preview THEATRE



Shooting a line: Nabil Shaban in D.A.R.E.

are seeing now. in the 90s. is that very way of looking at it. They have decided that this person is no longer worthy of life. so they take all physical support away. It is not even a case of pulling the plug now. it is saying. “We are not going to feed you any more".‘

Try if you DARE

An uncompromising new play created by Edinburgh's THEATRE WORKSHOP COMPANY aims to prove that disabled artists have as much creative ability as anyone else. Words: Thom Dibdin

non-disabled people viewing him with pity. it is impossible for a third party to evaluate the real quality of someone else's life. His is certainly vibrant. even though he complains vociferously and with complete justification that too few parts are given to disabled actors.

On another level. I).A.R.I§. is a mythical journey based on that of Jason and the Argonauts taken by the four characters as they search for their personal responses to the eugenics debate. As a devised piece. it reflects the characters of the four actors who. besides being differently disabled are all very different from each other: one was a soldier. one is gay. another is a cynical stand-up comic and the fourth is an ‘intellectual wanker“.

But if you're looking for four disabled men talking about their feelings. you won‘t find it here. That belongs to the school of disability theatre as therapy theatre as basket-weaving for disabled actors. What you will find is theatre which is most akin to what companies like Boilerhouse or fecund are

The Theatre Workshop company pulls no punches in its new production. I)..'l.l\’.l:’. It stands for Disabled .-'\narchists‘ Revolutionary linclave (after the Disabled Activists‘ Network. I)..»\.l\'.) and places the current big issues of the disability movement. eugenics and euthanasia in a myth-based framework. along with an examination of the four characters‘ masculinity.

'I).,»\.R.l-.‘. is partly about the response of the disability movement to the contemplation of the annihilation of people like them.‘ says Robert Rae. artistic director at Theatre Workshop. 'livery day you

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open the paper or turn on the 3 tum m +7.1“ VH9”) , ,M )po le doing: theatre at the cutting - - U ;. , ' -.' '.:.v.=:. r‘é.‘ _ T - -T radio and people are talking ' ' i p edge of technology and social

about removing people with Céi'f-E talking {WW}: t'rimovmg comment. certain disabilities oil the lace pm}p§€ Wm} (Ry-mm (gigabijlties . Part ol the reason tor of the earth. . , using actors with disability

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dealing with an issue that

really matters and the actors in it are passionate about it.‘ says Rae. ‘I remember being in 728-1 and those sort of companies where people were passionate about what they were doing in a broader context. For me it is a thrill to be working again with people who are passionate about what they are doing. It is theatre which engages with social realities.‘

The problem in this ‘debate' is that nobody is listening to people who are actually disabled. When you hear or read of a carer or doctor who is 'allowing' someone to die. you do not hear from disabled people. In history. the first stage any authority's destruction of a people is to deny them a voice.

‘.»'\t the heart of their thinking is the Nazi conception that this person has now been targeted as someone who is having an existence without life.‘ adds .'\'abil Shaban. a resident member of the company and probably Britain‘s best known disabled actor. "They called it “life unworthy of life." What we

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Edinburgh: Theatre Workshop, Wed 15—Tue 21 Oct (not Sun). Glasgow: Tramway, Thu 23—Sat 25 Oct; then touring.

As Shaban knows from his own experience of

Stage whispers

The latest on Scotland's scene- shifting activities.

THE MUCH-PUBLICISED REMOVAL of Wildcat Stage Productions' revenue funding (see Agenda, page 5 and Letters, page 6) is only one aspect of the new Scottish Arts Council (SAC) franchise funding scheme for touring theatre companies. While no one is celebrating Wildcat’s misfortune, at least six companies can start making firm plans.

Formerly, five companies received revenue funding, sufficient to cover running costs and keep staff in employment for a minimum of one year at a time. Six companies have now been awarded the new franchise funding, which guarantees an annual grant for a fixed term of four years. Communicado, TAG, 7:84 and Borderline (all formerly revenue- funded) have been awarded franchises; to these have been added the younger companies Boilerhouse and Suspect Culture, both of which have received SAC funding for specific projects in the past. All non-franchised companies are still entitled to apply for project funding, though the £50,000 awarded to Wildcat for its production of Liz Lochhead's Carmen McGurk opera has been seen in many quarters as an inadequate sop.

ONE PERSON WHO can celebrate with a clear conscience is Scottish playwright David Harrower, who has won a prestigious German award for his play Knives In Hens. The three- handed drama, set in a 16th century rural community, was named Best Foreign Play in the prestigious journal Theater Heute (Theatre Today). A poll of 7S theatre critics from all over Germany produced the result, following successful productions in Berlin, Tubigen and Cologne. There is no cash prize, ’just kudos and vague celebrity,‘ as Harrower puts it. With the rights sold all over Europe, a new production opens in Oslo, Norway on 1 November, with other translations due to be performed in Paris and Amsterdam. There's also been interest from Israel, Canada and Turkey. ’l'm not complaining,’ says Harrower, who sounds happy enough with the situation, ’but I am trying to get on with other things.’

Winning ways: David Harrower

ll) Oct—23 Oct 1997 THE “ST 59