THEATRE new shows GAY DRAMAS
Molly's Collar And Tie/Soldier On A Monday
A new show and a revival that form part of the Waiting For Glasgay! festival aim to prove that Scotland's gay scene has flourished undercover for many years and in many settings. Words: Colin Lennox
Scotland may not seem a historical hotbed of homosexual activity, but scratch beneath the surface and it’s all there. Molly’s Collar And Tie is the
'lt's about working together until we get a Complete story that both tells an individual's story and dramatises it. It is a theatre piece — not a documentary.’
dramatic result of such surface- scratching.
MCT, the theatre company which developed the piece, performed it as a
work in progress at Glasgow’s Tron
Theatre last October. After further development and a run in the Drill Hall in London, the finished production is premiered as part of the Waiting For Glasgay! festival.
Linked by two contemporary characters known as the Drag Man and the Drumming Woman, the play relates various historic tales of gay and lesbian experience. These include the affair James VI had with courtier Lord Lennox; and the remarkable story of Murray Hall, a 19th century Govan woman who upped sticks and reincarnated herself in New York as a successful businessman.
More recent history is also interweaved. Tales from the twilight world of gay life have been gathered and dramatised through long-running interview and workshop sessions with members of Scotland’s older gay community — five of whom were enlisted among the twelve-strong cast.
But as playwright Christ0pher Deans points out, Molly’s Collar And Tie is much more than just a series of testimonials. ’One of the men has a story about his relationship with an
older man when he was about sixteen,’ Deans explains. ’This was in the 1940s So we say, “Right, what are the
components of that story?" and then we work with them. Then it’s about me as a writer and facilitator working within a workshop until we get a framework, a complete story that both tells his story and dramatises it. It is a theatre piece — not a documentary.’
The finished production has changed massively since last year, and Deans is happy with the results. ’We’ve had the opportunity to look again at the stories,’ he says. ’We’ve put women on the stage, which we didn’t have in Glasgow last year. That’s a major difference.’
Director Lorenzo Mele, known for directing Starving Artists’ Fringe First- winning shows Road Movie and Vi'per's Opium, embraced the chance to work with such a diverse cast. ’l was very worried that the community performers would be very intimidated by the professional performers, but actually it was the other way round,’ he explains.
Elsewhere within Waiting for Glasgayl, Mele directs Soldier On a Monday for Complete Productions.
What a drag: MCT in Molly's Collar And Tie
Originally performed at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, it tells the story of Doug, a decorated war hero, and his far—from-conventional lover Nick.
Despite tackling a list of issues that would make a series of Vanessa look bland — Aids, single mums, gay soldiers, sexual fantasy and all manner of family dysfunction — the central human drama is never lost. Complemented by a cast of strong performers, Christopher Hodgson’s blackly humorous script is intelligent, tense and compelling.
Soldier On A Monday
Glasgow: Arches Theatre, Tue 28 Oct-Sat 1 Nov.
Molly's Collar & Tie
Glasgow: Tron Theatre, Wed S—Sun 9 Nov; Paisley Arts Centre, Tue 11 Nov.
Stretching boundaries: Scottish Dance Theatre Redefining
Two Scottish dance companies present exciting new work this fortnight, but while both are revealing, they steer clear of sensationalism.
Words: Tanya Stephan
Enough of sensationalism to draw in the punters. With two new productions opening this fortnight, Scottish contemporary dance is confident that it has much more to offer. Janet Smith, the new artistic
58 THE lIST 23 Oct--6 Nov 1997
director of Scottish Dance Theatre — Scotland’s only full-time dance company — is looking for a much more subtle form of communication. ’We’ve been led to sensationalism in the arts with a movement in the theatre, in art and in the media,’ she argues. ’For me, I’m asking myself, "How much deeper can you go?” "How much more sensitive can you be?” As I said to one of my dancers, "Shock me with a tender movement.“
Redefining, the first production by Scottish Dance Theatre under Smith's directorship, is a double-bill. It offers opportunities to both Smith and guest choreographer Alan Greig to build on their recent approaches to choreography.
With 21 years of experience behind her, Smith decided that light was the most compromised element of her
previous performances, particularly on tours. So her choreographic piece Chiaroscuro takes light as its starting point. She found to her surprise that the dancers' response to the quality and posnioning of light created narratives in itself. ’The magnetism of light reminded me of those things which are attractive but also dangerous — like the things that adults tell children not to do.’ The resulting piece is filmic in effect, but focuses on drawmg out communication ’from a very deep place' in each of the five dancers.
For the second part of Redefining, Smith inVited Greig to rework the distinctive style of choreography he has developed With his own company The X Factor Also presenting a new piece, SeXual, this fortnight, The X Factor has been described as Scotland’s most consistently innovative dance group.
Greig is excited and delighted to have two projects on the go. The Director’s Cut for Scottish Dance Theatre takes as its starting mm the flav0ur of the mUSIC and design of his earlier productions Red and Dead — both pieces about energy, dynamics and relationships. Meanwhile, he has choreographed SeXual With The X Factor’s all-male dance groop, a piece which he sees as a very new departure.
’Director’s Cut was a way of tying up
a more abstract way of working, while SeXua/ is more narrative,’ he explains. ’SeXua/ is based on a very personal experience which I’ve had and it is much darker and quite violent. It is about a person looking for love and companionship in the wrong places, who becomes trapped by his own sexuality.’
Influenced by the work of Pina Bausch and DV8, Greig describes his
'SeXual is based on very personal experience and it is dark and violent. It is about a person looking for love and companionship in the wrong places.’ Alan Greig
piece as 'very rhythmic, Wild and crazy'. Direct and expliCIt it is, but he emphasises that it isn’t pornographic. Like Smith, he believes there is a distinction between sensationalism and
the attempt to communicate deep
personal experience Without any half measures.
Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre. Fri 31 Oct & Sat 1 Nov; Glasgow: Tron Theatre, Sun 2 Nov; Paisley Arts Centre, Tue 4 Nov.
Glasgow: Tron Theatre, Fri 31 Oct and Sat 1 Nov; Edinburgh: Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Fri 7 & Sat 8 Nov; Traverse Theatre, Fri 14 & Sat 15 Nov.