Glasgow: Tramway Fri 20 & Sat 21 Feb/ Glasgow: CCA Tue 3 & Wed 4 Mar. Glasgow's contemporary dance festival continues this fortnight with the return of Canada’s Sylvain Emard Danse - a hit at New Moves in 1994 — and the UK premiere of Piet Rogie’s Netherlands-based company. Both choreographers are presenting a piece that forms the final part of a highly personal trilogy — both with a paradoxically upbeat message about endings. émard’s piece Rumeurs — for five male dancers — is a response to the loss of a very close friend, but this, he says, is ‘the most serene piece of the trilogy, looking forward with a wider horizon'. Some eighteen months in the making, Rumeurs has allowed émard the chance to explore ‘an exclusively male kinetic' in his work. He emphasises that ’creating a music of the body’ is his goal, focusing on the expressiveness of dance itself, rather than the development of a particular theme. As the work evolved, émard feels his collaboration with commissioned composer Bertrand Chénier allowed a
deeper, third voice to emerge, in addition to the simple
combining of music and dance.
Belgian-born Piet Rogie started out as a painter before turning to dance. Rogie has designed both sets and lighting for his new piece Naast, which translates as
The work initially seems to be about a couple separating, but eventually says more about friendship than love. ’This is not a romantic idea of parting,’ he explains. "T hey dance together, beside each other.’ The accompaniment is a Schubert string quartet, music that both Rogie and his dance partner Johanna Laber have long admired. Earlier sections of Rogie's trilogy dealt with solitude and coming together, while Naast
Collaborative efforts: Sylvain Emard Danse in Rumeurs
expresses his belief that even in parting, 'there should
always be the possibility of finding each other again.’
Both choreographers clearly feel their work has changed over the years as their primary focus has shifted from performing to creating. Emard danced at
this year's New Moves with his compatriot Jean-Pierre
Perreault’s company, and speaks of Québecois dance as ’an active and dynamic community, a milieu of synergy'. Working as a choreographer, he says, allows him to step back and get closer to the spectator’s point of view.
In the next fortnight Scottish audiences can assess for themselves these two dance talents displaying still evolving depths of maturity, musical confidence and personal intensity. (Don Morris)
AMERICAN DRAMA The Tooth Of Crime
Glasgow: Arches Theatre, Mon 23—Sat 28 Feb.
Playing hard: Alistair Rolls, Alistair Seed and Eleanor Reid in The Tooth Of Crime
30 TIIE LIST 20 Feb—S Mar I998
Is Sam Shepard America’s greatest living playwright? Steve Bottoms — currently directing Shepard's The Tooth of Crime for his own Flexible Deadlock company — cannot bring himself to pronounce such a statement.
A renowned authority on the playwright/actor, Bottoms has just published a book on the man, and shows his true colours when the subject of Shepard vs Mamet is raised. ’You get so far with Mamet's plays and they stop,’ he believes. ‘With Shepard, they keep going in terms of the amount that‘s there to be uncovered. I think Mamet is immediately grabbable — a lot of "fuck dis, fuck dat” — and you get what's going on very quickly, but there’s very little else to get.’
Written in 1972 and recently updated, The Tooth of Crime portrays a futuristic America in which style rules over substance. The central characters H055 and Crow are struggling to survive in a brutal underground society where music, media and gang warfare meld together.
It may be a vision of the future, but
Shepard's script pits the classical influence of Greek tragedy against the modern.
’It was futuristic in the first place but it can still be futuristic now,’ explains Bottoms. ’You have the Lou Reed-type guy who is still going and what we’ve done is translate what was originally a proto-punk feel for the other guy — the challenger — into a club and drum ’n' bass angle.’
And what of the inewtable accusation that this is another stroll around that familiar playground where little boys play with big guns? ’A lot of the work we have done as a company — such as last year's The Scarlet Letter — has been quite female-centred,’ asserts Bottoms. ’My key performer Judith Milligan is away in France at the moment, so part of the reason we're doing this one is that — you know — "well, Judith's away so we'll do a boys’ show".’ It’s OK, Judith. He’s just kidding. (Brian Donaldson)
I The Theatre Of Sam Shepard is published by Cambridge university Press at £13. 95, and will be launched at the Arches on Tue 24 Feb after
new shows THEATRE
Romeo and Juliet
Glasgow: Barrhead Sports Centre, Tue 3—Sat 7 Mar.
With Baz Luhrmann's hip film of the ultimate romantic tragedy, Hollywood succeeded where generations of English teachers had flunked and made Shakespeare hip. Royal Shakespeare Company director Michael Attenborough shows considerable courage in staging Romeo and Juliet so soon afterwards — but although his production returns to a more traditional approach, Attenborough eschews the usual pomp, giving the rival Montague and Capulet clans a social downgrading.-
Servants and other stragglers have been deemed surplus to requirements, and Zoe Waites — as Juliet — is expected to muck in with the cooking and cleaning. Attenborough’s plan is that this honing will emphasise the passion and violence of this essentially simple, mechanical drama. The end result, according to Waites, is a ’slick, sexy, sweaty affair'.
Played out with a vigorous physicality, the production sets the doomed love affair in post-war Tuscany. The atmosphere is reminiscent of the Sicilian scenes from The Godfather, with implicit Mafia overtones among the feuding factions.
Playing opposite Ray Fearon — who came close to bagging the role of Mercutio in last year’s film -— Waites is all too aware of the challenge facing them. ’[The film] wull bring in a lot of people who wouldn‘t ordinarily come to the theatre,’ she says, before adding, ’I just hope people don't come expecting us to be Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio. They will be thoroughly disappointed.‘
In the absence of cumbersome sets, and with extensive cuts to the text, the story is delivered at a hurtling pace. But although the action is given a distinctly smutty spin, Attenborough is not out to be radical or outzap Luhrmann.
Describing the continued relevance of the 400-year-old yarn, Waites recalls a performance earlier in the tour that was attended by a party of Catholic and Protestant schoolkids from Belfast. 'We can all relate to the violence and passion between these rival families and the community at large,’ she says, 'but I felt excited and hopeful that they especially might gain something, from drawing parallels with their own experiences.’ (Claire Prentice)
Star-crossed star: Zoe Waites as Juliet