THE BEST THEATRE 8 DANCE
‘I'M NOT SURE HOW LONG I WANT IT TO GO ON FOR'
Back to black
After touring the world to much acclaim, Black Watch is back in Scotland. Director John Tiffany talks to Steve Cramer about its return
ertainl} the most phenomenal success produced b_\ the Scottish theatre for a couple til. tIL‘L'iltIL‘\. (ireg Burke's H/rlt‘k IIil/(ll Ilils tra\cI|ed the world since its first appearance at the Iidinburgh I‘ringe in lotto. .\'ew York. S_\dtic‘). I.os .-\ngelcs it has become. and continues to be the Alan \Vhicker ol’ Scottish p|a_\s. .-\nd its reception has been almost unixcrsall) positiVe. In a sense. (ireg Burke's slor} is both uni\ersal and
immediate. tracking as it does. a small group of
Scottish soldiers l‘rom the regiment ol~ the title through a tour of Iraq. showing them in bawd} pla) and life threatening situations. and linall} deiohing into a tragedy But it. the earth I'iilie language keeps its constantl} in the here and now. there's also a journe} through histor} and context in the piece. with the rcgiment‘s legac_\ in British imperial IIlsIUl‘} also part of its immensel} theatrical action.
.-\sked what it is about this National 'I‘heatrc of
Scotland success stor_\ that makes it lraxel so well. director John 'I‘il'l‘any has a couple of esplanations: "I‘he first thing is. whether it be Iraq itsell‘. or the Middle I‘ittsl. tit' Ifasl meets \Yesl. it‘s certainl} a slot} of our time. So it's a con\crsation that ex'eryone wanted to engage with. It was interesting to go to New '/.ealand. in fact. because that was the tirst place we‘d been that hadn't sent soldiers to Iraq. But it was full of Scots. so it went down well with them as w ell.‘
He adds: ‘The other thing about it is the production l5 “m .lllsl te\t — ll Uses IUl\ Ul‘ different \\‘;t}s to communicate with an audience. although it‘s got incrediny strong and precise \ernacular which (ireg reproduces brilliantly. Still. it's incredible. it wasn't
86 THE LIST a” Mam-‘5 At"
designed to tour the world. it was designed to pla} three weeks in Iidinburgh.‘
’I‘here's no doubt that while British and \Yestern troops continue to ser\c abroad. the pla} could continue to run. Yet ’I'il‘l‘an} seems a little uncoml'ortable about this suggestion: ‘\\'hat |.\"I'S Artistic Director] Vick) I't‘tllllel‘sliille sit}s is it's horrific how successful it is. becatise the issues are still so ali\e. But part|_\ because of that. I'm not sure how long I want it to go on for. \Ve'rc going back to New York this .-\utumn. but after that I'm not sure I want it to go much further. exen though I think there‘d be an audience. I don’t want it to be ,lltummr .Illtl.‘
Shortl}. this production will. in a sense. find its wa} home. for in what looks like the beginning ol its last Scottish tour. [flack IIillt‘ll will pla} (ilenrothes. the heartland ol‘ the regiment’s recruiting ground. In compiling the piece. (ireg Burke tised first hand accounts of soldiers returned from Iraq. and he Incorporates the slur} (ll. two soldiers killed there. "I‘Ills Is where \\ c'\e been heading sillL‘e we UPL‘IIL‘LI it.' sa_\s 'I‘il‘l‘an}. ‘.'\ lot of m} and Neil Black. the production manager’s energ} went into getting it done in I-‘il‘e. it‘s wonderful that it‘s happened.
‘.-\ monument to the two biws whose stor_\ we tell has just been erected in (ilenrothes; the) were lrom the town. We changed the names. because we didn‘t want to drag their families into it. but the stor} of how the} died is lactuall} Iotall} accurate.‘
Rothes Hall, Glenrothes, Thu 27 Mar-Sat 5 Apr, then touring.
# The Unconquered Muriel Romanes' production sees a recast version of the 2007 CATS Best New Writing Award winner triumph once again. The story of a dysfunctional tamin amidst a British revolution, the piece represents a radical departure from aesthetic tradition as well as an angry contemplation of colonialism, this time in an English context. See review. page 90. Dundee Rep, Thu 3-Sat 5 Apr.
# Vanity Fair Tony Cownie‘s take on Declan Donnellan's adaptation of Thackeray's novel is an explosion of colour brought to the stage. Thought provoking and beautifully performed. this piece shows a rapacious society whose historical parallels to our own are striking. See review, page 90. Royal Lyceum Theatre. Edinburgh, until Sat 7 2 Apr.
* Romeo and Juliet Lovesick teens and tragedy from Dundee Rep. in this slightly more detached version by James Brining. A contemporary remaking of an old classic. this piece is well performed and ultimately moving. See review. page 90. Dundee Rep, until Sat 29 Mar.
# Black Watch Here. returning after an extensive and ongoing world tour. Greg Burke's story of the travails of a squad of soldiers touring Iraq looks set to thrill again. See preview. left. Fiothes Hall, Glenrothes, Thu 27 Mar-Sat 5 Apr. Then touring.
* Cirque Du Soleil The Canadian circus troupe with a distinctly modern, storytelling approach to their work are back, with a new show featuring acrobats, trapeze, and physical theatre to die for. See preview, page 88. SECC. Glasgow, Wed 9-Thu 10 Apr.