Derek McLuckie & Pauline Goldsmith BEST OF THE REST
Long-term collaborators and best friends Derek McLuckie and Pauline Goldsmith are about to take on their biggest creative challenge to date – an all-male version of French dramatist Jean Genet’s controversial play The Maids
‘I t’s about play acting and status games,’ says Derek McLuckie of Jean Genet’s The Maids, an all-male version of which the Glaswegian actor will star in and co-direct at this year’s Glasgay!
‘It’s about how you’re never one person, you’re lots of people,’ adds McLuckie’s co-director, serial collaborative partner and best friend Pauline Goldsmith. ‘It’s about masks and identity and – with relationships – I think it’s this thing about . . .’ ‘Accepting the whole person,’ McLuckie intervenes, ‘rather than a strand of the person.’
‘And ultimately never knowing them, either,’ says Goldsmith. ‘I mean, even though I’ve known Derek for 15 or 20 years, at times I still think “who’s that”? Identity is more fluid than you think.’
A murderous tale – based partly on a true story from 1930s France – that depicts two sisters acting out sadomasochistic rituals of dominance and submission while their tyrannical Madame is away, The Maids arrives at Glasgay! 2010 at McLuckie’s suggestion, fulfilling a long-held ambition for the Genet fanatic. He describes the French playwright, novelist and political controversial
activist as his ‘idol’.
Northern Irish actress and playwright Goldsmith only discovered Genet recently via McLuckie, but her imagination too has been seized by the work of the legend of 20th century radical literature. The illegitimate son of a prostitute, Genet lived as a Paris street-urchin, rent-boy and vagabond before beginning to write while in jail in the 1940s. ‘For me, he personifies what’s lost in theatre,’ she says. ‘He’s the outcast, the rebel, the misfit, somebody who spent a lot of time in prison, stole, lived on the streets. When he did The Screens, his play about the Algerian war, French soldiers came down to attack him. [Front National leader] Jean-Marie Le Pen was outside the theatre.’
McLuckie tells a story from when Genet was invited to America by the Black Panthers in the early 1970s. ‘He got dressed up in a nightie and got really pissed one night and took loads of sleeping pills and was dancing about in front of them. That’s so much what he’s about.’ The Maids has been presented in a variety of forms around the world since 1947. An all-male version is nothing new – ‘there’s a
lot of controversy as to whether Genet ever even wanted males to play it,’ admits McLuckie – but what will set this performance apart, he believes, is a strong cast, completed by Wullie Brennan and Richard Pears. ‘As far as I’m concerned, it’s whether you can play the parts, not the gender of the people playing them. The performers that we have play women really well.’ McLuckie and Goldsmith have worked together several times, and both starred in Elysian Fields, McLuckie’s bio-play about Tennessee Williams staged at Glasgay! in 2008. Their relationship is evidently an intense one. ‘We’ve been through a lot of traumas and shit together, and we support each other quite well,’ McLuckie reveals, with typical candour. ‘I can be quite difficult, I have a very volatile streak that most people would not tolerate or accept, but Pauline does. She’s quite balanced. We just love great theatre and are dedicated to getting it right.’
Goldsmith laughs. ‘I think Genet would have been difficult to work with.’
The Maids, Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Thu 4–Sat 13 Nov.
‘IT’S ABOUT HOW YOU’RE NEVER ONE PERSON,
YOU’RE LOTS OF PEOPLE’
18 THE LIST 7–21 Oct 2010
GLASGAY! SCOTLAND'S ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEER CULTURE 14 OCT–13 NOV 2010 WWW.GLASGAY.CO.UK
GLASGAY’S SWINGING SUNDAY SPARKLER A round-up of the best gay and gay- friendly comedy, including Zoë Lyons, Rebecca Donohue, and Stephen Callaghan, presided over by your acid-tongued host for the evening, Bruce Devlin. The Stand, Sun 17 Oct. LOCK UP YOUR DAUGHTERS A special Glasgay! edition of the monthly hella gay dance party, in the company of international queer all- stars Scream Club, who will be performing live, while DJ Suezz, Skeleton Boy and Lock Up Your DJs will be manning the decks. The Flying Duck, Fri 22 Oct.
DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’ Calling all Gleeks and soon-to-be Gleeks! A night of non-stop, high- energy singing and dancing inspired by everyone’s favourite musical comedy-drama. The show features such musical evergreens as ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ and of course the much-loved title track. King’s Theatre, Tue 2–Sat 6 Nov.
RUBYFRUIT Bonfire night comes and goes with a bang at this alternative queer club night for women. The women-only night features the usual uplifting mix of indie, soul, handbag and disco tunes from the 60s to the present day. The Winchester Club, Fri 5 Nov.
THE SHONDES The Brooklyn band, whose sound has been described as queer Jewish post-punk, blend radical politics and heart-breaking melodies with klezmer influences. For this special concert the band are joined by Glasgow glam punks Miss the Occupier and guests. The Winchester Club, Sat 6 Nov. RED DUST ROAD Much-loved poet, novelist and short story writer Jackie Kay returns to Glasgay! following last year’s triumph The Maw Broon Monologues, reading from her acclaimed memoir Red Dust Road. With music from Suzanne Bonnar and Alan Brown. Tron Theatre, Wed 10 Nov.
THE IRREPRESSIBLES The unique ten-piece performance orchestra arrive north of the border to showcase their unique fusion of pop, European orchestra and soaring vocals. Their flamboyant, theatrical stage show brings to life songs from their debut album, Mirror Mirror. The Arches, Thu 11 Nov.
THE BIG LOUD & PROUD CEILIDH Glasgay!’s annual fundraiser for the LGBT community is the ideal opportunity to get suited and booted and enjoy an evening of music and dance courtesy of The Loud and Proud Choir and the Belle Star Band. St Andrews in the Square, Fri 12 Nov.