(I to r) Barrie Hunter, Gary Mclnnes and Steven Duffy in a funny, poignant and emotional new play
NEW PLAY Our Bad Magnet
Glasgow: Tron Theatre, until Sat 17 Jun < -
As we grow older, we realise something about home. Home is that place where you lived when you were young, the place where you still have friends and can still be accepted by those you were close to then. But home is a myth, since it isn't really a place; it's a time in your life that you can't return to. You can see the same, older faces there, but you can only rake over old times with them, since they've changed, and so, my friend, have you. This poignant issue of human mutability has seldom been so well explored as here, in Douglas Maxwell’s often comical, but ultimately emotionally draining script.
The play tells the story of four men, tracing their development through three phases in their lives from childhood to teenage years in Girvan, then to their late twenties. One of their number, Giggles (Alasdair Macrae), seems to meet a tragic end in the middle phase. This latter character weaves rich, mythic narratives, which run from fairytale through the everyday to the bible, for the amusement of his chums. These three, the intense, clever and alienated Fraser (Steven Duffy), the doltish and tactless suburbanite Alan (Barrie Hunter) and the slick and duplicitous Paul (Gary Mclnnes) are ultimately bonded only by mutual
Stand on me if it isn’t modern dance
guilt over the fate of their friend, whose stories they have finally published.
Jim Twaddale’s production is ingenious in its richly evocative take on three phases of life. His actors move beautifully as children, and make the most of Maxwell's well-realised pre-pubescent idioms. So too, is the teenagers’ mix of confidence and insecurity created with authenticity. But if young folk can be cruel, and in these two phases they often are, there's little to match the ruthless deceptions and rationalisations of adulthood. And the grown-up versions of these boys are a timely reminder of how our golden childhoods also created their fair share of running sores which never heal.
Each of Giggles' stories are about forms of intolerance, and end with change bringing tragedy, seeming to prefigure his own fate and satirising, symbolically, his friends. Whether this boy, troubled by abusive domestic circumstances was, ‘born miserable’, or made so by his ill-treatment becomes less relevant to the surviving characters than their own capacity to explain him away. Maxwell’s script starts with one storyteller, and ends with three more, as each survivor justifies his life through recourse to their own forms of language. 0n the way, it tells us much about our desire to look back, and the impossibility of doing so.
relationship, and I started looking at everything that had happened during that time,’ explains Douglas ’And then I heard the Cardigans song ”I Would Dre For You and something clicked, I thought about the state that people can get into after a long relationship, as one person’s walking out the door, the other one's on their knees begging them not to go. And how did they get there? What started off as a Iovmg, raring relationship has turned into this nightmare’
Strewn wrth flowers, bathed in candlelight and wrth a Video image of slowly decaying flowers, Douglas likens the set to an art Installation The Visual assault is matched by an equally
Morir Por Ti
Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre, Sat 10 Jun, then touring.
There are a number of ways to deal With the demise of a relationship. Retail therapy, casual sex, food excess. But Norman Douglas, seasoned choreographer and founder of Edinburgh-based dance company The Ensemble, (hose Mor/r For 7/ Translated from Spanish to mean I
70 THE “ST 8 72 Jun 2000
Wou/d Die For You, the piece, says Douglas, is a love story. But this production, which debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe last year, is no Mills and Boon, For 55 minutes, dancers Tone Gellein and ETI( Tessrer—lavrgne pull, punch, tear and scratch each other in a brutal display of love gone wrong, He bites her, she stretches (ling film over hrs face, he lifts her tip by her hair. Hardly the stuff of romance. But what inspired this physical outburst?
’I had just come out of a twelve-year
abrasive aural offering, With the spec ially (omiriissioned score featuring the sound of a Boeing 74/ taking off. All in all it’s a pretty intense package, and an exercise in voyeurism verging on the uncomfortable.
’The whole piece has been choreographed as if you've Just walked into someone's livmg room,’ says Douglas. 'lt's very harrowrng, but what it does do is make people question their own behaVIour in relationships.’ (Kelly Apter‘)
CHILDREN’S THEATRE The Prince And The Pilot
Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith Theatre, Sat 17 Junthentounng.
The oldest cliche in children’s theatre is the chestnut about how this show is equally accessible to adults and children. On this occaSIon, though, there are grounds for behevrng the claim. Borderline's new adaptation of Antome De Saint Exupery's only children’s story boasts a magical, mythic landscape, as well as a basis in real-life experience. Another factor is Anita Sullivan, the adaptor of Leslie Finlay’s production. This young writer’s work has, like the original author’s, been largely geared to an adult audience
About five years ago, Sullivan made a name for herself With Just Whores, a play documenting the life and times of Edinburgh prostitutes, which has undergone reVIvals all over the UK, Its latest incarnation Currently being rehearsed in Brighton. She is also known for Monumental, Grid lron’s 1999 site specrfic piece, performed in and around the Citizens' Theatre, a free-flowrng fantasy dealing wrth the ghost of the Sowet poet Mayakovsky and a runaway Glasgow teenager. This piece was not universally well received, but the writer's innovative approach and storyline was certainly remarked upon.
Here, we deal wrth issues of love, friendship and grief, in a story about a little prince who lives on another planet and goes out questing as a result of demands made by a rose he loves. When a pilot crashes in the desert, he meets the prince and together they encounter such creatures as a fox and a snake, as well as many lessons about life. This sad story is also about the original author’s own life. ’He was one of the early avrators,’ Sullivan explains. ’More than once he crashed his plane in deserts and had to find a way back to safety.’
Sullivan speaks of a rigorous preparation, playing in workshops and prevrews to audiences of children in developing the show. ’We've learned so much from them,’ she says. 'They ask questions that really challenge you. One of them asked why he didn’t use his mobile phone when he crashed. A lot of the time it's been about listening to them, so you (an get it rrght.’
Lynne Edmonstone plays a pilot with an awareness of love and grief