TAMING OF THE SHREW Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, Sat 26 Oct—Sat 16 Nov

Jimmy Chisolm is looking forward to a good shrew

So what’s your role? In the post- feminist 21 st century, gender roles are continually under question. In the relationships we formulate we’re confused about the boundaries and definitions of precisely how to relate to our partners. The unacceptable social conventions that prevailed in

SIT I‘- SPE'CII IC THE ODYSSEY IN GLASGOW Tramway, Glasgow, Thu 17—Sat 19 Oct

Homer's Odyssey tends to be seen by avant garde artists as an opportunity to prove their salt. Ever since Joyce's U/ysses. dozens of earnest left bank types have spent hours coming up with amusing ways in which the r‘iiain character's Wife can be called Penelope. And take it

from me. there ain't many. It's been a couple of years; now since the Coen Brothers; released 0 Brother Where Art

Homer’s textual relationships

the 70s are now largely rejected by heterosexual couples, but the rigorous gender expectations of the subsequent period are also now under question.

Shakespeare’s comedy of sexual manners and gender wars is not a play that could have survived the 805 unscathed, and it didn’t. Much abuse was heaped upon it as, at best, a misogynistic piece, which endorsed violence against women and, according to some critics, rape. The fact is, no rape occurs in the text and the only cross-gender violence occurs when the fiery Kate wallops her man Petruchio; not an act to endorse, but we’d mainly agree that it’d be worse the other way around.

Tony Cownie’s production at the Lyceum, set in the Victorian period, intends to explore this sharp and farcical romantic comedy from a new point of view, and to play the leads he’s pulled in two of the most gifted actors on the Scottish stage, Jimmy Chisholm and Meg Fraser, a potentially superb combination.

So is Kate a victim of Petruchio? ‘No, she loves him,’ says Fraser. ‘You have to look at the circumstances she’s in. She doesn’t

Thou. so it's about time someone embarked on another Odyssey. This one comes courtesy of Italian theatre

like her family, and her sister, Bianca, who’s more of a girly, is actually much more of a shrew than Kate. There’s a lot of hypocrisy around her, and Petruchio is honest, like her.’

Chisholm chips in: ‘They have a complete disregard for social conventions. We all know these couples. They’re both socially inept, but somehow they’ve found each other, and together they’re the happiest couple you’re likely to meet.’

But are they really sympathetic characters? I’m among those critics who has found it difficult to like them. Chisholm has an answer that comes from the play’s context. ‘Well, you’ve got to look at the society around them. The other characters are all, in some way or another, out for themselves. Everyone cheats and lies at the drop of a hat, except these two, and that’s how the audience can warm to them.’

But they’re also conventional enough to relate to, as Fraser points out of her character: ‘After all, she’s a girl. She wants the big wedding and the dress and so on.’ And we’re back to that gender role thing again . . . (Steve Cramer)

MUSIC/\l. (JOI IABOHAI l( )N JOU EY Tramway, Glasgow, Tue 29 Oct-Sat 2 Nov

Cross cultural collaboration

company Stalker Ieatro (pronounced 'starker.' as in starkersi in collaboration wrth Scottish troupe the Working Party.

Benno Plassmari. artistic director of the Working Party and assistant director on The Odyssey in Glasgow. insists that the [)FOIOCI does bring something new to the story. ‘The idea originated in the overlap between the Visual arts and theatre: it has live interaction wrth the audience. but linked With the narrative thread theatre provrdes. Because ol the irriproVisatioii. the atmosphere. mood and response are always slightly dilterent. It keeps it new.’

It is. it you like. a Journey between art forms. The luscioust loopy Island ol the lotus Eaters section is liveiied up by the presence of live installations by a do/en Glasgow based artists. ‘Their work looks laiitastic,' says Pl; ssiiian. And the live interaction. storytelling strand to the production results in every member of the audience playing Odysseus at some point in the performance ‘The audience are invited a not forced A to participate in the basic actions of the story.’

On a slightly more banal level. [he Odyssey III Glasgow is a Journey simply because it is a promenade piece. touring the many nooks of the Iraiiiway. But is it worth embarking on yet another Odyssey? Beiirio Plassinaii thinks so: ‘Stalker are an inspiration.‘ he says. So make the trip.

(Dan Bye)

Writer director John Binnie is taking on a huge task. Follownig his recent Visit to the Lerersrty of Namibia \.'.'here he worked with its all-black choir. he's bringing :30 of its members to Scotland to work ‘.‘.'llll so Scottish participants to create Journey. In collaboration ‘.‘.’llll Glasgow's Dance House. this: is a show \VlllIOtll words but plenty of song and dance. exploring the siriiilar'ities and differences bet‘.‘.'eeri both cultures. socially. politically and musically.

‘Ihere's a real siriiilarity l)(}l‘.'.’(?t:ll the Iolk tradition in Scotland and iii Nariiibia.' says Binnie. uiitr; recerith l‘ie [.ist's Gay section edit.>r. ‘Soriietiiiies. I you ciose \our e\es and listen to a song iii (.‘raelic and then listen to a song in Zulu. you wouldn't be able to tell them apart. Main songs come from a tradition that worked the land. and a ‘.'.'eai.'irig song lroiii the Isle ot l ewis sounds guite similar to a riiai/e grinding song from Namrbraf

this is the first time that some riieriibeis ot the Namibian choir are stepping on a plane. as .‘xell as experiencing cold weather. Ihis would have been an unimaginable task before being given independence I-I years ago. ‘Ihat couritn has: been going though some changes.” says Binnie. 'Ihe\. '\.e suddenly been given ()(ltl;l|ll\. but 'x.'».'hat do they do i.'.ith it'.’ [Does it mean anything when they still don't haxe riioriei, .‘ So. culturally. this Will be ariia/iiig tor them. because tliex ';I be working with these Scottish pertoriiiers: a real sense :it working together as eguals.‘ itvlererid \‘Vllllrtllltil


SCOI IISII I’M Mil RI THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD Cottier Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 22-Sat 26 Oct, then touring

\"~./.’l(?ll you're at a

cr< ssroads in your lite

and things are turiibling

(l()‘.'.’.'l arounr. >u. it

o think

hat I

~.'.rent right and the t irrigs

o‘teri forces nout

about the tr‘irigs

that went wrong II‘. your childhood. Ihiriking of the aspirations you once had and the decisions you once rnade helps piece together the present. as David lvlariiet's lesser known autoliiogr'aphical ola‘. indicates

As Maniet's altm ego Bobby laces divorce pi'ocedirigs and the possibility of losing his kids. he returns to Chicago ‘.'./here he was brought up. He reunites ‘.'."|lll his best buddy. his sister and his; first love with the hopes of finding answers that xvii! help l‘:!l‘.‘ take his: life for“.'.’ard. 0" course. the people he meets have their own pr'obierris.' says Rapture director Michael Iniaiis. 'It's about people whose Eiyes aren't ltl!llll(?(l. Ihere's sorriethirig ger‘y (Ihekhowar: about it. people asking: "Why aren't where I want to be?"

Adopting a gentler l(>l‘.(} than say. (L'ei'rggirr‘i (Ev’eri Ross. the play. I 'riz‘.iis beliexes. .‘."ll| even appeai to those '.'.'ho fi'id lVlarriet's; us; al blunt style toe rrtacl‘o and inaccessible. “It has his tr'aderiia'ks. like the oseilaopirig dialogue he saxs. but it's\. mtlectrxe. I to usaally i.'.‘rites preriei‘iir‘aritlx for men. 'iut into 1‘? fire main characters II‘ this are teiiiaie. and t'iere's a Tenderness; to [l‘(?ll‘.. l’eople xvii; find an eriiotional connection ‘.'.‘iti‘. It rtecaasw lt's almal boy. the past affects I'ie present. And \ou can't

escape front :t, no

matter hey. lY‘iiit‘ll \ou tr\..' {RAU’V’WU ‘."~.”illranrs

Sweet home Chicago

.‘ THE LIST 61