POL TICAL DRAMA A Little Rain
Glasgow: Belshill Community Centre, Sat 21 Oct ~
With a heady brew of working-class despair and existential whimsy, Peter Arnott has created a successful play, but to what end is unclear. His third part of 7:84’s state-of—the-nation trilogy doesn't do what its publicity purports, but it does have an effect. After David Greig's Caledonia Dreaming, which looked forward to devolution, and Stephen Greenhorn's Dissent which spoke of the time of its realisation, Arnott's piece, set a year on, is at a tangent to the issues. Less 3 state- of-the-nation play than a succession of snapshots of various lives, the play's final political point is muted by the many roads and few maps of postmodernist doctrine.
As a group of people shelter in the pub, rains of biblical proportions fall outside. Andy (Callum Cuthbertson), a grief-stricken retired schoolteacher, spends the first half in the dunny, composing poetry. Outside Michael (Cas Harkins), a journalist consumed with loathing for his profession and his support of Celtic, meets Phil (Stuart Wilkinson), an old school friend and failed novelist, who declares the ambition: 'l’m going to live inside my own head; I’ll live off the state in a bedsit’.
Their competitive friendship is made all the more tense by the arrival of Danni (Anita Vettresse), Michael's partner, who humiliates him by flirting with Phil. Meanwhile, Morag (Janette Foggo), an old whore with a heart of some baser element than gold, advises Annie (Maggie Rose-Munro), a more recent recruit to the profession, that she isn't up to professional standard. As the night progresses and drunkenness increases, these characters make enemies of themselves and each other, as we're wont to do in these conditions, and it all ends in tears.
It's all very well to see the nation through the various individual struggles that make it up, but there’s so little
Authentic, non-linear energy
Strong performances, but is it the ideology of despair?
sense of unity between these struggles that the difficult, problematical rebuilding that Dissent left us with is abandoned here to despair. If there's no way out, why should we try?
Arnott’s dialogue intercuts between internal monologue and straight discussion, a trope which alternately elucidates and confuses, but ultimately works under Gordon Laird's direction. Strong performances from Cuthbertson, as the dishevelled and disillusioned old man and Harkins, whose doubts about the waste of his talents shifts subtly from a trickle to a torrent, are highlights. But the production leaves me with the uneasy feeling that 7284's ideology has drifted away from the gentleman who reminded us that ’man is a social animal’, and is these days closer to the lady who said ‘there's no such thing as society, only the individuals that make it up'. (Steve Cramer)
announce their characters through lonely hearts newspaper prose, and proceed to build a complex picture of the inexplicable, infantile grandeur of love A woman speaks of how she practised marriage at the age of four, a man talks of a chance meeting leading to love, and another woman tells of sex with the only person less appropriate than immediate family, your flatmate Through it all there's an authentic, non-linear energy
The actors move among the audience shining spotlights on each other as they take turns through monologue and ciuologue in conveying immediate experience The tWitchy, neurotic business of trying to get along in the
The Ice Factory, Perth, Fri 27 Oct, then
There are a few people who think the only difference between a good shit and a good shag is that you don't have to cuddle a shit for twenty minutes afterx'.‘aids lhese folk, a very small number of men, and a smaller number of women, can send you from their bed and off into the cold dark morning the instant their pleasure is had Red
60 THE lIST '9 Oct 2 '.r;. 200(2-
though, is not about the sociopaths, it's about the rest of us
This Boilerhouse production defines in observant and exquisite detail the many nuances and dilemmas of love, identifying, as we should, the crucial issue as intimacy, not sex Paul Pinson's production uses movement, song and sound to relay to us all the dangerous exhilaration we feel when we hid the oh so significant other, and all the guilt, pain and trauma of their loss
Six twentysomething clubbers
absence the person without whom we are incomplete is conveyed with articulacy through physical ticks and Jerks, and the humour of the whole thing is not forgotten
This collaborative venture is supremer movrng and believable, and if in the latter stages there's a mich danger of repetition, let it pass, for this is a play that we can authenticate through what we feel Sociopaths won't get it, but the rest of us will lSteve Cramei'i
SHAKESPEAREAN CLASSIC Romeo And Juliet
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Tue 24 Oct—Sat 18 Nov.
There can’t be many peOple who haven't seen what IS arguably Shakespeare’s best known play in one form or another While this is all very well for raising the general Cultural standard, it does pose something of a challenge for anybody wanting to produce it today How do you make it fresh and exCiting Without straying too far from the original text?
The Royal Lyceum Theatre Company believes that it has found a way. The inspiration came from two photographs: 'Wedding In Beirut', by Jay Ullal, which shows a Christian bride and Muslim groom in bombed- out Beirut, and a newspaper picture showmg a Serb man and his Muslim girlfriend shot dead trying to escape Sarajevo. The design-heavy, multimedia production includes sixteen tons of rubble, a blown-up car and Video proiections, all of which reflect the troubled setting for the play. 'lt's not specifically Beirut or Serbia,' says designer Hayden Griffin. ’lt’s Just a city in strife. It coold be anywhere but the point is that this is happening all over the world.’
The production is very much aimed at a yoonger audience, and consequently, there’s not a pair of tights in sight. Instead, the Capulets are ’real city slickers', and the lvlontagues are 'moneyed grunge'. ’The language is Shakespearean and that can sometimes put young people off,’ says Gl’lfflll, 'We felt that if the characters looked like them, they will get more out of the production. We don't particularly care if the oldies like it or not, because if they don't, they can always go and see a romantic version on film '
And talking of film, arty updated version of this play \.VIII inevitably draw comparisons wrth Bax Luhrmann’s version Will they be Justified? ’That is very pertment,’ agrees Griffzn. ’l deliberater haven't seen the film because I run the risk of doing things which happen in it. We are trying to do very similar things' tKii'sty Knaggsi
Designer Hayden Griffin appealing to a younger audience