preview THEATERE


NEW PLAY The Dying Gaul Glasgow: Citizens' Circle Studio. Thu

19 Mar—Sat I I Apr. (Free preview, Wed 18 Mar).

American writer Craig Lucas is no stranger to raising conservative hackles. His work concerns itself with awkward topics like homosexuality and Aids, but tends to be as rich in human sensitivity as it is in visceral language. The author of plays and films including Longtime Companion, Reckless and Missing Persons has become so inured to the leaden ’controversial’ tag, that his inevitable pigeonholing has become a natural compliment, a seal of credibility.

’I love it,’ he says. 'Art which is agreed upon has been rendered safe, almost harmless, and almost useless for the more exciting purposes of stimulation, debate, political action, for the riling up of our deepest realms. Once the artistic .‘experience has been

packaged and commodified, "sanctified" by prizes and reverence, it’s easy for the audience to avoid engaging

at all.’

Lucas’s new work, The Dying Gaul which has its world premiere at the Citizens' Circle Studio should be a boon for any audience ready to engage with its scabrous take on sexual politics. It concerns a recently widowed gay screenwriter, who accepts a million dollars from a Hollywood movie studio for his screenplay, on the condition that he turn the script’s central relationship from gay to straight. The writer has an affair with his male producer, but the pair are rumbled by the producer’s wife. She then befriends the writer, and the two grow closer via illicit exchanges on the Internet. ’The play is a revenge tragedy, but it’s also fun, dark and rather perverse,’ says Lucas.

Chat addict: Craig Lucas

His current obsession with the Internet works its way into the core of the play, allowing him to comment on

technology, which he believes insulates peOple as much

(Chris Small)

I, ~ ~ .:I 3: Significant brothers: D

NEW IRISH PLAY Boss Grady's Boys

Glasgow: Arches Theatre, Mon IO—Fri 14 & Mon I7—Fri 21 Mar. Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre, Tue 25—Sat 29 Mar.

With marriage and babies out of fashion, it looks like we’re going to see a new wave of swinging spinsters and bachelor boys. Inspired by a real-life association with two elderly brothers, leading Irish writer Sebastian Barry presents a pair of auld codgers living their own off-kilter version of married life in rural Ireland. 8055 Grady’s Boys has its UK premiere .this fortnight,

onncha Crowley and Bill Hickey in Boss Grady's Boys

directed by Andy Arnold for the Arches Theatre Company.

Raised by a brutish father after the death of their iiiothei, brothers Mick and Josey had a childliorie in which

girls didn’t really fitiuie Reckoning that brotherly love is better than none at all, they set up home lI’JClt‘iilC'i in their parents' rariishac kle farmhouse Alternater doting and bickering, they relieve the tediiirii of an empty existence yia reriieiiibrances of their past. The result is a blurring of fantasy and reality, as the ghosts of yesteryear become larger than life

After a spate of attacks on bachelor

as it brings them together. ’I am intoxicated by the Internet chat rooms, addicted to them,’ he confesses. 'It is repulsive to me and utterly fascinating that I can dole out my precious time in this way, without ever coming face to face with another human being. If that is not a reflection of our current state ~ moving away from physical interaction then I don't know what is. Theatre is one of the few arts remain' 9 that require our physical presence together in one room.’

Lucas may even make it over from New York for the premiere, if he can persuade himself to ditch the on-line debate and join a different public forum for the night.

brothers in Ireland in the I980s, Barry was reminded of two elderly former iieigthurs, and inspired to pay tribute to them 'These old boys were extraordinarily kind to me, turning up at the back door wrth a bag of turnips if they thought I was haying a hard time and that sort of thing When I left the area, I VISIled them in their house for the very first time and was struck by the bareness of their home because their inner being was so rich.’

The play is also informed by Barry’s own childhood under the guardianship of two great aunts; but while unusual family relationships recur in his work, he himself is happily married wrth three children

Barry’s latest novel The W/iereabouts Of Eneas McNu/ty is receiving rave revrews, and his play Our Lady Of S/igo premieres at the Royal National Theatre in April - but he retains a soft spot for Boss Grady’s Boys.

‘The piece has a particular resonance,’ he says, ’because brother and brother in Ireland are thought to be constantly at each other's throats and fighting over the land.’ (Claire Prentice)

I The Whereabouts Of Eneas McNu/ty is reviewed on page 99.

Stage whispers

Curtainoup on another behind-the- scenes tour.

FRINGE BENEFITS CAN be expected at the Gilded Balloon during this year’s Edinburgh Festival. Although the Fringe has controversially moved its dates forward to end on Mon 31 Aug, the International Festival continues until Sat 5 Sep. The Gilded Balloon is spearheading a move by major venues to remain open for this additional week. ’My feeling isthat the Festival isn’t over, and I think it would be wrong for us not to be here,’ Gilded Balloon director Karen Koren told The List. ’It won't be the full McCoy, because that would be too expensive; but I expect to keep Wilkie House [the Gilded Balloon’s main venue and headquarters] open until the fifth.’

Koren also confirmed that the Gilded Balloon will run programmes this year at the Palladium in Broughton Place; and revealed that Johnny Vegas, Stephen Frost, Lynn Ferguson, Geraldine McNulty and Irish comedy trio The Nualas would be among the acts appearing this year. But will Fringe audiences’ chuckle muscles survive that rigorous fourth week?

TALKING OF FESTIVALS, South Africa is the unlikely setting for a new performing arts festival being programmed from Edinburgh. Due to launch in March 1999, the Cape Town Festival is currently seeking 30 to 40 acts to appear at this pilot event. Martin Hunt of Edinburgh- based PR firm Tartan Silk - who is responsible for co-ordinating the programme - is keen to hear from performers who want to take a show or act (’from ballet to busking’) to Cape Town. Travel, accommodation and a small fee would be provided to successful applicants. Contact Tartan Silk on 0131 557 8885 for further details.

Hanging on for one more week: Karen Koren

6-19 Mar 1998 TIIEUSTB1