White noise

Putting their increased Scottish Arts Council funding to good use, Edinburgh company Boilerhouse have embarked on a new and amibitious project . . . including a trans-global collaboration.

Words: Claire Prentice

Edinburgh performance company Boilerhouse have never gone a bundle on tradition. And as they

team up with equally unconventional New Zealand

group Trouble. inviting the public to he flies on the wall at a rehearsal of their work—in-progress Bleach. one thing you can be sure of is unpredictability.

It‘s the second in a sequence of five new shows in progress. collectively titled The Mix. Artistic director Paul Pinson stresses that these ‘epic Iibrettos of contemporary life‘ are linked more by a shared approach to creating challenging. innovative theatre than by common themes.

Each is devised with the help of a different writer: Rona Munro‘s Beach was tried out near Ullapool last month. while open rehearsals of Sandie Craigie’s Freaks. Spencer Hazel’s Circus and Choice by Nick Davies are to come later in the season. Pinson points to the advantages of not taking a finished script into the rehearsal room.

‘Although we are working with a writer. nothing is fixed.‘ he explains. ‘There are great benefits creatively from taking it out of the realms of the director and having all the other components including the actors and the audience feeding their ideas into the piece as you go along.‘

With a core group assembled for Bleach two Kiwi and two Scots actors. writer Jo Randerson. director Andrew Foster and Pinson himself the chosen subject matter was about as broad as you can get. Yep. forget such luxury as a plot synopsis. Aside from that the piece deals with experiences of isolation and survival in society. they don’t know what shape the final product will take.

‘lt’s interesting to explore the different experiences of isolation of someone living in. say. Scotland. New Zealand or London. or between the city. the suburbs and rural areas.‘ says Pinson. ‘lt's also a voyage into the unknown. really. because of the different ways we work.‘

The two companies began development work on Bleach in New Zealand. after an ‘arranged marriage‘ by Wellington Festival director Malcolm Turner

in Randerson

52 THE LIST 10-24 Sep 1998

'Society has reaiiy aged so that we’re in a strain}; kind of washedeat

Staring mad: Tam Dean Burn in Boilerhouse's 1997 hit, Seizer

brought them together. This public development marks the second leg of the creative process before the final version is shown in both countries next year.

‘l’aul was introduced to us as someone who does “crash devising". which means basically you‘ve got three weeks to make the piece from scratch.‘ explains Trouble director Andrew Foster. ‘What we‘re doing here is like sampling or collage art.’

The title of the show was chosen for its contrasting meanings harsh on the one hand. purifying on the other. It reflects the contrasting experiences of those involved in the devising process. but also contains a social aspect. as Randerson explains. ‘Society has really aged. so that we‘re in a strange in- between. kind of washed—out stage.‘ he says. The staging typically for Boilerhouse - is to take place in non-theatrical venues at Glasgow’s Arches and [Edinburgh‘s Bongo Club. and will take on a stark feel in keeping with the overall tone.

Founded in 1989. Boilerhouse have moved away from their earlier issues-based work. and while the three Bleach collaborators believe personal viewpoints are unavoidable. there is no overtly political slant here. As Pinson concludes: ‘()urs is not a theatre of ideologies but of ideas.‘ Whatever the outcome. it‘s sure to provoke a response.

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Bleach is at The Bongo Club, Edinburgh, Thu 10—Sat 19. Performers' workshop, Thu 10; open rehearsal, Wed 16; writers' workshop, Thu 17; preformance samples, Fri 18 & Sat 19. Also at The Arches, Glasgow, Wed 23—Sat 26 Sep. Open rehearsal, Wed 23; performance samples, Fri 25 & Sat 26 Sep. Freaks, Circus and Choice can be sampled later in the autumn.

Stage whispers

How theatre types are teaching the arts other careers can’t reach.

AT AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES, you can study Elvisology or witchcraft. Strathclyde Uni is going one step better, offering courses in stand-up comedy. In a new initiative, comedian and actress Viv Gee (currently appearing in Final Fling at the Arches Theatre) will lead a ten- week evening class for aspiring comics. 'I'Il get them to look at the papers and come up with something funny from one of the articles,’ says Ms Gee. 'lt’s about seeing things different ways. You can be yourself, but you can lie as well.’ The course will culminate in a performance - provisionally pegged for The Comic Club at Blackfriars in early December and is limited to around twenty participants. Contact Sylvia Jamieson on 0141 552 3489 for details.


recent conference on the future of

Scottish theatre, actors, directors,

administrators, writers and teachers

agreed that one priority was to

improve opportunities for young

people to see and participate in

theatre. With a view to furthering

that aim, the Scottish International

Children’s Festival has set up a ’development session'. Held at Stirling University's MacRobert Arts Centre this Friday (11 September), the convention will consider how to

encourage, develop, support and fund work; education’s overall role

and the best examples available.

NOT TO BE OUTDONE, Glasgow's TAG Theatre Company is holding a conference the following day at the Citizens' Theatre, exploring the relevance of Shakespeare for young people. Currently touring schools

t and public venues with Othello, TAG ; will examine Shakespeare in the

classroom and in the theatre; and try to conclude how teachers and

Theatre In Education companies can best serve Bard-related education. Scottish kids need no longer creep like snail unwillingly to school.

3 What a scream: Viv Gee. professor of comedy