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Actors in rehearsal for Anthony Neilson's Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness

* Frida: Viva la Vlda Still flushed with success from last year's Edinburgh Fringe the Tirso Theatre Company revives its enjoyable account of the life of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Tron Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 7 Mar.

* Technological Phantasmagorlas: I, II and III A trio of performance pieces created and directed by Denis Marleau of Quebec's UBU company, The Blind by Maurice Maetertinck. Sleep My Baby Sleep by Jon Fosse and Play

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Lonely heart

As the Citz revives Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness Anthony Neilson talks to Steve Cramer about Victorian theatre and career highs and lows

here‘s a sensitivity and warmth to writer Anthony Neilson that a cursory glance at his plays would not make immediately apparent. Works such as .\'urmu/. a story based on the exploits of a serial killer. and l’t'm'lrulur. which l‘eatures an army veteran abusing two young men. might not seem on the lace til it to reflect Neilson's humanity. Yet. in each case. there‘s a quest l'or emotional al'lirmation. and a need for loy e at the centre. Iz'tlii'urt/ (iunl's :lmuring I-t'uls of" Lune/imam. Neilson's 2002 play. seldom reyiyed until now. marked something ol' a change ol‘ tone in his work. Yet. it the subject matter and content are lighter. there is still an intense emotional timbre underpinning the piece. Based on the sham premise that Neilson has uncovered a Victorian mantiscript. and lovingly recreated the original play. the piece strings together a series ol' mock-melodramatic sketches. some comic. some bawdy. others quietly disturbing. to make less a piece of Victorian theatre than a piece of \i’ictoriana viewed through slightly jaded contemporary eyes.

‘l‘ve always been fascinated by that Kipling idea of

the world.‘ he says. ‘I've felt the urge in the past to recreate a Victorian piece ol‘ theatre from end to end. where the actors arrive in carriages and full costume for the show and so on.

So. is this urge a nostalgia for a complete popular form. untrammelled by considerations of taste that are based perhaps on pure snobbery"? ‘(‘inema has a wide variety ol‘ things on offer. and while there are still ideas about art house lilms and popular movies. a lot ol~ that has broken down in recent years. But there

82 THE LIST 1'» 19 Mar .‘ti’t‘tl

seems to be a tribal element to theatre; it‘s either West lind or serious theatre for most audiences. I don‘t like to divide things in that way.‘

lit/ward (iunl. Neilson conl'esses. arrived at a turning point in his career. ‘()ne of my plays. The lying Kind. had failed pretty badly at the Royal (‘ourt. but this also coincided with a great personal crisis. so I produced this play lirst thing alter a down period personally and prolessionally. l was in a bad place. and for a while I couldn’t write. so I decided to change my approach. liirst it was about letting my imagination run free it was really about a piece ol' l'un ~ there was a kind of Monty Python feel to it. Not content~wise it‘s a really serious play compared to some ol' my other stuff but it led to a different way ol doing theatre. In a way. it was a direct precursor to The Il'imtlt'ljfil/ llin‘ltl (ll/)is‘ym‘lu.‘

This latter piece. a triumph at the Iidinburgh liestiyal in 2004. went a long way toward rc- establishing Neilson‘s credentials as an international name. His process with Dissociu. as with (Jan! and much of his work. was to assemble a small group ol‘ actors and direct his own work. This production. by Ileadlong doesn‘t incorporate direct input by Neilson beyond the script. but director Steve Marmion was assistant director on the original production in Plymouth in 2002. ‘I hope it works like the original] says Neilson. 'at least in the respect that it makes people feel warm and optimistic about things.‘

Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness, Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 17-Sat 21 Mar.

by Samuel Beckett. Tramway, Glasgow, Thu 5—Sat 7 Mar.

* Kyoto Highly acclaimed Scottish playwright David Greig kicks off a mini-season of A Play, a Pie & a Pint, running at Oran Mor and the Traverse. with this light-hearted look at the big issue of climate change. See preview, page 83. Oran Mor, Glasgow, Mon 9—Sat 14 Mar; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Tue 17-Sal 21 Mar. # Anna Krzystek: Flgure Thls Glasgow-based choreographer Krzystek unveils the latest in a triple-bill of works on the theme of waiting as part of New Territories. See preview, page 83. Tramway, Glasgow, Tue 17& Wed 18 Mar.

# Edward Gant’s Amazlng Feats of Lonellness New production of the controversial playwright’s seldom-revived Victorian melodrama play- within-a-play. See preview, left. Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 17—Sat 21 Mar.

* Nortlnm Ballet Theatre: Swan Lake and "bred Blll Innovative version of the world’s most popular ballet, which takes place in New England during the early 20th century. See photo. page 86. Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Tue 17-Sat 21 Mar (not Fn).