The Juju Girl

Aileen Ritchie's new play sees the Traverse Company explore an aspect of ourselves and our identity which we are often wont to forget. We think of ourselves as private individuals, cut off from the outside public and political world. However, the influences, mores and ideological views of our society are always part of our construction - the personal really is political. Thus Ritchie's story is very much a personal journey, but its implications are quite political, exploring the complex question of identity and colonial exploitation.

Ritchie’s tale is the story of Kate, 3 modern day Scottish woman attempting to trace the past of her grandmother Katherine (both characters are played by Susan Vidler), much of whose life was spent in an African colony in the days when there were many pink bits on the map. Director John Tiffany takes up the story. ‘Kate has been fascinated by her grandmother’s stories of Zimbabwe, so she goes there to find out more. In the process she discovers more about herself, as well as her grandmother.’

Tiffany emphasises the importance of the personal story of these two women, who are both represented in their times, as the

narrative shifts back and forward through history. Part of Kate’s journey, he tells us, alerts the audience to Scotland’s myth-making capacities: ’At one point, she speaks to an African character about how Scotland was colonised by the English, too, and gets the reply that the African's ancestors were colonised by the Scots.’ The complexity of the issues identified is shown by this incident alone. Tiffany points to the paradox inherent in colonialism today: 'In African nations at the present

(Steve Cramer)

Myth making: Looking For The Tallyman

THEATRE PREVIE‘v‘r’ Looking For The Tallyman

The function of myth in our socIety is more important than we think It’s though myths that we discover forms of universal experience, learning to empathise, as best we can, With other members of our society We tell Ourselves stems to understand the cautionary tales of our world, which are both very personal and very public Carran Waterfield, founder of Triangle Theatre, whose past work in phySIcal theatre includes the Fringe First-Winning fire Org, understands this well.

Her new play erI explore the anti- naturalist techniques already established by Triangle and, like most of her work, Will attempt to make accessible deeply personal experiences The story takes in the

Inner journey: The Juju Girl

time, and even in Eastern Europe after the Wall came down, we all cheer when capitalism arrives, but never ask ourselves whether this is an appropriate, or even a good thing for the people of these cultures.’

The cast of seven illustrates the international scope of the play, with five actors from three different African nations, as well as two local performers.

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childhood experiences of her :riritle' and a Succession children who when up in orphanages

'The experience of childhood,” Waterfield says, 'creates a lot of powerful images Talking to people, s0me Of them hrOLrght up ill poorhouses, you got the sense of these sinister, nightmare figures who Surrounded them, bringing them up, but also scarring them '

The powerful imagery is to the fore in this piece of theatre, hut it also tells a story, if not exactly of abuse, then at least of childhood trauma 'YOU can read what you like into it,' Waterfield adds, 'but what it tries to do is make an experience V.’ltl(ft might otherWise be covered in a documentary into something more real, by turning it into a kind of Hansel And Gretel fairytale '

(Steve Cramer) a For details. see Hit 1 ist. rig/it


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