One-Woman Drama

Haunted Edinburgh: Traverse, until Sat 26 Jun thentounng.

Guilt. It’s often spoken of as a physical presence, something that keeps you awake at night, reminding you that it’s still around. Haunting you. For middle-aged property agent Kate, this is no mere metaphorical expression her fifteen-year-old burden of shame really does appear to be physically manifesting itself. As she struggles to come to terms with the events happening in the present, she begins to relive the past in an attempt to exorcise her ghosts.

Haunted is the eighth production from The MsFits, a partnership between writer Rona Munro and actress Fiona Knowles which has spanned thirteen years. It’s a heartbreaking story of politics, betrayal, guilt, relationships, motherhood and, most of all, the bond of friendship between two very different women. Simply hearing Knowles relate the story is enough to reduce you to tears it really is that powerful.

’It is a very emotive piece,’ she agrees. ’I still cry when I’m rehearsing it, but it does have its funny bits too. Sometimes the audience will laugh in the right places, but other times, they’ll get drawn into the whole emotional journey and they won't laugh at all.’

Although Munro writes the material, she and Knowles do work very much together on their projects. 'Rona is definitely the ideas person,’ Knowles explains. ’She’ll phone up and say “Why don’t we do a play about blah . . and then we get together and sit down to talk about lots of things based around that subject. It then seeps its way into her subconcious and she goes away and writes it, but there is definitely input from both of us.’

Behind you!: Fiona Knowles in Haunted

Following Munro’s huge success with writing for television, stage and screen - including BAFTA nominated Bumping The Odds - Knowles was concerned that she may want to give up their partnership. ’I asked her if she was still happy to do it,’ she recalls, ‘but she said it was still really important to her, and that she thinks it’s the best work she does.’

Although their collaborations are specifically geared towards women, the actual issues explored are ones that both sexes can identify with, and even the most hardened macho man who sees this will be moved. ’It is good material and it does reach people,’ assures Knowles. ‘Bring your hankie.’ (Kirsty Knaggs)

Stage whispers Prompts from the theatre world.

THE LAST MONTH has been an uneasy one for the Scottish Arts Council, it has to be said. After The List’s reports of the satirical badgering the body received at the hands of Channel 4 drama Coming Up, and some not terribly veiled criticism from Theatre Babel artistic director Graham McLaren, other voices, in a kind of mysterious cultural zeitgeist, have since been added to the melee.

Michael MacKenzie, representing Scottish Equity, has spoken up for the thesps with an attack on the amount spent by the SAC on administration. Pointing out that the luvvie on the ground sees little of the cash, MacKenzie expressed the hope that he would not be sticking his head above parapet alone. At the moment, though, it’s less a parapet peep, than a Somme- style divisional offensive. With the recent resignation of Ruth MacKenzie from the directorship of the Scottish Opera making most arts workers’ current favourite album QUANGO In The Night.

ON THIS SUBJECT, we can only express sadness at the resignation of so distinguished a general director. Ruth MacKenzie steered a wise course in difficult days, adding a sense of adventure to Scottish Opera’s productions, without quite alienating her established audience - a difficult trick to pull off. Ultimately, she found the task of presiding over the merger with Scottish Ballet ’a poisoned chalice' and it’s clear enough that this vessel was hammered out by SAC

Angika’s Mayuri Boonham and Subathra Subramaniam

| THE “ST 24 Jun—>8 Jul 1999


ASIAN DANCE Cut From The Cloth

Paisley: Arts Centre, Tue 29 Jun & Sat 3 Jul.

Asian performance in Paisley? Let's admit it, this doesn't seem the most likely place to host a collaboration of exotic performance from the other side of the world. Manager of the Paisley Arts Centre, John Harding, IS the first to admit that 'the cultures do seem diverse, but we do have a connection'

Remember, of course, that the Paisley pattern is a prominent design in Asian textile and artwork an avenue explored in Paisley Museum's current exhibition Uncut Cloth, part of The Shot festival. For another aspect of the festival, Harding inVited ASian performers to Scotland to create Cut From The Cloth, a celebration of diverse cultural heritage. It's a bold premiere for performers and audience alike.

In July, 3 double bill of two dances. Sudarsana and Kala, features Angika dancers Mayuri Boonham and

Subathra Subramaniam, who were raised on the South Indian dance disopline of Bharata Natyam, Fusmg the traditional With new moves, Mayuri describes the dances as 'contemporary in the sense of the new application of ideas to old movements. We keep Within a traditional framework while making the dances acceSSible to contemporary audiences.'

On a musical note, Cut From The Cloth's final night features Rizwan- Muazam Qawwali Group, a collection of nine Singers from Pakistan. Led by four young brothers With 500 years of family history in Qawwali Singing in their blood, the vocalists perform devotional praise songs based upon classic Islamic and Sufi texts.

Putting Paisley on the map of international performance, Cut From The Cloth highlights the diverse cultural heritage of the area and offers the regular audience a taste of something spicy. (TraCy Griffen)

II Rizwan.Muazam. Tue 29 Jun. 7 30pm. Angika. Sun 3 Jul, 7 30pm


The troubled merger, negotiated three years ago with Scottish Office encouragement, now seems seriously damaged. It’s easy enough to slag off the SAC, and many in the profession do so (in private) at any opportunity, not calculating the difficulty of this organisation's tasks; but for all that, recent events have clarified the need for greater openness in its dealings with the Scottish arts community.

Drama out of a crisis: the cast of Coming Soon I