Dangler: man at work
Javier de Frutos: at play with his ding-a-llng
Some people have a problem with Javier de Frutos. But let’s not heat about the bush — the problem lies more precisely with his penis. For de Frutos, a dancer, dances naked; and one critic was recently so thrown by his wiggling willy as to suggest that the least he could do was adopt a lock-strap to spare the audience ‘the unimpressive movements of his penis’.
But Javier de Frutos is only too happy to tackle such criticism. Being starkers on stage is neither rude, nor aesthetically upsetting, nor exhibitionism with an eye on pulling publicity. ‘lt’s the most neutral costume,’ he argues. ‘The dangly bit is lust like the zipper or a seam somewhere in the costume.’
For live years now, the Venezuelan- born, London-resident de Frutos has been exposing the implications ot nudity. ln Transatlantic, his latest solo dance work, the play ol light on his body otters occasional respite from his ‘dangly bit’. Yet there is a political aspect to his bare tlesh. For de Frutos, the tact that some are still bothered by nudity is more than a tritle worrying. ‘What I tind most extraordinary is that a tamin can watch a Schwarzenegger tilm, but when it comes to nakedness or sex scenes and that passion and intimacy, lt’s “let’s get the kids to bed”. It’s the levels ot acceptance that l tind very hypocritical.’
In Transatlantic, de Frutos dances to Styne and Sondheim’s Gypsy. A musical charting the lite ot stripper Gyspy llose lee, tor de Frutos it’s an all-time classic. ‘I love it,’ he enthuses. ‘It has a sense at Greek drama. You can almost taste the blood.’ But in de Frutos’s dance solo he draws on time spent living in New York as choreographic inspiration. ‘lt’s not descriptive; much more about the emotions I had there. It’s very raw - sometimes beautilul and sometimes quite tragic.’ As to the possibility of wearing an outtit of any description, de Frutos is adamant: ‘lt’s naked emotion - it would be hyprocritical to dress it up with a costume.’ (Susanna Beaumont)
Transatlantic, Javier de Frutos, Tranway, Glasgow, Fri 15/Sat 16 Ilov.
As yet another two 19th century novels find their way onto major Scottish stages, Marc Lambert queries their directors about the subplot behind this literary success story.
These days it seems that the old Darwinian adage ‘adapt or die‘ applies to more than jtrst evolutionary biology. Take the theatre and the cinema. which in recent years have seen a plethora of adaptations -- of classic novels. that is. What started with Jane Austen on stage and screen now seems to be snowballing. gathering up Dickens and other old favourites in its momentum. All this. of course. is popular with the public. and it pays. But is it in itself such a good thing'.’
‘Let‘s be clear — the most important thing in the world is to do new plays. there's no question about that.‘ says Michael Rudman. former director of the Traverse 'l‘heatre. who brings Chichester Festiver Theatre’s acclaimed production of Austen‘s Mansfield Park to the King's Theatre. Edinburgh this fortnight. ‘At the moment. I'm involved with three new plays.‘ he continues. ‘but if you do dip into the classics and work with that fabtrlous language and indeed with the plots. which are very solid. I can't think that it‘s wrong. It must inform your work on modem plays - you regenerate and educate yourself. and not only that but the audience too.‘
A similar point is made by Sue
WNW ' H Ph
l’omeroy. whose Good Company brings Dickens‘s Ilunl 'Ii'mcs to the Theatre Royal. Glasgow. But Porneroy also acknowledges that the current \ogttc for literary adaptations comes from an overall budgetary crisis. 'thn the chips are down it‘s clear that one of your biggest names has got to be an author like Dickens or Atrsten. l was at an international conference in (llasgow a few years ago dealing with where the theatre was going in the new century. and while all the Europeans were talking about artistic issues. the British contingent just talked about the problems of funding . . .
‘l'd love to do more new work.‘ she adds. ‘but you have to look at what's happened to the budgets that support new writing and also whether the audience will support new plays.‘
So there it is in a nutshell: the theatre reflecting society at large. But neither director seems disheartened. Hun! 'Ii'mz'x. insists l’omeroy. is as relevant
\ ’ u.
llip Madoc as the repulsive Bounderby in Hard Times,
and Good Company’s Manstleld Park today as when it was written. dealing as it does with the evils of untrammelled capitalism and an education system gone wrong.
For R udrnan. the central question remains the issue of quality. of what rings true. As he notes. in typically feisty fashion: ‘Let's put it this way -~ there aren‘t any scenes in .llunsj/ie/(l l’urk (perish the thought) where there's a naked man on top of a naked woman and you wonder - is she pretending to have this orgasrn'.’ That‘s what I saw on TV last night. and you think — why are they doing this‘.’ So you see. people may be tired of simulated sex and violence. or they may not be. But certainly they are interested in something different. and Austen is different. What she offers is superb langrrage and emotional truth.‘ (Marc Lambert)
Hard linu’s. 'I'lu'um' Rnyu/ (I/(rxumr'; il’lllll.Y/l(’/(l I’urk. King's 'l'lrr'utre Ifr/inlmrg/r. lint/r 'I‘m' I‘)--.S‘ur 23 Nov.
Time for action
Marisa Zanotti is not ot the hair-bun and lilac leotard school oi dance. Rather, the Glasgow-based choreographer and director of Anatomy Performance Company aims to push back the boundaries, bull- dozing traditional notions of dance. Though Anatomy’s latest ollering 16/17 is a multi-media altair, Zanotti stresses its minimalist style.
Inspiration tor the piece came from a scene dealing with time in Anatomy’s Maytest hit, Runner. ‘l was keen to explore how the passage at time alters our perception of things,’ explains Zanotti. Taking the words Demolition, Mutation and Evolution as a starting point, the company then set about applying these themes to the body. ‘As we worked, the question posed was “within an environment that’s constantly changing and where support is constantly being taken away, what kind of movement language would the body have to evolve?”
Using lilmed footage at the
demolition of a Glasgow tower-block, and a live score by Philip .leck, time, sound and movement are manipulated to create an imagistic piece, with an uncharacteristically slow pace for Zanotti. Such deviances trom the ‘norm’ have led to arguments that what Zanotti is producing is not dance. Is it? ‘I don’t think it’s important whether it’s dance. It’s important whether or not it’s good choreography and whether it’s good to watch . . . Of course I think it’s dance!’ But Zanotti is all too aware of dance’s potential to alienate audiences. ‘People don’t go to dance shows because they think they’ll be bored, or else they do go and think
Marisa Zanotti: 16 going on 17
“Oh shit, I don’t know what’s going on,” because they don’t know what the story is. But often there’s not a story, it’s iust about feeling and visual impact.’
As tor the future at the Scottish dance scene, Zanotti doesn’t want to see it pigeon-holed away trom the rest of the arts. ‘We’re dealing with the same issues and are inlonned by the same culture and political systems as Scottish art and writing. It’s important that Scottish dance should be viewed in the same way as artists like Irvine Welsh, Douglas Gordon and David Greig.’ (Claire Prentice)
16/17, Anatomy, Tramway, Glasgow, Thurs 21-Sat 23 Ila v.
“The List l5-2‘i Nov l996