Pugillst Specialist raised the level of radical theatre
age of in“
How far should repertory theatre go to accommodate changing audiences? Words: Steve Cramer
hat the world has changed quite radically over the last three years may be a sentiment you're tired of hearing. But since the attack on two banks in New York and their bailiffs in Washington. we‘ve spent so much time analysing the implementation of an expansionist foreign policy from the [S that we’ve missed a more profound change. An alteration in consciousness has occun'ed in a widescale opposition to the current politics of military conquest. 'lhis change has been forcibly imposed on me as a university lecturer. for there are two distinct generations within our academies at the moment. The last of a generation of 'lhatchei‘ kids are still clinging on in the upper years. yet the younger students seem to possess a political consciousness that seemed inconceivable five years ago. From this big focus of the world. let's move to the microcosm of Scottish theatre. 'lhe most acclaimed product of the recent fringe was arguably. l’iigi/isr .S'pi'i‘i'uli'sr. certainly the most profoundly radical piece of political theatre to receive such praise for years. At a time when the
three largest repertory companies in Scotland ~
the Lyceum. Dundee Rep and the (‘iti/ens' — find themselves under new management. one wondersjust how change will be incorporated.
'lliis is a vexed question. for much as critics love to speculate about the programming of theatres. the job is much tougher than simply programming your favourites. Repertory companies have established audiences to satisfy. as well as new ones to find. In this difficult balancing act. the most subtly accomplished appears to be the programme of the Lyceum. David Mark Thomson's starting point seems to incorporate both confrontation and reassurance in equal proimrtions. What underlies this is a willingness to ask audiences questions. rather than simply reassuring them with the same old fare.
So too at Dundee Rep. While Tlt't’ffi/l .N’iglir is a pretty safe bet as a season opener. new artistic directors Dominic Hill and James Brining have shown a willingness to incorporate new work further on. 'llie (‘iti/ens' is harder tojudge. Aside from the inclusion of an adaptation of Louise Welsh‘s 'I'lie ( 'iirri'ng Room. the programme could have been any from the (ill over the last decade. This might be because new artistic director Jeremy Raison did not emerge in time to affect programming. so it might be a case of wait and see.
Overall. we might congratulate Dundee Rep and the Lyceum for their programming. in the context of their expected audience. But there might also be a case for suggesting the boat needs to be pushed out further in the future. both in terms of new work. and a changed ideological context in which the work takes place.
Disagree? email@example.com. See Theatre, page 59 for David Mark Thomson interview.
8 THE LIST 18 Sop-43 Oct 300.»?
1 Frank Gehry
Art Guggenheim Gehry chooses Dundee for his first ever British building. as he puts his innovative energies into the innovative cancer care unit. Maggie‘s Centre. See feature. page 12. Various events and venues. Dundee.
2 Julius Caesar
Theatre Will’s tale of politics and betrayal is the launchpad for the Lyceum’s new artistic director. And it's a brave. confrontational opener. See Opinion (left) and Theatre. page 59. Lyceum. Edinburgh.
3 Crimson Gold
Film Written by Abbas Kiarostami. this is the Tehran-set stOry of a bungled heist which leads to an epiphany and class consciousness. See Film. page 24. GFT. Glasgow.
Fashlon The Barony cancels all its graduation ceremonies and classical gigs for a night of catwalks. charity and champers as Cruise celebrates its 21 st birthday. See Toast it this Fortnight, page 101. Barony Hall, Glasgow.
5 Scottish Ballet
Dance Resuscitated by Ashley Page. Scottish Ballet has returned from the abyss and its comeback signals a big new beginning. See Theatre. page 64. Tramway, Glasgow; Festival Theatre, Edinburgh.
6 Creature Comforts
TV Subtle visual humour and hilarious comedy voices herald a triumphant return for the Aardman claymation lot. See TV. page
1 10. Scottish.
6 Bongo Club
Clubs Edinburgh's finest underground institution reopens at new, hopefully permanent. premises at Moray House. The opening night boasts hip hop from Detroit's Slum Village. See Clubs. page 74. Bongo Club, Edinburgh.
8 Frank Black
Music Pray at the altar of the Plxies’ former leader as he reintroduces us to his Catholics. $0, Show Me Your Tears. See Music, page 44. Garage. Glasgow; Liquid Room, Edinburgh.
9 Tim Gautreaux
Books E Annie Proulx and Alan Warner reckon TC is the business and his rural tale The Clearing should have you salivating. too. See Books. page 102. Sceptre.
1 0 Colin Steele
Records The Joumey Home is Steele’s most distinctive and personal album to date, stylishly proving his worth as a top-notch jazz composer. See Records, page 105. Caber Music.