Missing links: Callum Cuthbertson (top), Graham Eatough and Louise Ludgate search for elusive emotions
14 THE LIST M... ' ' Aw .‘o. x"
Whether it’s the twin towers, your car keys or our respect for the elderly, we’re losing things at an alarming rate. SUSPECT CULTURE’s Lament sings out for the missing. Words: Mark Fisher
o momentous events produce
momentous art‘.’ Sometimes yes.
Sometimes no. For every Picasso looking at the Spanish Civil War and painting ‘Guemica'. there’s a Bob Geldolf looking at the Iithiopian famine and knocking out ‘Feed The World‘. For every Steinbeck studying the Depression and writing The Grapes ()f Wrath. there‘s a Jim Kerr belting out ‘Belfast Child‘.
So it was with a glum sense of foreboding that ll September came and went and we knew it was only a question of time before the inevitable happened. ‘Oh no. Paul McCartney‘s recording a charity single.‘ we cried. And he did.
At least Michael Jackson bottled out before inflicting another 'We Are The World‘ on us. But really that‘s just the start of it. On I 1 March. six months after the collapse of the World Trade Centre. the singer-songwriters of New York got together for a gig made up entirely of ditties about that dreadful day.
The unfortunate punters of a Greenwich Village club were treated to everything from the plaintive — ‘All those people in New York shouldn‘t have died. they shouldn‘t have died~ — to the patriotic —
people feel. People don‘t believe in politicians or in religious figures. We wanted to tap into that emotional response to the world. which is also about confusion.‘
It is. by his own description. a ‘slightly nebulous emotion'. but then nebulous emotions are what Suspect Culture does best. In shows such as Timeless. in which a group of friends tried to recapture a moment past. and Mainstream. a playful puzzle about identity and loneliness. the company has conjured delicate dramatic structures around the most fragile of feelings.
This ones about loss. which might mean the loss of an iconic building in New York or the loss of a fiver in the pub last weekend; it might be the loss of a sense of community or the loss of your keys. Don't expect a conventional story. but do expect something with the abstract emotional impact of a song. Which is where the idea of a lament comes in.
‘The show has a musical structure.‘ says Eatough. working once more with composer
Nick Powell. ‘There‘s a brilliant tradition of
Scottish laments. They have this structure that you see repeated throughout the canon. You
‘(iive our leaders strength to your
make the right decisions/We
can‘t ever fail armed with justice and precision‘ — and a
we can only imagine how nauseating it all was.
So what’s it to be in Scotland? What‘s going down in that crucible of the zeitgeist better known as the Suspect Culture rehearsal rooms where writer David Greig. director Graham Eatough and their collaborative team are brewing tip Lament. a meditation on all things lost‘.’ ls Glasgow‘s most tuned in theatre company going to give us icky sentiment or cogent analysis? Are they hard or what‘.’
To put it in perspective. Lament isn’t specifically about I I September. rather it‘s an exploration of an emotional state typified by the global reaction to it. ‘We've devised this show over a tumultuous period in world affairs and that's had an impact.’ says liatough who is acting as well as directing. ‘Whatever your views of the political ramifications of 1] September. there was a feeling that something happened; that the world was capable of this meant something had changed..
That something was to do with the decline of an older order. ‘lt‘s a very rich seam.‘ says liatough. ‘lt’s about the uncertainty that
something had changed’
can follow the grieving process within the song itself. First of all it states the subject matter — who‘s died — then you have a celebration. often very funny. We thought this may be a reasonable structure for a show: we establish the subject matter and then attempt to come to temts with it.‘
Eatough will go straight from Lament into directing lain Heggie's Love Freaks at the Tron. before working with RSAMD students and a Brazilian director. then spending his 2525.000 Creative Scotland award money on a new music piece. Oh and he plans to direct his first short film. Meantime. he‘s enjoying not only the life of an actor. but also the chance to keep his finger firmly on the pulse. ‘Usually you do a show and you know the ground rules.‘ he says. ‘But with this. because we‘ve been so open. we really have been able to absorb the influences of the world around us.”
Lament is at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 3—Sat 6 Apr and the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 10—Sun 14 Apr.