l MODERN CLASSIC Under Milk Wood
Glasgow: Arches Theatre, Tue tO—Sat 28 Nov
A small corner of modern urban Scotland will be transformed temporarily into post-war rural Wales when the Arches Theatre Company stages Dylan Thomas's poem-play Under Milk Wood.
This new production represents an ambition realised for director Andy Arnold. 'I've wanted to do this for years,’ he says, before explaining the piece's specific appeal. ‘Because the play was originally written for radio, you have a blank canvas and can do exactly what you want in terms of staging. It’s a licence to use imagination and ingenuity. I’ve seen productions which could have taken place behind closed curtains for all the attention they paid to
Language is one thing, accent another, and the cast will all be called upon to speak as if to the valleys born. ’It is a very Welsh piece,’ says Arnold. ’Although‘the i characters could live in any rural community, at almost
Glasgow: James Arnott Theatre, Fri 13 & Sat l4 Nov. Paisley Arts CentreTue 1.7 Nov.
Cryptic to the last: for Prologue, director Cathie Boyd has abandoned conventional narrative, and shewon't be drawn on what the show's about
visual presentation. We’re going to use every theatrical device at our disposal, every skill we’ve picked up over the years, to create a very elaborate show.’
i This approach means making demands on the actors, but Arnold is confident they can rise to the challenge. ’I went with people I’ve worked with before because I knew their strengths,’ he explains. ’They’re all comfortable in multiple roles, all sing, all play ; instruments, and they can all get to grips with this
Valley girls: Morag Stark and Muireann Kelly in Under Milk Wood
any time in recent history, the poetry of the piece works best with a Welsh accent. It's crucial to the rhythm and tempo of the speech, in much the same way that Joyce needs to be done with that Irish
Fortunately, most of the cast is Celtic in origin, which should allow for a ready grip on the lilting rhythms of Wales. But they will also be called upon to conjure up the atmosphere of a bygone era. ’Although Thomas is
dealing with universal, timeless ideas, the best way to
Never one to spurn exotic ingredients, director Cathie Boyd has concocted a veritable goulash in Prologue, the latest show from her Glasgow-based company Theatre Cryptic The sources for this adventurous lrishwornan’s new prOJect are as varied as a gourmet’s spice-rack
Text, such as it is, is drax'xn from the prologue of The Stories of Eva Luna by Chilean novelist Isabel Allende. .A haunting and beguiling piece, It concludes: 'Tell me a story you have never told anyone before Make it up for me.’
The story which follows has nothing whatsoever to do With Allende's text. Instead, it is a dance-opera, wrth a score by cellist Anthea Hacldow composed during and after a solo missron to Croatia The show is choreographed and danced by Hungarian duo the Shamans, against a backdrop of film projections by Trane House Red, to an accompaniment of live cello and Violin, soaring mezzo- soprano and a soundscape, created by Haddow from synthesiser‘s, percussIon and samples of Croatian conversation
'I wanted her to experience something which was different from her normal life,' explains Boyd, who duly packaged Haddow off to Zagreb and Dubrovnik
’lt's much, much easier to write music when you've got a source in front of
convey them is to place them securely in the original location,’ says Arnold. ’We’ve gone for a late 405, early SOs look with the costumes for the same reason.’
you,’ adds the intrepid Haddow, who has worked regularly with Theatre Cryptic since 1994. 'It's a much more personal thing, though, if you respond to an experience. You only have yourself.’ In Croatia, she experienced the buzz of the cities, the talk of the people and a 26-hour boat journey along the Adriatic coast.
The resulting score is in five movements, varying from the exhilarating techno pulse of the opening, through an absorbing and eclectic middle section, danced Vigoroust and emotionally by the Shamans, to a lyrical and movmg conclusion Filtered through the diverse imaginations of the mu5icians, dancers, singer and director, the show developed its own language and Significance during a sunny fortnight in Budapest and a chilly month in Glasgow
Ask Boyd and Haddow what the show is ’about' and they live up to their company's name. There Is certainly a response to a country trying to find its way out of a period of terrible suffering, and Boyd hints at a sense of human resilience and recuperation in the choreography.
’We want to make people think about the experience rather than the story,’ says Boyd. To me, theatre should bean experience' Amen to that. (Andrew Burnet)
News of the cues.
WITH THE APPOINTMENT of a new artistic director, Edinburgh’s touring company Communicado will be hoping its troubles are over, following the departure of founding director Gerry Mulgrew. New recruit Helena Kaut-Howson hails from Poland, but has lived and worked elsewhere since being deported for marrying the son of a NATO admiral. She is probably best known in the UK for her controversial King Lear at London's Young Vic last March, which starred the excellent actress Kathryn Hunter in the title role. Kaut-Howson will bring a vibrant fresh influence into Scottish theatre, but the company is not quite out of the woods yet. lts current, four-year funding from the Scottish Arts Council (SAC) is subject to approval of the new artistic plans. However, a Communicado spokeswoman stressed that any changes would have been subject to approval even if they had been Mulgrew’s.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE, the Traverse's Festival smash-hit Perfect Days by Liz Lochhead is to be revived early next year. Siobhan Redmond will return as Barbs, the celebrity hairdresser who longs to have kids, in a tour that takes in London, Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
EVEN BETTER NEWS is the SAC Lottery award of £286,516 which enables Dundee Rep Theatre to create a full-time acting ensemble. A company of fourteen — eleven experienced actors and three recent drama-school graduates — will be employed from next April and will present its first show in the autumn. This will be Scotland’s only year- round, full-time acting company, although Pitlochry Festival Theatre does employ its company throughout the summer season. It will soon have to compete with Dundee's six-week summer season, to be performed by the new company in 2000. Dundee Rep has applied for Lottery funding to refurbish the building, which, if it goes ahead, will close the building for next summer.
New year highlight: Siobhan Redmond returns to the salon
“i 10 Nov 1998 THE [ISTBS