THEATRE reviews

CLASSIC The Tempest

Barrhead Sports Centre, Glasgoxa, Tue 23—Sat 27 Jan.

William Shakespeare's fantastical tale of revenge, romance and repentance, in which Prospero, an exiled magician, casts a spell to shipwreck his enemies on his desert island, is a powerful and imaginative play considered by many to be his greatest. As an introduction to Shakespeare, The Tempest is ideal.

Nevertheless, despite the efforts of Baz Luhrmann, some still perceive Shakespeare as too high brow and stuffy. Assistant director, Kate Hall, of Stratford upon Avon's second greatest export, the Royal Shakespeare Company, defends the Bard: ’I think The Tempest would be hard pushed to be stuffy; it’s got so many elements that it just can't be. There's magic, young lovers, clowns, people getting drunk, assassination

plots, enchanted trees with clothes in them, spirits;

everything unexpected happens.’

Director, James Macdonald, as an acclaimed producer of groundbreaking new work, is keen to stay true to the original First Folio text, while at the same time viewing the RSC world touring production of The Tempest as a fresh new work. 'One of the first decisions I made was to have a rehearsal script typed out using the original folio punctuation,’ he says. 'I wanted to get as close as possible to the experience of looking at the play from scratch. People tend to arrive with a certain amount of baggage about the play . . . by not looking at the notes you can sometimes come up with a reading others

haven't already thought of.’

Macdonald’s experience as a director of controversial



Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 26—Sat 27 Jan, then touring. Hopefully, most of us Will get the chance to experience those golden, twrlight years, no more hard work, long, blissful SAGA holidays and heady afternoons spent watching

56 THE lIST l8 Jan—l Feb 2001

Prospero's crooks: The RSC Tempest

new work, such as Sarah Kane's last play, 4.48 Psychosis,

combined with his work at the RSC, should guarantee a

fresh, yet authentic interpretation of a great writer whose works look like enduring for as long as the medium of theatre itself.

‘I think certain approaches to Shakespeare may date, but the writing itself is like any good writing of literature or plays, because it's about us, and we don't actually change that much, so I think it will always have a resonance,’ says Hall. ’lt's really about always approaching Shakespeare with that fresh attitude; not doing a play as if it’s a piece of history; that may be the dangerous place to go. But when you're working as if

it's a new play, you just end up going, "Wow, what

Don't press mute on the elderly: Glimpse

\r'i/atercolour Challenge and Countdown Nope, not the charms of student-hood, but the gentle onset of old acre On the other hand, old age can, for some, mean disorientation, forgetfulness and the ravages of senilrty.

Glimpse, Vanishing Pornt's exploration of the lost world of senile dementia

fantastic writing"!' (Olly Lassman)

tells the tale of one elderly woman who holds conversations With her televrsron, grows fake flowers on her walls, and reveals the stories that are lost somewhere in her mind. Sound far-fetched? Director Matthew lenton hopes so. 'As a director, if I was to pitch an idea about this illness that causes people to think that pink plastic Chrysanthemums grow out of their walls or that everyone they talk to has a little boy behind their shoulder wavrng at them, it would seem far- fetched,’ he says. 'But the thing is, it's actually true.’

After months of research, the Glasgow-based Vanishing Pornt has created a play which redefines perceptions of a disease which is rarely done JUSIICP, ’It began being about the mystery embedded in dementia, rather than what a lot of people associate With it: greyness and porridge dribbling down chins. What we’ve fOund is remarkable, a raw kind of poetry, a heightened, surreal yet perceptive language that any writer would struggle to achieve '

Through a process of psychological archaeology, Vanishing Pornt also extracts stories from the woman’s past as an archaeologist herself, discovering an ancrent woman’s body in the ground, and the tragic story of that woman's history. ’While there’s a bleak reality to it, there's something remarkable ab0ut dementia, Where something’s locked up, it’s also unleashed, And, I think that also goes for the imagination' (Olly Lassmani



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