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Theatre 3 la carte

You’ve heard of pre and post-theatre menus, but why not operate the same system at the theatre itself? Words: Steve Cramer

nce upon a time. there

were three little girls

who went to the theatre academy . . well. ()K. they’re not quite Charlie‘s Angels. but these three chicks with attitude do represent a real force for change in Scottish theatre. Company manager Rebecca Wolsey and joint artistic directors (iowan Calder and Kate Nelson are the girlpowers at the centre. And what they really. really want is a change in our idea of theatre.

Menu is the result. (‘oming about after eighteen months of painstaking research. careful funding applications and plain hard graft. the concept of theatre as an informal night out looks set to emerge as a fresh bloom from the financially undernourished soil of the Scottish theatre. At its heart is the idea of theatre as fun. rather than an evening of mandatory culture.

‘We‘re not exactly setting out to be a pub theatre. though we might sometimes present it in pub venues.‘ says Wolsey. ‘We want to present shorter pieces in a more relaxed enviromncnt. You can bring drinks into the venue and treat the bill like a menu. You can go to all or any of the three pieces as you choose. buy a weekly ticket that allows you to come and go over several nights or go to the final event of the night. which might be a stand-up act. a club. music or a ceilidh. Why not go to the theatre. then hang around for a dance afterwards‘.’ The idea is to be more relaxed about the whole event.‘

The programme for the first of what we hope will be many such events displays the chilled-out eclecticism of its creators. with Scottish premieres mixing freely with older plays. not revived for some years. (‘alder is directing Manfred Karge's Man 7?) Man. a piece not seen in Scotland since Tilda Swinton performed its stormineg successful premiere at the old Traverse fourteen years ago. ‘l‘ve clutched the script to my bosom ever since I saw it then.‘ says (‘aldeiz Karge‘s story of a woman forced to adopt the identity of her husband in Weimar (iermany will no doubt be new to many an audience half a generation on.

‘l’eople say: “The 'I‘raverse has done it with Tilda Swinton. why would anyone want to do it again?“ That‘s like saying: “Why do xi Mir/summer


Chicks with dis

‘You can go to all or any of the three pieces as you choose’

Night's Dream again?" We all agree that the programmes will be about the quality of writing. It doesn't matter if the script is new or old. Spanish. German or Scottish. We won‘t put something on because it's cheap or we can use so-and—so who‘s pretty trendy just now. we want good writing. that's fun to see.‘

Nelson is directing the

Scottish premiere of award-winning Italian playwright Spiro

Scimone‘s Lu l'i'str' (The Anniversary). The play observes the everyday life of an Italian family from an alarming. often satirical perspective. ‘lt's like Pinter on acid.. says Nelson. 'lt takes the family life. religion and the rituals of everyday cosy domesticity and says: “This is bollocks.”

Nelson will also be presenting her own translation of a short play by Pirandcllo. The Man Willi A l'let't‘l' In His Hui. about the late-night meeting of two men in a cafe. ‘l’eople might not know this piece. as it‘s not one of the major works.~ Nelson says. ‘lt’s like a little piece of amber. beautiful. tightly constructed. and full of mad metaphors. It’s only fifteen minutes long. Where else could you see it‘."

Where else indeed'.’ I‘ll see you at Men“. And feel free to mark my dance card later on.

Menu opens at the Counting House, Edinburgh on Wed 30 Jan and the Arches, Glasgow from Fri 8 Feb. See listings for details.


Stage Whispers

The Talk Of The Green Room

l ()'l TEHY MONEY SET asmle to help represent the plight of refugees iii Scotland is the subject of hot competition in the arts coriiiiiunity. We understand that Robert Rae's Theatre Workshop is planning a bid for some of this. hoping to extend the life of its mixed company beyond its Current three years. TW produced a couple of successful Fringe shows last year. but its work under the current funding arrangements has been of variable guality and it'll be interesting to see how Rae goes about his application. given the current form on the board.

e Workshop’s If I Die 8 4 U Wake


Meanwhile. the air is full of i'uiiiours of rival bids. Aiiiadu Kahn. a Sierra Leonian arts practitioner. is one applicant whose bid looks like a sound iii\.'estiiierit. His group. Ikase. has already been touring schools and communities for nearly a year. and has made real progress in the areas of a\.'.rareriess raising and access for refugees themselves. ‘We hope our work so far Will represent a good testimonial for potential tunders.‘ he says. “We've got the possibility of charitable status and that should help attract funding.‘

llie good v-i'ork done so far might be an aid to Kahn. who explains the egalitarian principles of the company: ‘lt's not Just for theatre, but performing arts and arts in general. We try to be inclusive :ri using the skiils of refugees and ethnic minorities. it's not rust about using theri stories or using them as actors. but irivoIViiig them in directing. design. however they can be a part. lne idea is that this is more ()lill)()\'.*(?fll‘.t; for people.‘