Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 26 Apr-Sat 18 May

Understanding why we think as we do is a question of understanding where we are in history. The dark-haired, willowy and rather elegant thirtysomething Roxana Silbert has a lucid sense of this, a quality that argues in favour of a good director. She’s sitting before me in the Traverse bar, in the building where she has stepped into the shoes of John Tiffany as literary director. Now and then, she blags a fag, and through a ribbon of smoke, she speaks of her background in the theatre.

A product of the best part of a decade working with Stephen Daldry at the Royal Court, Silbert went on to a year at West Yorkshire Playhouse and three years as a freelance before arriving at the Traverse. ‘I arrived at the Royal Court when there was a new generation of writers emerging,’ she says. ‘These people were a little younger than me and of the Thatcher generation. Where I grew up, values such as health, education and free art were a given, a right. The previous generation had socialist ideas but these writers were seen as apolitical. They aren’t, but they’re more interested in people’s social interaction and individual behaviour. There’s more about subjectivity in this play. In a way, it’s one person’s point of view.’

She’s talking about Riccardo Galgani’s Green Field. Galgani is also making a full-blown debut at the Traverse, having had a short play performed as part of the Family trilogy three years ago. It’s about a dysfunctional middle aged couple living in



The Arches, Glasgow, Fri 26 Apr—Sat 11 May

Rammed Shanley

There's something very false about those before and after images given in adverts for breast augrnr-zntation or baldness Cures. I never can believe it's the same person: yes. you‘re cured his hair loss. but ‘.‘rher ; did that Roman nose came from? And what have you done to his l’reasts’? At the Arches. director Andy Arnold presents an unusual combination from two VOP/ different plays/rights. to present a possible before and after advert of his O‘.‘/n.

Tennessee VJilliairzs' sixteen- minute play Lord Byron's Love Letter, here in its Scottish premiere. :s set as the after image to the British premiere of

course.’ 'Gareth Daviesi 62 THE LIST 9", 211/

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contemporan; American playwright John Patrick Shanley's Cynical take on the film industry. FOL/r Dogs And A It's .' Bone. In it. the film director needs to reduce his budget

stars battle it Out to get the more dominant role. Cut to perhaps 50 years later anr Arnold Suggests tnat WiHiarris' theatrical Vignette she‘s/s the same two starlets in their post-- career e><istences as ladies in possession of an original love-letter nxrritter‘. by the Romantic poet Bern.

‘I got hooked on the inrork of Shanley when we (ii of his plays. The Big Funk last year] Arnold says. 'lt‘s very Mamet-esgue. dark and seriOLisly comic. But I u'ranted a kind of postscript to accomparw Four Dogs. and Williams play is really too short to do on its own. But but together ‘.‘/llll Shanley I seemed the perfect accompariiment. I thought abetit calling the show Life And Art: the first act is life. about the background to people creating a work of art. ".‘JlllIO the second a piece of art. again a dark comedy. but with a sensual. textured sadness I. contrasts beautrfulr,’ He pauses. “Perhaps ,\ think of it as an old and very expensive liqueur. coining alter the rrto:ith-x'ratering main

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an affluent Scottish green belt development. Their child has died and a visit from another less financially successful, but more fulfilled couple emphasises the emptiness of their lives.

Does it bear comparison to Ayckbourn? ‘He’d loathe the comparison,’ Silbert says, ‘but like the best of Ayckbourn there’s a very finely observed comedy of social manners going on. There’s a lot left unsaid, so it’s great work for actors; there’s a lot of space under and between the lines.’

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Roxana Silbert: The Generation Game

Silbert sees the social metaphor under the text as significant to our age: “It’s very much about the question of what our social values are. Everything in the play is American; it’s all new and clean and without history. These people have achieved everything they’ve wanted, but what they’ve achieved isn’t enough.’

A tragedy of our time? Come and see.

(Steve Cramer)

ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD King‘s Theatre, Edinburgh, Tue 30 Apr-Sat 4 May

.e;% we tnree decades since TOW, Stoopard's name was brotight to c". the E :lir‘burgl‘. Fringe ~- by this e><ister‘tra| comedy. On the eve o‘ a may 'lt:'.'. Stop >ard tii-cg‘, at the Englsh National Theatre. director Terry

and wants the sCript cut. The Harris. wt 'na'i .'.i‘osr= tr‘eati'e experience includes long and higth acclaimed writer IS concerr‘ied abom his be" eds at the \latui‘ar and fine RSC in the His and 80s. n'xi'i he i:) ll‘lS artistic integrity and the two ta‘.':;.i"te front tne got-:rei‘ age of B'lllSl‘ orn contun.’ drama to Scotland .‘rrtin

t.'.e n‘:n::" characters from Harri/e! to centre stage. altering tire {:oi‘text so that t'att‘er than a pair of dots who meet a bad ertd that we bare!) o tr‘ag'~c >rnic geezers unhose demise. as the title suggests. is ll‘i(3‘.e'.{ll)l‘.3. Rat :io ll noun"? ls a l'O\.’|\.'£ll needed? 'Verj. n‘uch so.‘ says Hands. '\.'-.’e near a of ; bout the need for net-r plays these days. but to get these. need more nor. ‘.'."‘!?.e.":; o" a nigl‘ standard. This is a great ‘.'."|lC'l' and a great play. l'ner‘e's exc-ij. reasoi‘. to be dong t.‘

Stoppard}; irgei‘, and z'xlx'r‘sicai '(BllOClIO'lS upon such things as the laws 0" proba'iri t]. as nae! as Harnve.‘ itsel" is ‘.'.~!<,l|\,i fi‘(‘:(?‘.'.’.’t(}()lll‘i§/ and engaging. It's also (:e'itx‘gen: apes: tt‘e precision of his language. Hands has his one WOO“, about d another Si:)t):>ar';l's facalt‘, with linglrsh. Stoppard x'xasn't. of course. origna'lf. a native :as from (Z/eclioslovakia. think the reason t's so preCIse is in; t “.03; l\' l‘tl of more i nglsh than the English. a bit like Conrad in his use o‘ language. l'nat's nan; it's so iricisixef ‘.'.’|ll‘i Stoppard's concern ‘.'.'2’..’l issues of personal

freedon‘; something .'.'lt (:l‘ Hai‘ds als > recognises. lit a many of his plays. no:

usi this one. a lo. 'ests<

>n the individuals r.ght to say no. to refuse. It's yer",

important to the draina. \.‘\.’e can all say no if TIE} really want to.‘ There's no need to do that \‘J'f‘n ll‘lf3 production. iStex'e Cramer.

A barrel of laughs