ZLATA’S DIARY «00
Seen at Lemon Tree, Aberdeen. On tour.
Only a few days after Gerry Mulgrew’s adaptation of ZIata’s Diary opened in Aberdeen, Channel 4 broadcast Saira Shah’s Death in Gaza. That documentary was especially chilling because its director, James Miller, was shot dead on the last day of ﬁlming. But even without that tragedy on the Palestine-Israel frontline, the programme would have been an unsettling study of the way war steals children’s innocence.
The coincidence is pertinent, because ZIata’s Diary does the same thing. A genuine diary in the Anne Frank mode, it was written by ZIata Filipovic between the ages of ten and 13 as the civil war moved into Sarajevo ten years ago.
Unlike Anne Frank, Filipovic managed to escape with her life and is now living peacefully in Dublin. But that doesn’t diminish her book’s plain-talking impact. Like any early teenager, she wants to play with her childhood toys one moment and discover the charged world of pop music the next. But as snipers lurk on the streets and
VISUAL THEATRE THE CHAINGANG GANG
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 11-Sat 12 Jun
At times. the big cultural conversations we have about the theatre might tend to give the impression that it‘s rather a portentous business. That‘s why we need companies like Cartoon De Salvo. The declared intention of this English company is bright and breezy entertainment. with plenty of visual gags thrown in. A perfect tonic to getting too serious about theatre. and a timely reminder that these folks are i
about the business of entertainment.
The whimsical narrative of this particular event involves a group of escaped prisoners attempting an egress across a surreal comic landscape. They're pursued by dogs that sound like they are from another world and impeded by all manner of grotesque intervention. I can't tell you much more than that. but if you take into account such past work as Ladies and Gentlemen, Where Am /, which featured the adventures of a Victorian boxer, with plenty of cartoonish, violent fun, you'll get the general idea. This is like the fringe before the fringe, and presents a landscape that combines comedy and violence in the way cartoons do. In other words they're like the Right Size with more physical pain.
Enjoy. (Steve Cramer)
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66 THE LIST 10—24 Jun 2004
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shells rain down on the city, she's lucky to have a dingy basement to hide in, let alone the luxuries of electricity, friends or new clothes. This is one of the things that hits home hardest in this production by Mulgrew’s revived Communicado. With seven actors on the stage, the irony is all too apparent as ZIata (a delightful Frances Thorburn) pursues her solitary diary-writing fantasies, while the grown-ups go into a panic over the impending
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Sat 19 Jun
slaughter. It’s in the contrast between her spirited enthusiasm and her helpless despair that the tragedy hits home.
The transition from a diary to a piece of theatre has its clunky moments and, at two-and-a-half hours, it’s longer than it needs to be, but at its best, the production has a swift theatrical ﬂair, a fantastic feel for music and a poignant emotional pull.
The kids are alright
When Scottish Ballet took its first tentative steps towards reinvention back in 2002, it had an ambitious template in mind. Citing Nederlands Dans Theater as a source of inspiration. chief executive Chris Barron felt the Dutch company had precisely the right structure. A stunning main company on top (NDT1), fed by a younger, but no less notew0rthy company below (NDT2). With Scottish Ballet growing in stature by the minute. it seems timely to put the next phase into action — and introduce audiences to the dance stars of tomorrow.
An evening of showcase ballet. Celebr8 pools together the talents of Scottish Ballet's five youth companies: Cre8. lnnov8. Activ8. Motiv8 and Elev8. Ranging in age from 5-16
SET? N, +, the young dancers will be performing sections from
Swan Lake, Giselle, Tales of Hoffmann, Balanchine's The Four Temperaments and a brand new piece. Joining them on stage will be members of the Dance School of Scotland's 'Dance 4 Glasgow' project, a new initiative which introduces youngsters to dance through workshops. theatre visits and after-school dance clubs.
And lest we forget that Nederlands Dans Theater has not two. but three companies (the mature talents of NDT3) Celebr8 will also feature a piece by Gener8, Scottish Ballet's group of 60+ dancers. (Kelly Apter)
SHAKESPEARE IN THE CITY
The Arches, Glasgow, until Sat 3 Jul
The thing about watching most Shakespeare is that we know what's going to happen. For a new production, it's not so much the plot line that interests, but how it will be performed to shed new light.
A challenge then. for this collaboration between the RSC. the students of RSAMD and professional directors Hugh Hodgart. Mark Saunders. Joyce Deans and Ros Steen. “We were aiming for vanety.‘ says Hamlet director Hodgart. 'We've got two of the most popular plays, Hamlet and
Hamlet with surprises
Twelfth Night, but there's also Pericles, which is rarely done. It wasn't appropriate to do three ‘blockbusters'. Pericles provides a different kind ofexpenencef
In addition. Hamlet.- Reconsidered is a trio of devised pieces. interpreted by RSAMD directing students. ‘They're all contemporary versions. there's no question about that. but how close to the original story they are remains to be seen,’ says Hodgart. His own version might be less modern, but again it attempts to highlight the important political and psychological issues. ‘In our approach we do the same thing the other way round.“ Hodgart says. ‘We're not quite setting it now (although it's still the 20th century). but we want people to make connections with what goes on today. It's extraordinary how relevant it is.“ With a plethora of interpretation, and one of Shakespeare's gems on offer. go along and expect the unexpected. (Meg Watson)