From the Brunton to the Royal Lyceum with the Citz in between. What’s DAVID MARK THOMSON got in store for us?
Words: Steve Cramer
few months ago things
looked hleak liot' l)a\'id
Mark 'l‘homson. ’l'hrough no l‘ault ol‘ his own. questionahle decision-making from both [fast Lolltlan (‘ouncil and the Scottish :\l'ls (‘ouncil l‘orced the closure ol. the Brunton. where. as artistic director. ’l‘llonlson produced lit'sl- rate work. But with his appointment to succeed Kenny Ireland as artistic director at lidinhurgh‘s Lyceum. his lttck changed. We talked to him ahottt the l'uture at the Lyceum. and his current project. Pleasure and Pain. at (ilasgow’s (‘iti/ens' ’l’heatre. Will the programming at the Royal Lyceum change from the period of Kenny Ireland’s artistic directorship? 'l‘he appropriateness ol‘ anyone to run a building depends on a tneeting ol' passions: what you're passionate ahottt and what your audience is. It’s dil'licult to deline yourself in terms of someone else. though. I think Kenny showed a good deal ol' sayyy in
working ottt what wottld hring a certain nttmher of
people into the theatre and exposing them to new things like last seasoth Victory. at great show. and a passion-led programme. What Kenny did was httild up a relationship ol’ trust with his audience oyer ten years of hard work. [We got to do the satne.
How will it be different, though?
()y er a liye-yeat' period. I‘d like to bring in some more new work. My great passion is l‘or classics attd new work. I don‘t think any theatre can renege on its responsihility' to giye Voice to contemporary society. But Shakespeare does that. He speaks as well as any new writer on society. politics and what we are. So I'd like to expand on classic work with hig ideas. epic scales and hig numhers. 'l‘he Lyceum must show itsell‘ to he hraye. to show there’s no play too hig lhtll' it. And it’s not just Shakespeare. httt other lili/ahethan and .lacohean plays. People like 'l‘ony (‘ownie can do great work with this sltlll.
And what about that new work?
The relationship with your audience is like any relationship. there shottld he scope l'or them to he surprised. And I‘m doing my research ahout that. The hig opportunity the Lyceum can prmide l'or new writers is that it's a hreeding ground in which they can think hig. it’s a hig space and can proyide the si/e attd
scope and numhers for new writers that a lot of
theatres can’t. It's a place where writers. actors and audience can httild tip a relationship without lt‘itl'.
‘The Lyceum must show itself to be brave, to show that there’s no play too big for that stage’
Extra-floral activities in Pleasure and Pain
We’ve seen good work from established writers, but will we see any names we’ve never heard of?
l'm certainly looking around for that. and there‘s no reason to think you won’t see that work at the Lyceum. as well as writers like .lohn ('lil'l‘ot‘d. who hasn‘t l‘ound enough stages recently.
What about your own writing?
I'd he trouhled hy touting myself when there is so tnttch good writing out there. I might adapt something. since he enjoyed doing the De .\laupassant so tnttch. httt that‘s a long time ahead. I think.
And what about the current project? It sounds like an adaptation of a number of the writer’s stories with himself on stage. Yes. there's nine stories. He had a Vision ol‘ the artist as an intellectual aristocracy. lle’s drawn to the world of men. women and relationships. and the stories gave an impressionistic account ol‘ the man himsell’. I wanted to mold docu-drama. though. It's an eyening with (iuy de Maupassant. The satire issues around inlidelity. marriage and sexual fantasy occur today. llardly anything has changed in |2() years. Some people think of his stories as misogynistic . . .
He‘s quite cynical ahottt relationships. and sotne people lltfl't’ seen it as pure misogyny. httt I prefer to think there's a wariness and fear ol~ women in his work. as well as a love and admiration for them.
Pleasure and Pain, Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 27 Nov-Sat 21 Dec.
Re: Treading the boards
FANS OF THE LONG established and highly respected English company Red Shift will be pleased to hear of a whistle-stop in Scotland for its latest production. Artistic director Jonathan Holloway will direct Lavinia Murray's adaptation of Edith Oliver's 20s novel The Love Child. The stow of a young woman left aIOne after the death of her mother who welcomes the possibly Supernatural presence of a young girl into her otherwise hermetic life. the piece promises the kind of eerie feel. combined with intense literacy. that we've come to expect from this company. With a strong sense of the visual. and clever design, Red Shift has often impressed in putting classics onto t0uring stages. You won‘t see it anywhere else than the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkaldy on Wednesday 20 November or the Lemon Tree Aberdeen on Thursday 21 November. Why can‘t we see more of this company in Scannd?
Red Shift’s The Love Child
MORE GOOD WORK CAN be expected from Boilerhouse in the education sector this year. Its piece for teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 18, Initiate, which was premiered last year in tandem with the acclaimed Blooded is once again touring schools and community centres around Scotland. The script was produced by the talented young author of Blooded, Isabel Wright, and addresses of issues of identity and selfhood at a crucial time for young woman. The tour is extensive, so look out for it at a venue or school near you.
1.1 28 Nos' 2002 THE LIST 61