NEW TRANSLATION Solemn Mass For A Full Moon In Summer

Edinburgh: Traverse, until Sat 13 May A k a. at One of the leading imperatives of late capitalist society, perhaps the most important from the point of view of social control, is to give us the impression that we're all alone out there, that there is no common bond between us, and that our experiences are unique to ourselves. If we all feel as if we're caught in our own little boxes, without anything in common with fellow human beings, we’re eminently more pliable within any system created for us. Now, anyone who has offered tea and sympathy to a friend undergoing a relationship crisis will see the self- evident untruth of this notion. After a few such meetings, you realise that the dilemmas expressed, and the language they're expressed in are often very much the same as others, the same, indeed, as our own.

It is this realisation that Bill Findlay’s and Martin Bowman's

translation of Michel Tremblay's 1996 Québecois drama liberates and explores. Taking the shape and function of that oldest form of French-speaking theatre, the Catholic Mass, the play explores the emotional lives of eleven characters of, on the face of it, quite different sexual, social and class backgrounds. But the function of a Mass is to bring together a broad range of people and allow them to realise their commonality through worship, and on six balconies of an apartment block, each enclosed by cage-like railings, these characters realise the common bonds of human fellowship to us, if

not themselves.

After the first ritualised, incantatory cries to a probably absent deity, through each interlapping, rhythmic monologue we’re presented with a young and very much in lust couple, a gay couple, one of whom is HIV positive, a troubled and violent middle aged lesbian couple, a mother unable to accept her son's gayness, a

t Eng.“ r:

’Very much in lust’: lohn Kazec and Molly Innes

daughter left to care for a father debilitated by an industrial accident and a widow longing for her deceased husband. All weep, fast and pray to the god of human companionship, to the realisation that, after all the individualist bullshit, we’re social animals, incomplete without a significant other and a relationship to the world.

Philip Howard and Ros Steen direct a complex business with assurance. The rhythms and linguistic resonances of this play demand close attention and get it from a splendid cast. It would be counter to the structure and

intent of the piece to pull out individuals among them,

(Steve Cramer)

so it suffices to say that each performs their choral function with dexterity and beauty. My only reservation is Tremblay’s attention to his religious and generic precedent, which allows the play to run for five minutes longer than its obvious climax.

Alex Lowe in The Wrestling

68 THE “ST 13—2] Apr 2000

Recreating the naff 70s:


The Wrestling/

The Nation's Favourite: The True Adventures Of Radio 1

Glasgow: Tron Theatre, Fri 19 & Sat 20 May.

Fat Bloke Productions. The name says it all, though director Tim Norton claims no knowledge of how his backers came up with the title, it seems to suit the jovially unpretentious manner of this production. These two one man shows, both performed by the dynamic and highly skilled Alex Lowe, already have a track record of success, having performed to good houses at the Fringes of 98 and 99. Each show takes a knowing look at Britain’s last remaining growth industry nostalgia by examining two great media institutions of the past; Saturday afternoon wrestling, and Radio 1.

The Wrestling speaks eloquently of the days when we didn’t have to feel so anxious about our hospitals and schools, and offers, Norton says, pure theatricality. ’lt's about wrestling in the 60s and 70s,’ he says. 'lt’s riveting for people in their thirties and forties,

because it was such an institution on Saturday afternoon’s World Of Sport with Dickie Davis. It was the most bizarre thing. Even if you turned it off straight away it made an impression, because these people, Mick McManus, Giant Haystacks and so forth, weren’t pigeon-holed as wrestlers, they were performers in their own right.’

Norton argues for the kitsch appeal of the play. 'There was something desperately amateurish about it which had a really broad appeal,’ he says ’Your granny watched it, and so did the Queen, who was a great fan. It all plays like panto.’

This play, like The Nation’s Favourite was adapted by Lowe from a book by Simon Garfield. The latter piece takes a sideswipe at the personalities and immense egos of Radio 1 Dis at the time, a decade ago, when Matthew Bannister was appointed controller with a brief to cut away the dead wood and relaunch the station. Full of wicked impersonation and splendid parody, it tells the story from Bannister's point of View. With both plays substantially reworked, there are opportunities for previous fans to return and new ones to be converted. (Steve Cramer)

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MODERN DANCE Guangdong Modern Dance Company Edinburgh: Festival Theatre, Wed 24 & Thu 25 May.

Less than a montl‘ after nimble l<ussran footsteps graced the l-estival Theatre stage, Edinburgh once again welcomes an international dance Lorr'lpany. Based in mainland China, Guangdong is one of only two professional modern dance companies operating in its native land, and this is its first time on British so” since forming in l982. An interesting mix of old and and East meets West, the programme features two rep pieces alongside a recent composition by founder rineiiber Shen Wei, and ,1“: but fuse/rubly by British choreoguaphers Charl.e ’.lorrissey and Becky Edinurds

Speaking froin Bimhton as they wait to welcome Guangdong t) the town's annual arts festival, lslorrmsey explains the difficulties of lllFTlpllTQ the language barrier: ’Everythn'ig had to go through an interpreter, and often it was impossible to know whether you were actually getting througl'i, because the interpreters weren’t that versed in dance. You'd say sonietl‘ that you thought Liitrler‘s.:'vx_i:i and then nothing would hobo-1: "

Fortunately for then, former Guangdon" «fiance: and nos. flex. York resident Sl'ei‘. er ieturr.~'«ri to (luna to work on a new piece. '5\s soozp as he started to translate, you could see the penny di'op,’ laughs i".'i't}."ll‘5‘.r(~?y'.

Morrissey and lfidn'iunds' style of working came as quite a shock to the Guangdong used to choreographers up all the steps already in instead they set about creating a piece that 9.22s pure collaboratior. l-rin'? art to go in

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and make a ghett-

Wit/i tnern," l.‘._,:‘:"sst:g.i '»“-.:‘d they responded '.\-a' lit , .'.'r_>re;\.'t simply dome 9.3:.2’ i? xii-r2, they really felt l'lw the, r_ Mid i’r‘.'t.". the piece.‘

The diveisrty t-f' ("2e i.,)...'<il‘i’)‘idLJi"ig members show?» also :riaL-e for interesting \.ie=.~.::*u '3 irtiagine if the dancers lived in Europe they’d all be

dancing in d?

different null- ,' , because {laey're .:‘

gentpiries‘ doing l.loi‘i‘:ssey 'But (liiira, they're all in

that one corri'mnv, much is one of the

most llllt‘.’(.“;ill‘(_l things

they have this ii'tia; "(l "

(Kelly z‘triteil

about them,

Asian dance and Western contexts: Guangdong