Theatre 0 Comedy 0 Dance



How does one of Europe's leading dance-theatre investigators reach the creative cutting edge? 'You drag it out of them,’ says American-born Meg Stuart about the dancer-actors upon whom she relies. ‘You seduce them, improvise, ask questions. You do everything you can.’

For appetite, the playful and large- scale communal oddity that is Stuart's Festival calling card, she and six other performers spent several months exploring movement. 'We made big lists of touches - scratch, slap, stroke - and worked a lot with the exchange of those. We talked a lot about the spaces inside physical space, trying to find shelter inside someone else. We discussed what it would mean to have a momentary feeling of lightness, and how to shed one's weight in the world. And I don’t mean masses of calories,’ she adds, giggling.

Stuart, a compact dynamo in her mid-30$, is a rapid-fire talker and thinker. Having studied and performed in New York with alumni of post-modern dance high- priestess Trisha Brown, early in this decade she began forging choreographic connections with Belgium. The physical intelligence and conceptual risk of her productions have put her Brussels-based company, Damaged Goods, on the international dance map.

Choreography, Stuart says, came naturally to her. 'I have a body. How does it work? Let me break it up in

Kiss a gobble: Appetite

parts, deconstruct it, as you would do in visual arts. I can make a dance for my hands and head, or a physical sketch of myself sitting, standing, lying, falling. It has to do with relating basic physical laws to situations with people. It's about being human.’ In appetite, devised with the cast in collaboration with installation artist Ann Hamilton, Stuart exposes the seemingly illogical patterns and dynamics of human behaviour. On a set anchored by its peeling, cracking clay floor, the performers try to connect through such actions as wrestling with stacks of clothing, blowing up balloons and consuming loaves of bread.

Will appetite satisfy a Festival audience's hunger for dance? Stuart has the last word: 'They have to be extremely open-minded.’ (Donald Hutera)

I For details, see Hit/ist, right.


Funeral Dames: Jane Brennan in The Wake

concubine to America's business-suit belt to grieve the grandmother she's lost. Setting up camp with Finbar (David Herlihy), a ne’er-do-well old flame, she makes contact with her family through her Anglophile brother- in-law Henry (Stephen Brennan) and these three go on a six-day drinking binge at the derelict hotel Vera is set to inherit. After being incarcerated for a time by her family of rapacious dysfunctionals, she comes to an agreement about the inheritance, on condition of imposing the bereavement ritual of the title upon her family.

This second act sequence is as powerful as anything seen this Festival. A little like walking into your own darkened kitchen and hearing something scurry past your feet, there's a sense of familiarity which combines with real eeriness at the realisation that something’s there that shouldn’t be. Both funny and alarming, this play experiments with

27 Aug, 2.30pm, £5 “"‘j‘ 33. :

The Wake *****

Ever been to the funeral of some relative you didn't much like? There's an ambiguous feeling to this, where you show a respect, but feel the ritual significance more strongly than the emotional. For Tom Murphy’s

characters, this is a universal condition, with no guilt attached, as contempt for all other members of the species, regardless of proximity in blood or affection, seems to be a given to human existence.

into this world steps Vera (lane Brennan), a Joycean exile from her native Ireland, who returns from the life of a moderately prosperous

naturalism by a succession of dislocations from reality, something seen particularly in Stephen Brennan's character, who seems to have come from quite another play, yet sets this one off nicely. (Steve Cramer)

I The Wake (International) Abbey Theatre Dublin, King’s Theatre 473 2000, until 27 Aug, 7.30pm (matinee 21, 2.30pm) £5-£22.50.

I I \’ Prime cuts from prime time The Wake See review, left. The Wake (International) Abbey Theatre Dub/in, Kings Theatre, 473 2000, until 27 Aug, 7pm; -£22.50.

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Appetite See preview, left. Appetite (International) Damaged Goods, Festival Theatre, 4 73 2000, 27—22 Aug, 7.30pm, £5—£20.

A Madman Sings To The Moon The trip out to the Brunton Theatre will be well worth your while for this amazing piece of theatre about a hostage situation in a trendy cafe. See review on following pages. A Madman Sings To The Moon (Fringe) Brunton Theatre Company, Brunton Theatre (Venue 797) 665 2240, until 28 Aug, 7.30pm, £7.50 (£3.50); 27, 25 Aug, 2.30pm, £5.50 (£4).

Wreck The Airline Barrier An exploration of the racism and bigotry inherent to the new right in the USA. Attitudes to ethnicity and other issues are explored in the frenetic context of a crashing airliner. See review on following pages. Wreck The Airline Barrier (Fringe) The Riot Group, Garage Theatre (Venue 87) 227 9009, until 29 Aug, 7.30pm. £5 (£4).

Adam Bloom: Beyond A Joke Engaging humour with the sweet and self-conscious Mr Bloom. See review on following pages. Adam Bloom: Beyond A Joke (Fringe) P/easance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 Aug, 7pm, £8.50/£ 7.50

7. 50/£ 6. 50).

The Lower Depths Gorky's exploration of the lives of characters with nothing to live for makes for powerful theatre with a surprising sense of,final affirmation. See preview on following pages. The lower Depths (International) R0 Theatre, Royal Lyceum I heatre. 4 73 2000, 24-27 Aug, 7.30pm, £6—£22.50.

19—26 Aug i999 TllE usr 4s