Glasgow: Tron Theatre, Tue 24—Sat 28 Nov.

The box office strategy currently in place at the Tron has nothing to do with block-bookings or two-for-one ; deals. With the auditorium under a refurbishment, artistic director Irina

Brown has chosen a novel way to introduce her audience to the swish new ticket office, eye-pleasingly designed in Mondrian-inspired gridplan. She’s staging a play in it.

'I think it’s very important for the Tron that we're very much alive and . we have fantastic stuff here,‘ says E Brown, radiating confidence over i coffee in the theatre’s handsome

new bar. ‘We're definitely not going i to stop doing theatre just because 5 the auditorium isn’t there.’ i Described as ‘a site-specific promenade performance’, Speedrun I creates opportunities for no fewer

than nine young artists. A youthful cast of five women 2 and two men perform the show, on a multi-levelled set by Jude Kerr, a PhD design student from Wimbledon School of Art. Speedrun also marks the professional debut of 21-year-old writer Isabel Wright, who proffered an early version during discussions with Brown about a


l future series of writer’s workshops.

I; ‘She's brilliant,‘ says Brown, who has spent three 5 months working closely with Wright to develop the script. 'She has great imagination and a great way with i words. It's been a really creative dialogue not like a

teacher and a pupil.’

l Set in a Glasgow pub on Hogmanay, Speedrun centres i on the seven characters' desires and aspirations. ‘It’s : basically about the desperate need to find a way to link i to another soul, to connect,’ says Brown. ’They want l

Who needs an auditorium?: Tron director Irina Brown

everything and they want it yesterday. All the insecurities come up because the world says it has to be faster and better and bigger. It’s that kind of rush to live, to have done it all berore you have the chance to grow up - sort of life to the right of the fast lane.’

Phew! Sounds like it lives up to its name then. But what

about staging it? Wouldn’t the bar be a better setting

for a pub-play? ’lt’s not a literal play,’ counters Brown. ’lt's non-linear it’s a post-modern piece and I’m telling the story in a post-modern way. That sounds intellectual but it‘s not. It‘s very sensual - all those young muscles

need to physically stretch their way out to the blue sky.’

it's (Andrew Burnet)


; Pain

' Glasgow: Ole‘ T-ruitmarket, Sat 21 &

Sun 22 Nov; Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre, Thu 2b-—Sun 29 Nov.

Grazed L'HM'S in the playground and bad haiiriovms later on might be the worst physical pain many of us ever I suffer Others live With it every day of their lives, and some choose to channel it into art t Graham Cunnington has lived With

Life hurts: Graham Cunnington in Pain

chronic rheumatoid arthritis far 34 years; for fifteen of those he worked on fiercely political and physical theatre With the Glasgow-based pertoririaiice corripany Test Department, wh t.h later became NVA Then he turned |ll'-.'./clltl to write and perform Run, a far 'tiore personal piece about his pain and its impact upon his life 'l began to v-xor'k. through the roots of the path where it comes from, and how I r. ould release it creatively,‘ Cunnington explains

Is it a question of educatinu tits audience, or of unhurdenint; himself7

" am my

Judging from the platforms, ladders and climbing ropes, going to

be an energetic journey. 5;)0r5, r/(j'h:

'8oth,’ he replies 'lt is part of an emrcisiri. But the audience reaction is strong, and it helps me to draw other people into the story} Performing Pain is emotional for him ’l did it because it the very worst thiaq I could iri;a<;'r‘.e doing." lie laughs. 'It makes But pain has tart-t ted what : do, and this puts me in \‘.'!ill liow l am shaped

me \.€"l"./ Joint-rattle truth i.‘.':‘.'t‘i :t by it ' ‘.\.'i‘itir:i: about illness has been much ;v:ti:ised at late as maudlin and sell- s'idulrient, t‘ut {.uiiniriciton disagrees 9am. and death are taboo subjects ‘t.N-'r‘:ti.'iri about it brings it closer and promotes a more open attitude' he see his illness as an opportunity to appreciate life more? ’l'm very pasitive about it If you moan ')l‘. about it, people won’t connect. You wont transloriri it, and it has to be transformed, or it won't be healed' cuiirtirititoii's audience \‘-Jl” not leave éeeiinri rlotzriicas't, he hopes, but rather inspired by his defiance and his cleteriiiinatuin to respond creatively to his taritzitioii 'Beiiig "better" is abstratt anyway,’ he points out. ’Who's to say who is disabled and who isn’t7' t Hannah ivl: Gill)


preview THEATRE

Stage whispers Why the Bard should be ban‘ed . . .

IN A LETTER to The Stage, the trade weekly for actors, a mystery correspondent from Durham University has challenged the usual perception of Shakespeare’s genius. ’None of his characters are consistent,’ rages Andrew Lyons. ‘None of his plots are coherent. The men are all homosexual and the women are either vicious, or go mad, or die. Do we really want to keep him as the figurehead of English culture?‘ The List called Durham in a bid to contact the iconoclastic Lyons, but the university could find no trace of him among either staff or students. Good Lord, what madness rules in brainsick men!

EQUALLY INSANE WAS the idea of turning the railway arches behind Glasgow‘s Central Station into a theatre, but despite pitiful levels of funding, the Arches is a flourishing venue for drama and club nights. It’s mostly thanks to director Andy Arnold, whose Under Milk Wood is currently wowing audiences (see review, page 70). Now Arnold has been shortlisted for Prudential’s Creative Britons Awards, the UK’s biggest arts prizes, worth a total of £200,000. Twenty names appear on the shortlist, from which six finalists will win £20,000 apiece, while the outright winner receives a further £80,000. All prizes are donated to the arts organisation of the winner‘s choice. Arnold, one suspects, would choose the Arches Theatre.

ALONG THE ROAD at the Tron Theatre, artistic director Irina Brown is getting the company back in action in the box office (see preview, left). The refurbished main theatre will not re-open until June, but Brown has revealed that its first show will be a production of David Greig‘s new play, The Cosmonaut’s Last Message To The Woman He Once Loved In The Former Soviet Union. ‘It‘s about Edinburgh and the Cosmos,‘ explains Brown. ‘lt‘s deep yet accessible; funny yet sad.’ And Shakespeare had no hand in it, so it might be quite good.

Underneath the Arches: Andy Arnold


l9 Nov—3 Dec 1998 THE “ST 67