-making and he doesn’t hold back: it's rare, but he’s got it and yes, he knows that sounds arrogant. But it’s otticial. Tipped as one or Britain’s top choreographers - he was awarded last year’s Time Out Award For Dance - Baldwin knows how to make dance.
In one ot tour pieces he’s presenting this year, he’ll be kicking aside the cauldrons and ottering an alternative line on the witch business - conventional coven coverage to be tound in the Fringe’s six Macbetlls - with the premiere at his latest dance
Mark Baldwin Dance Company: boxing clever
Danced to an original score by James MacMillan, Confessions is based on the true story at Isobel oowdie, a 17th century Scottish woman hounded by her witch-hunting neighbours to contess her supposed witchery. ‘It’s the requiem she never had,’ says Baldwin. Bowdie was burnt at the stake.
Moving on up the centuries, Baldwin’s lash- pertormed on altematlng evenings - is a take on the boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston. It’s a titting tribute to the butterin bruiser who declared himselt to be not a boxer but a dancer. Expect the odd tease, though. he may be no entant terrible, but Baldwin protesses, ‘I love taking the piss.’ (Susanna Beaumont)
Mark Baldwin Dance Company (Fringe) Scottish International (Venue 34) 220 5606. Frog 1: Homage, Minors, Confessions, 19, 21, 24 Aug; Frog 2: Lash, Mirrors, confessions, 20. 22. 23 Ms. 6M. £5 (£4)-
I Orlando Even at the ﬁrst preview. Miranda Richardson's performance in Roben Wilson's adaptation was spectacular. Time. gender and mood shift incessantly in a mestneric feast of movement. colour and sound. See review. Orlando ( International Festival) Royal Lyceum Theatre. 225 5756. until 2/ Aug (not [8), 7.30pm. £6-f20.
I Mark Thomas One of Britain's most subversive stand-ups. whose recent humiliation of public figures on television led Sir David Steel to describe him as ‘a disgusting individual’. Quite a recommendation.
Mark Thomas (Fringe) Queen 3' Hall (Venue 72) 668 20/9. 20/21 Aug. 7.30pm; 22Aug. 9.45pm; £8.
I Ba ical Graham Keeping alive the work of Martha Graham. the late lamented doyenue of American modern dance. her company brings two sparkling programmes of highlights from her career. See feature.
Radical Graham (Internatimutl Festival) Martha Graham Dance Company. Playhouse. 225 5657. 18—21 Aug. £5—t‘22.
I Elsinore Robert Lepage is back. and this time it‘s Danish. With his unique mix of maverick invention and hi-tech tomfoolery. Canada's theatrical hero presents ‘variations on Hamlet' with only one actor — himself. Weird. yes. but as Lepage himself puts it. ‘you can't make a Hamlet without breaking eggs.‘ Alas. poor yolk.
Elsinore ( International Festival) Ex Maehina. King 3' Theatre. until Fri 26. 7.30pm. [CS—£20.
I Dealer’s Choice Superb black comedy about gambling. winning and losing. written and directed by Patrick Marber for the Royal National Theatre. whose excellent cast maintain poker faces while dealing the laughs. See review. Dealer Is C hoiee (Fringe) Royal National Theatre. Fringe Club (Venue 2) 226 5/ 38. until 28 Aug. 7pm. £8.50 (£7.50). '
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The List lo-22 Aug I996 35