MODERN CLASSIC GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, sat 8 Sep - Fri 5 Oct.

Neil McKinven is eating a pie. A steak pie. There’s a pint in front of both him, and his companion Steve McNicoll. The two of them have just completed a hard day’s rehearsals and have been called upon at short notice to give me an interview, so they’re still working. But, hey, they’re guys, they don’t mind. As the interview proceeds, more fellas from the production drift over to our table, pint in hand, in the wood smothered comfort of the pub. The atmosphere is pervaded by blokey growls, geezerful laughs and masculine ribbing. It causes me pause to reflect upon the sometimes sinister, always comfortable atmosphere of men with men.

And that’s the thing about David Mamet. So often accused of misogynism in his work, there’s something about the accuracy of his representation that continues to compel. I ask McNicoll about the alleged mysogynism of Mamet’s 1984 hit about a group of shabby real estate salesman, consumed by greed and self- interest, drawn into deceit, crime and double-cross by love of the workplace carrot, and fear of the

financial stick. ‘Well, yes, but it’s a great play about men.’ McNicoll, who comes to this production from success in the television comedy show, Velvet Soup, gives me more pause for thought. Ten years ago, in a more self-consciously feminist period, it would have been an awkward answer to give, but now it seems spot-on. Perhaps we’ve grown to accept the author

for what he is.

McKinven, who comes to his part straight from lain Heggie’s fringe hit, Wiping My Mother’s Arse, embellishes the answer. ‘There’s a misogynistic element to the play’s characters. One says we’re the chance takers, we’re the hunters. Women’s concerns can be taken on board, but ignored. We know better. There’s a horrible speech about it in the play.’



Byre Theatre, St Andrews, Thu 13 Sat 15 Sep, then touring.

It's an astonishing six years since the acclaimed Traverse production of Sue Glover's modern classic. a huge hit of the mid-903. and although it was subsequently revived, Ken Alexander, artistic director of the New Byre theatre. feels that there are still, quite literally, unexplored territories for the play. ‘The original production only did a very limited tour outside Edinburgh. Even though it toured internationally, it wasn‘t seen in a lot of places in Scotland'. he says.

Alexander. and co—director Rita Henderson intend to rectify this omission with a revival that will tow a wide area of Scotland. bringing the play's depiction of rural life to rural areas. as well as several cities. Glover's play. whose title refers to women employed as field hands in the Borders from the 19th century until the Second

Neil McKinven: Pie eater

For all that, Mamet remains among the most bankable writers this side of the pond. I asked about the success of his work here which these days seems to exceed that of a Williams, O’Neill or Miller. ‘He’s different. There’s no sentiment in Mamet. There aren’t really any characters you like in this play. Even the most sympathetic character in the play is still selling

crap land to people, and he’s only vaguely

for yourself. (Steve Cramer)

World War, whose fortunes were generally bonded to a male farmworker (not necessarily a husband. or even a relative) each season has a poetic quality unlikely to go out of style.

Bondagers focuses on a group of women in the 18608. but Alexander insists that the period. although relevant to the play's iSSLies. is not the central point of the play: 'lt isn't a social documentary as such. It's about a particular people in a particular time. but it's not just a "this is how hard it was" play. It's about social responsibility and care. it's about community spirit. not Just the life of Bondagers,‘ he says.

Alexander sees a particular relevance to contemporary Scotland. With the recent. and ongorng crisis in the farming community adding an edge to the play's social commentary. ‘It’s particularly pertinent to us today. The consequences of the industrizilisatioii of farming and the use of new farming techniques has been demonstrated

sympathetic because he’s so bad at it’, McNicoll replies. ‘The only intimate moment in the whole play is when one of the characters celebrates screwing someone out of their life’s savings,’ adds McKinven. A problem for men, or society? Go along and decide

Women in Bondage

recently. Being a rural theatre in Fife. we're particularly aware of that relevance, and so are a lot of the places we're going to.‘ (Steve Cramer)


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The talk of the green room

JUST AS YOU THOUGHT you could take a break from the theatregoing excesses of the Festival, the Scottish theatre season, as you’ll observe in the following pages, is opening apace. Another highlight worth discussion is the latest production by Raindog Young Blood. The youth theatre company are this year presenting Simon Macallum’s UN, a strong drama which parallels the lives of two warring Scottish families, and those of a group of child soldiers in a remote third world culture. Matt Costello and Maureen Carr will lend their experience to the group of largely young actors as the heads of the rival families. Inspired by the UN charter on the rights of children, the production aims to expose many of the current debates in Glasgow about immigration and childrens’ rights. The production has opened at Gilmorehill G12, and runs until Saturday 15 September.

THE TRAVERSE HAS announced its new literary manager/director to replace John Tiffany, whose abundant talents will, from October. be placed at the disposal of Paines Plough. The post is to be filled by Roxana Silbert. whose previous post of head of the literary department at West Yorkshire Playhouse was occupied with distinction. A former associate director at the Royal Court. where she also trained as a director. Silbert's most recent production in Scotland was last year's Quartz at the Traverse. We wish her well at her new post.

Maggie McCarthy in Quartz, Roxana Silbert’s last production at the Traverse

6 Sep-20 Sep 2001 THE LIST 57