SCOTTISH BALLET - MIXED PROGRAMME Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 11—Sat 13 Oct. .000
The curtain goes up to reveal three black cubicles at the back of the stage. One by one. the dancers walk briskly across the floor and climb inside until finally. there's no more room. In search of air. a couple from the back squeeze out and launch themselves into a seXiially-charged duet. A few minutes later. the remaining dancers rush forward to shout praise for the [)TUCGdlllg pas de deux out into the audience.
How very Hans van Manen. How very Lin-Scottish Ballet. The Dutch choreogi'ai)lier is famous for his wry wit and erotic playfulness. The Sccttisii dance troupe are famous for being a company |.". tiirmOil — not that you would know it watching them on stage tonight. Bad behaviour in the boardroom is clearly the last thing on their mind as they launch themsehxes w'iioleheartedly rnto this difficult. exciting and — most importantly — contemporary work.
The companys proposed ‘change of
PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD
Arches, Glasgow, Fri 12—Sat 27 Oct.
In 1907. a little-knovv/n Irish playwright Introduced Dublin to one of the most controversial plays of the time. J.M. Synge's tale of Christie Mahon. a young wanderer who arrives in a remote village after murdering his father. provoked instant rioting: not least due to the unabashed veneration of the central character throughout the play.
‘lt's a simple. comical plot. but it upset a lot of people' explains director Andy Arnold. "It not only depicted young Catholic girls throwuig themselves at a murderer. but it was also one of the first plays that focused upon the peasantry and. of course. people applauding a man who murdered his father. For the first week. police were lining the theatre.‘
As the title suggests. the play examines the sheer celebrity of Mahon, venerated and adored by the villagers. but also the subiect of romantic fascination for the villages women. 'The play has great passion: the sexual tension is definitely there. It's about ll‘é‘tklllg heroes out of villains. the
direction' appears to have already happened — but then With a contemporary choreographer at the helm iRobert North). this was always going to be the case. Where the argument lies. of ceiirse. is that without the benefit of an Aladdin or a Carmen to balance the books. where weiild the company be? From the evidence of the audience turn—out tonight. probably even more in the red.
But back to the Mixed Programme. From van Manen's wardrobe-inspired In And Out. we move onto his Sarcasms. a darkly humorous look at relationships. To the sounds of a pounding grand piano. a couple go head to head in a relentless battle of oiie-upmanship. He iumps up and down: she grinds her hips seductively on the floor: he leaps on top of her in a burst of sexual aggression: she grabs his crotch in a bid to rob him of his manhood.
From van Manen, we sWrtch to North himself and his Death And The Maiden. The Edinburgh Quartet deliver Schubert's score with passion. while the tightly synchronised ensemble combine speed and grace :ri a bid to escape the clutches of the ever-present ‘Death'. But if ever Scottish Ballet had
Sex, death and gladiators
a crowd-pleaser in its repertoire. it's North's Troy Game. This testosterone- charged. comic take on male machismo would look equally at home in a circus or gladiator ring: tumbles. combat. slapstick clowning - it's all there. The audiei ice loved it. but iudging by the smiles onstage. not half as much as the performers themselves. which during such troubled times was a Joy to see. iKelly Apteri
FEAST/THE SIGHTLESS Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Thu 11-Sat 20 Oct.
attraction to someone who's done a dastardly deed. the romance of an exotic foreigner in their midstf
While Playboy infamoust centres around the sexuality of villainy. Synge has also ()lilpiléiSlSOd the depth of the storyline itself. culminating in a tantalising twist in which the line between good and evil becomes hopelessly blurred. 'Like all good writers. Synge wasn't moralising. That's the beauty of this play. nothing is black and white. That's what Synge was trying to do. reflect things as they really are.‘ iOlly lassmanl
Andy Arnold: ‘Synge wasn’t moralising‘
Vanishing Point want to keep you in the dark
One of the strengths of good art is that it forces audiences to look at the world in a new way. Challenging perceptions and creating opportunities for a different kind of seeing is what it's all about. It's a challenge that Vanishing Peint is taking on. except there won't be much seeing involved: not in the conventional sense. anyway. as both performances of this double bill will be carried out in total darkness.
In Feast. the company have worked with visually impaired and blind people to devise an installation that involves sighted people being led on an advmiture into pitch darkness where they encounter food. music and personal interaction in an unlikely setting. ‘We want to challenge sighted peoples' precoiiceptions of what it's like to be bliiid.’ says artistic director Matthew Lenton. ‘But also to give sighted people an experience that they wouldn't normally have.‘
Adapted from a Maurice Maeterlinck play. The Sig/if/ess relates the adventures of a group of blind people abandoned by their sighted leader. As they travel alone through a forest. they become gradually more afraid of the sounds around them. A re-run of their excellent sell-out 1988 Fringe show. the absence of light thrusts the audience into the same position as the play's characters ensuring a greater level of empathy and uiir‘lerstanding.
‘We wanted to do something essentially theatrical.’ says Lenton. ‘Something that gives audiences a tangible. Visceral experience rather than a play that they simply sit and watch. It's different. but you have to see it. or at least experience it. to believe it.' (Dawe Archibald)
CONTEMPORARY DANCE (ﬂiEiCFNDVVDEHD HOUR
Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Thu 11- Fri 12 Oct, then touring
Claire Pencak of Tabula Rasa grabbed inspiration for multi- media performance installation One Crowded Hour from two principal sources. The first was the hot. fragile beauty of glass blowing. ‘lt's an intensely physical process that has much in common With that used by dancers.‘ the choreographer remarks. ‘because we also work with grayity. motion. effort and breath.‘ ln performance Pencak will mostly use the reflective duality of glass.
The other major influence was the mythical 19th-century tale of Ondine. a water nymph in search of a soul. 'My interest was not in telling the story per se.‘ Pencak says. ‘But to create a poetic interpretation that invokes the sense of a different world.‘
Pencak's collaborators in shaping this other reality for the stage include yisual artist Keiko Mukaide. composer Peter Nelson. vocalist Frances Lynch and six dancers. among them Michael Clark's old pal Matthew Hawkins. Pencak hopes to achieve a deeper integration from this mix of sensibilities than usual. ‘Whenever possible myself, the dancers. the designer. composer and musicians all worked together in rehearsal. giving each of us the chance to be inspired by the others.‘
Not telling a story: Tabula Rasa
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