new shows' AMERICAN CLASSIC The Price
Musselburgh: Brunton Theatre, Fri 25 Sep—Sat 10 Oct
A fractured family TOUTTIICCi. Buried betrayals, threatening to surface from a past everyone would rather forget. Dignity crushed in the unrelenting cogs of commerce It's a scenario typical of Arthur Miller, the grand old man of American drama.
The central characters of The Price cocild be seen as grown-up versions of Biff and Happy Loman, the brothers who come home to Witness their father’s demise in Death Of A Salesman, But The PM e was written in 1968, nineteen years after Miller’s classic tragedy of capitalist values
'I guess he felt he had more to say on that world,’ says David Mark Thoms0n, who is directing The Price for the Brunton Theatre Corripany ’He wanted to debate it ‘-.eiy cleanly, by setting up twc brothers who made two very definite choices in their youth '
The rival sihiings are Vic to' a police officer who relinguished his studies to Support his unemployed father after the Depression and \Valtei, who abandoned the family to become a Successful surgeon After a long estrangement, they meet when their parents’ apartment has to be cleared for demolition Gradually, the pair are drawn into conflict over ancient
Glasgow; Arches Theatre, Tue 29 Sep—Sat IO Oct; East Kilbricle Arts
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Sowing the seed: Grant Smeaton as Marge Spurt
Genetic engineering may not he the most thioiis siil>;ect for a hearty laugh or two Talk of genetics, DH embryos and the lite conjures up a future of nightrriares in which cloning may be utilised for purposes other than scientific progress
Yet we've all had a right riood chuckle at the antics surrounding a certain sheep and even South Park tackled the suhiect wrth the tender
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Miller cop: Derek Lord as Victor in The Price
resentments which will leave each ’touching the structure of his life,’ as Miller puts it.
’What’s very important is that you don’t direct your audience to a Viewpomt,’ Thomson comments. ’Miller manages to balace the points of View, and the audience are allowed an indiVic‘lual response to it'
Miller's w0rk is often very funny, and The Price is no exception. The elderly leWish furniture dealer Solomon leavens the play’s agonies With wry humour, and lives up to his name by doubling as a dispenser of wisdom Played by veteran comic actor Phil McCall, Solomon Will he, says Thomson, ’an essential ingredient in making the piece human '
mating of an elephant and a pig And now, Tangerine Productions' new show, Spurt’, attempts to take on the issue through the blackest of comedy ’This is almost a genetic mix of What The Butler Said, which we did in I990, and Accidental Death Of An Anarchist which we did in I994,’ insists the play’s writer Raymond Burke ’We were thinking, if Joe Orton hadn’t been killed, what would he have been writing like '
The new show centres on a famous genetic scientist, Dr t-.Iaxiniilliar~ Spirit
(Ross Stenhouset, his sexually frustrated wrfe i‘vlarge (Grant Sineaton) and a motley crew
including a despicable businessri'ian, an odd policeman and a lesbian outlaw Their mission is to salvage a better future for themselves thrOugh genetics and cash Rather than being your standard rnegalomaniac mad scientist, Dr Spurt comes across as the ooodie of the story ’He’s less of a Dr Frankenstein and more like that guy who goes about on the hike in Local Hero,‘ states Burke
While humour makes Spurtl what it is, the seriousness of the issue will not be forgotten. a public debate is to be held after the shows first night to discuss the pros and cons of 'germ line’ engineering
And if you want more of Burke's fertile imagination, you can pick up a cloned copy in print
ea Spurt is published by clua/c'has books (0747 423 7608) on Thu 7 Oct
PERFORMANCE ART The Sea And Poison Glasgow: CCA, Thu I—Sat 3 Oct
Goat Island company manager Chris Mitchell is having difficulty condensing their new project into media-friendly soundbites. The Chicago-based performance group defies categorisation. ’While there’s movement, it’s not standard dance; nor is there a story, although there is text,’ Mitchell explains. ’lt’s a mosaic of images, ideas and concepts.’
For The Sea And Poison, the starting point was contamination. ’We were interested in two ideas of poisoning and movement,’ says Mitchell. ’Firstly, the convulsive movements caused by x : poisoning, and secondly the use of _, as». - mOVemem and SWGai'ng ‘0 “d the The poison adventure: Goat Island body of poison.’
From there, the company moved through the paranoia that informs 405 and 50s films such as The Incredible Shrinking Man, the environmental contamination that causes deformities in nature, and birth defects associated with the Gulf War. These themes combine with complex choreography that incorporates physically impossible movements and aims to push the performers to the point of exhaustion. The rescilts are unique, says Mitchell. ’It’s elegiac and poetic; not brash or glitzy. It’s a Journey the audience can take.’ (Hannah McGill)
Eating The Elephant Tounng
Four women from different backgrounds are brought together by one shared experience —- breast cancer. The theme of Julia Darling’s play may sound preachy, but Rachel Ashton of the Ashton Group insists it's anything but ’It's not an isscie- based play, it's bigger than that,’ she says ’It's actually very funny, very IOyOUS. It looks at the idea of illness as a gift —- the fact of having limited time ‘ as something that wakes you up and makes you think about your life '
The production is complemented by a multi-media exhibition, /n Their Element, for which Darling worked With photographer Sharon Bailey and breast cancer support groups to explore the subiect through portraits, images and a spoken soundtrack. ’Neither proiect is gloomy or depressing,’ Ashton says. ’They’re upbeat; they’re about life and surVival, and they speak to men as well as women.’ Attitudes to illness, death and ’women's issues’ that should be human issues are certainly due for a rehaul. (Hannah McGiII) to For tour dates, see page 62, /n Their Element is at the MacRobert Arts Centre, Stirling until Thu 8 Oct
Answering cancer: Eating The Elephant
M U LTl-M E DIA The Seed-Carriers
Stirling: MacRobert Arts Centre, Wed 30 Sep
'How might Hieronymous Bosch have painted if he'd lived post—Freud7' muses Stephen Mottram of Animata Theatre Company The mind boggles
Bosch is a key Visual influence on this haunting allegory, in which vulnerable creatures -- not human, not plant, not animal but with characteristics of all three struggle for surVival in a hostile enVironrnent
Solo perforrnm Mottrain plays a total of 40 characters in this performance based on the Richard Dawkins novel The Selfish Gene that incorporates sculpture, music, dance, puppetry and narrative
Intenser physical, the piece coriibines horror with the Visual splendour of Jessica Shaw's designs 'There are images of ruthlessness, but presented in a beautiful way,’ Mottram explains. ’We're exploring feelings of weakness and oppresSion, and what happens when soCiety breaks down It’s human rather than political, because the response to it is emotional, not intellectual.’ Bosch's nightmarish Visions brought to life? Better leave the kids at home. (Hannah McGill)
Bosch job: The Seed-Carriers