GREEK TRAGEDY Oedipus Complex — The Trilogy
Glasgow Arches Theatre, Tue 2 -Sat 6 Jun
It’s official: Oedipus was the Homer Simpson of ancient Greece. We all make stupid mistakes, but accidentally killing your dad and shagging your mum? D’ohl
Glasgow-based company fActional, last seen performing an adventurous promenade production of Conrad's Heart Of Darkness, will tell the unhappy Greek’s fateful tale in Oedipus Complex — The Trilogy. Relocated to modern Scotland, this is a physical theatre rendition of three tragedies — Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and Antigone and Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes.
Perhaps because of their origin in the cradle of democracy, these plays are extremely relevant to contemporary politics, despite having been written almost 2500 years ago.
’They speak strongly of what has
been happening in Europe and Britain over the past five years — especially with the advent of New Labour,’ says fActional director, Mariela Stevenson. 'One of the major themes of the whole trilogy is how power corrupts. Democracy is shown as a fool’s paradise, and I think we've seen that recently. We have no illusions left about politicians — it’s an impossible job. Nowmatter how well- intentioned they are, something’s going to happen to
bugger it up.
‘We've chosen to do it in Scottish accents,’ continues Stevenson. ’There are several things in Oedipus Complex which are relevant to Devolution. There’s the notion of what happens when you get given power and you're not used to it and have to start making decisions for yourself.’
Oedipus Complex also resonates with the recent waste of human life in Bosnia, a wound which remains fresh in
NEW PLAY Working Legs Tounng
Working Legs, explains Alasdair Gray, is his first play 'since the days of a long forgotten Labour administration’ He had no plans to write drama until an Invitation came from Glasgow’s Birds Of Paradise company, which works With physically disabled actors. Subtitled A Play For People Without Them, the play began life in a series of meetings between Gray and the company’s actors and friends, who talked about how their lives has been affected by disability. Gray then wove the ideas into an accessible and often very funny metaphor for the ludicrous and painful challenges they faced. 'Their gallant Willingness to make fun out of terrible experience made my iob easy,’ he says
In the play’s alternative society, prejudice is neatly turned on its head" those Suffering from a pitiable condition‘ are the ones who insist on walking, registered as ’hyper-manic’ by
58 THE US? 28 May ll Jun I998
Mothering son day: Graham Vernal and Trish Mullin in Oedipus Complex
’Seven Against Thebes is a war story, and the tortures and horrors bring to mind things that have been happening in the Balkan states,’ says Stevenson. ’There’s something about the way the population’s expanding that naturally makes us more aggressive. Aggression is on the rise in cities, where human beings are packed in like rats. Like rats, they turn on themselves. As the population expands and politics begins to fail us, going into the next
century is going to be interesting. Is there another
Body politics: an illustration from Working Legs
SOCIal Welfare Sei'Vices. After flinging himself clear of a Juggernaut on the road and seeing his wheelchair flattened, Able McMann is Vilified for his resistance to re~Joming the cioiiteiitedly disabled majority. Amidst Widespread Jubilation, he eventually finds happiness after being completely paralysed from the waist down
political form which we haven’t evolved into yet?‘ Oedipus Complex promises to be just as intense a theatrical experience as Heart Of Darkness, not to mention an authentic one. Stevenson has researched Ancient Greek theatre, folk dance and religious ritual, while an original score from Giles Lamb draws on Greek and Macedonian music as well as the odd Celtic influence.
Co-director Tina McGeever stresses that the play is more
concerned With raising awareness than stern moralising ’It's about the
problems Surrounding people who don’t have a disability. If you turn things tipSide down, as the society in Working Legs has done, you realise that it can look exactly the same as ours We need to recognise that we are all prejudiced,' she says Working Legs has an unexpected t0pica|ity after the Government’s recent threats to cut benefits to the disabled Gray finds the resonances amusing, and rather sad 'l’ve got a Plvl’s speech in it where he denounces those who are dependent on welfare,’ he says ’I wrote the play in 19%, when there was still a TOiy goveinment, and at one stage I thought l would have to reVise It But I haven’t (Chris Small) a For tow dates, see page 65 (Op/es of Working Legs (Dog 8/ Home. [5) are available in bookshops or from Morag Mc‘A/pi'ne, 2 Marchmont Terrace, Glasgow, G 72 9LT
lLLUSlRATlON ALASDAIR GRAY
FOOTBALL DANCE GOAL Glasgow: SECC, Tue 2 Jun
It may have been dubbed 'Ri'verdance With Studs’, but don’t let that put you off. Scotland coach Craig Brown took time from planning BraZil's downfall to bill it as ’a fresh and innovative approach to promoting the game.’ Yet despite these early set-backs, GOAL is set to light up the SECC With an attacking display of dance, theatre, mUSIC, film protection and — above all — football.
’l'm not sure if the studs are on the shoes or because the guys are so gorgeous,’ iests artistic director Kerri Jeffrey who — amazingly — can still laugh despite her addiction to the recently-relegated Hibs. ’l was a bit of a snob about Ri'verdance but we want to have its mass appeal. It has opened up the doors to people who wouldn't normally ever go and see a dance show.’
But why shoold those who don their scarves of a Saturday in preparation for an afternoon abusing the offiCials, opposmg fans and defenders on both sides be attracted
to a game whose players have i
trained With the Royal Ballet, Phoenix Dance Company and Rambert? ’I think there are loads of similarities,’ explains Jeffrey. 'All our dancers are part of a team, fitness and communication are really important. Football may have been done before in plays, but never like this in a huge stage spectacular’
Among the troupe is one Donny McNamara, brother of Jackie McNamara, the Players’ Player Of The Year, and a member of triumphant League-Winning Celtic Side While Donny himself coolcl eaSily have made it into the profesSional game, Jackie has twmkled his toes down many an opponents' left flank. ’lt’s been great for us press-Wise, but he's here on his own merits,’ inSists Jeffrey. 'He’s a terrific dancer and a great performer »— it’s strange that he’s from this footballing family, yet here he is dancing and leaping about on stage' (Brian 'Defender’ Donaldson)
Eleven good men and true: the Goal squad