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House hunting

Brazil‘s theatrical dynamo Denise Stoklos reveals the foundations of her work.

Playing house is a game girls (and boys) get into from an early age. Some, however, end up doing it for life, buried beneath a hi-tech, soon- past-its-sell-by-date mountain of household appliances. Others chuck the baby out with the bathwater, call the whole thing off and bask in the new-found freedoms of an empty space.

It's this back-to-basics approach that Brazilian actress, writer and all- round whirling dervish Denise Stoklos explores in her latest work, which uses the one-room scenario as a metaphor for the clutter-clad state of the human condition in a capitalist consumer society in the run-up to the end of the century. Phewl Heavy or what?

As anyone who saw Stoklos's last Edinburgh appearance in Mary Stuart will testify, the weight of ideas is leavened by the sheer emotional power of Stoklos’s performance. Her latest solo show is the last of a trilogy in a repertoire Stoklos calls Essential Theatre.

'lt's about getting to the positive energy,’ says Stoklos on the line

from New York, 'and using the body, voice and mind,

fusing them into one.‘

There seems to be a Zen notion of emptying out at play here in both theme and process, and a sizeable spiritual element is made flesh via the pared-back purity of Stoklos’s expression, which forsakes swanky lighting effects in favour of her own human tools.

‘You know,’ she says, 'We only use 10% of our minds, and in whatever fields we work in we need to express

Denise Stoklos stages her own festival fridge in Casa

ourselves to our full potential. For that we need to

become free in every way, in our spirituality and our



Playing Burton

They were the most famous couple in the world, but what really fascinated their nephew was the big car With the

emotions. We need to get away from everything that's trivial, and to get in touch with what we are here for. Casa is apparently about one woman's attachment to all these things, but is really about a whole gender trying to survive at the end of the century.’ (Neil

I See Hit list, right, for details

electric WIOdOWS. Guy Masterson, who IS directing the tribute show Playing Burton, remembers. ’I knew his Wife was Elizabeth Taylor, but I was too young to understand. They came to pick me up from school once all the

Josh Richards in a reflective moment as Richard Burton

faces pressed against the WllIdOW. As far as I was concerned he was JUST my uncle.’

Masterson’s family he makes this one- man portrayal of the life of Richard Burton all the more pOIgnant. A further connection IS between the director and actor Josh Richards The two were roommates in student days Hi Cardiff, when Richards's obsession With Burton was already evudent. They lost much for years until Masterson came across a half-torn poster for Burton starring Josh Richards. ’I thought, “Bloody hell -— the guy's still impersonating himl'”

Burton was driven by an incredible desire to be great, but ll seems he was never able to reconcile his success wrth his working class roots, 'What we have attempted to show is that behind every genius there is an ordinary human berng,’ explains lvlasterson. ’We all have our weaknesses. Why should anyone be damned for them7’ (Rodger Evans)

I See Hit list, right, for details

H it list

Earthquake Weather Innovative Transatlantic theatre group with a Fringe First already under their belts premiere their new show exploring love in America. Earthquake Weather (Fringe) Starving Artists, Traverse Theatre (Venue 75) 228 1404, until 30 Aug, times vary, £8 (£5).

Casa From Brazil, an extraordinary performance artist who was in the running for a Fringe First at her last appearance. Twenty million years of human evolution crammed into a woman's daily domestic rituals. Casa (Fringe) Denise Stoklos, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, 8-30 Aug, 1.30pm, £8I£9 (£7/£8).

Latin! He might not actually be Oscar Wilde, but Stephen Fry is a writer of rare wit and timing. This prep-school play is his first dramatic offering to be seen on the Fringe. Latin! (Fringe) Counterweight Productions, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 9-30 Aug, 7.30pm,

13‘ 6/f 7 (f S/f 6).

A RIGHT rOYAL VARIETY GALA EVENING Renamed after legal advice, a loosely-plotted ramble through such delights as the Pat Butcher Acting Masterclass and an escapologist who escapes from his own mind. A RIGHT rOYAL VARIETY GALA EVENING (Fringe) Lovely Plays, The Honeycomb (Venue 139) 226 2151, 8—30 Aug, 2.45pm, £6 (£5)


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Urban Minefields The Scottish monologuist weaves a humorously surreal tale around the four cities of Glasgow, London, New York and Belfast, with projected images and a stunning soundtrack by Anne Seagrave. Urban Minefields (Fringe) Oscar McLennan, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 8-23 Aug, 2.40pm, f 6/£ 7 (f 4).

Tbilisi Ballet One of the former Soviet Union's most renowned companies return with a programme that stretches from Strauss to Stravinsky. C horeographed by the great George Alekidze. Tbilisi Ballet (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, I 0—72 Aug, 7.30pm, £9 (£8); 14, 77, 78Aug, 77.30am, £9 (£8); 75, 76 Aug, 17.30am, £10(£9).

8—14 Aug 1997 THE U3T39 '