SHORT PLAY SEASON Highland Shorts gciitnburgh: Traverse, Tue 19—Sun 24
‘The Traverse learned early in its Highland touring that long-term commitment to the North of Scotland was all-important and that a fleeting visit would be useless.‘ Philip Howard, artistic director at the Traverse Theatre, is about to see the long-term project of working with writers from the North of Scotland come to fruition. After seven consecutive years of touring plays and organising writers‘ workshops in the Highlands and Islands, the Traverse in association with Tosg Scotland‘s Gaelic Theatre Company is launching its most ambitious tour to date.
Seven short plays from established and emerging writers, depicting a variety of stories, experiences, visions and voices from Highland life will be given their world premiere at the Traverse before embarking upon a wide-ranging whistle-stop tour of the North of Scotland. As Philip Howard explains: ‘Over the years of touring, it didn‘t escape our notice that the same people were coming to the workshops every year. After getting to know these people, the idea came about to create the touring show out of these workshops.‘
With the aim of presenting the diversity of Highland culture, Howard stresses that no brief was given to the commissioned writers: ‘We encouraged them to write about whatever they wanted, and in some cases it‘s not about the area it’s set in or notions of cultural identity at all.‘ There will be two female and two male actors performing the fifteen-minute plays, three of whom speak Gaelic. At least one of the plays will be performed in Gaelic. The seven shorts are: Auld Lang Syne by Grace Barnes, Quiet The Dog by George Gunn, I‘d Rather Go Blind by Duncan McLean, A Different Species by Marjory Callender, Song by Carol I Walker, Scot Free by Gordon Urquhart and Alexander Salamander (or The Story Of A
Heatherly pursuits: Highland Shorts
Teenage Pyromaniac) by Iain F MacLeod (performed in Gaelic).
The project, as much about consolidating a commitment already articulated as encouraging new writers, will again feature workshops alongside the production. As Howard says: ‘Hopefully people will see these plays and be inspired to write themselves. It comes back to that old cliché that we‘ve all got a novel in us. Our aim is to encourage writers, especially young writers, working in the Highlands to realise their talent.’
The Traverse shows a good record of success with such tours, having created spaces for a number of well- regarded writers. Notable among these is David Harrower. whose debut Knives In Hens produced enormous acclaim in 1995. Well established writers such as the late lain Crichton Smith have also been associated with this touring system. (Catherine Bromley)
Fancy a Zbang'I: Jasmine Vardimon and Luke Burrough
we get more invitations and more curiosity.’
MM. is a riveting distillation of a famous drama by a French playwright. The unsaid author’s estate has forbidden Vardimon to use either its title or the creator’s name to promote her dance. Whether or not you recognise the source, there's no denying that this female duet rings with psychological truth. Lithe, willowy Vardimon and compact Liat Shinar- Ogden play twisted sisters locked in a private hothouse world. Their contorted movement language is augmented by lunges and a constant gestural filigree.
Using the Biblical myth of Salome as inspiration, Tete casts the pair as rivals for the attentions of well-built, but
Zbang Dance Company
Glasgow: CCA at the McLeIlan Galleries, Thu 7-Fri 8 Oct.
Obsession. Eroticism. The impulse to murder. Losing one's head, literally. These are among the dark themes artfully pulsing through the work of choreographer Jasmin Vardimon.
‘I like to explore the thin line between
health and sickness, deviance and morality,’ the fine-boned 28-year-old says. Having danced in her native Israel, Vardimon came to the UK in 1996. She founded Zbang Dance Company the following year. The name derives from Hebrew comic strip lingo for an explosion. This pair of dance- theatre pieces being shown at the CCA have garnered Vardimon wide international acclaim. ‘From every tour
indifferent, Luke Burrough, the Object Man of their conflicting desires. Clad in a thin shift and grinning like a shy, horny hayseed, Vardimon is all sneaky- sweet seduction. Shinar-Ogden embodies jealous rage. The carefully choreographed cartoon violence includes sudden, vicious flip-overs and take-downs. It has to end badly. And
you’re unlikely to forget it. (Donald
Glasgow: Citizens' Theatre, Thu 21 Oct—Sat 13 Nov.
A professional linguist in a previous life, Citizens Theatre triumvir Robert David MacDonald has earned widespread acclaim for his successful translations of numerous European plays. This trend looks set to continue with a new version of Goethe’s Clavigo, which he both translates and directs. Never heard of it? Well don’t worry, few have. ’We’ve done Faust which everyone has heard of,‘ explains MacDonald, ’and we've done Tasso which a few people have heard of and now we're doing Clavigo which nobody has heard of.’
The plot revolves around a young writer in the Spanish court who turns his back on a previous lover in order to pursue his literary ambitions. But, as ever, the conflict between life and love is the basis for tragic events. ’The most interesting thing about it is that it was based on a true story,’ states MacDonald. ’All the people in the true story were still alive when he wrote it. One of the main figures is Beaumarchais, the author of The Marriage Of Figaro and this story had actually happened to him.’
Written early in Goethe's career, MacDonald has altered the original by whittling down the text and removing some of the minor characters. But why another Goethe at this particular time? ’It is the 250th anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest writers Europe has ever produced,’ explains MacDonald, ’and it would be a good idea to do something by him. I don’t suppose anybody else in the Kingdom will.’ (Davie Archibald)
Cunning linguist: Robert David MacDonald
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7—21 Oct 1999 THE U31 55