Edinburgh News: theatre
The pale corporation - green tiles of the cold stark set of a psychiatric ward already made for a chilling atmosphere as the audience filled Glasgow’s Tramway theatre at the first night of th
Eugene Ionesco was a Romanian dramatist who made Paris his home. He was one of the theatrical revolutionaries who “helped inaugurate the Theatre of the Absurd” after writing a one act ‘antiplay’, La Cantatrice Chauve (The Bald Soprano) in 1949.
A memory from les evenements (the term is used advisedly) in Tahrir Square. A young woman, smartly dressed, wearing a hijab and Palestinian keffiyeh grins as she waves a victory sign to the camera. An icon for much more than the Egyptian element of the Arab Spring, and in both dress and gesture, symbolic of a rising generation skilfully negotiating both modernity and a reviving Islamic consciousness.
This year's Edinburgh Fringe promises “more artists performing more work, in more venues, than ever before”.
Following a 6% increase on last year’s programme, visitors to the biggest performing arts festival in the world will have a staggering 2,695 Fringe shows to choose from in August (see Fringe stats).
The penultimate play in this season’s A Play, A Pie and A Pint series of writing from the Arab world is a collaboration among several writers and miscellaneous people who contributed various tales, slogans and related experiences and has been devised by the show’s directors David Greig and Fiona MacKinnon and the two actors, Seif Abdelfattah, Sara Shaarawi.
Actors’ Touring Company (ATC) is committed to producing quality international contemporary theatre, using “…the most innovative scripts from abroad, often commissioning its own translations and creating work collaboratively with artists from the UK and overseas.”
‘Translation is always a form of treachery’. Perhaps. Yet it may be an unavoidable treachery. Dogstar’s The Captain’s Collection tiptoes around the implications of this without fully addressing the issue.
I was recently sent an article written by theatre critic Irving Wardle from the magazine Intelligent Life, where he wrote about what he called a “Fifinella moment”. This comes from his childhood, where at a children’s show called Fifinella he experienced the very live and exciting moment where the ‘fourth wall’ in theatre is broken down. He says you experience “the physical thrill of being there and tasting the disruption.”
A cold, wet evening in May (aye, May) is not the best atmosphere for being at the wrong venue for a launch. My excuse? There was a hint somewhere in an email about seeing renovations and anyway, what do I know about building schedules? Answer: hee haw. We are so used in Edinburgh to the disruption of barriers closed streets and roads, that whether or not scaffolding has gone down is barely noted any more. Luckily, I was in the Guides so used my initiative and soon came across some likely folk on the way to the launch in St Andrew Square. (Note to self: always read the small print.)
In this latest in the A Play, A Pie and A Pint series from the Arab world, we have a story from Damascene writer Abdullah Alkafri about Ayman, a middle aged psychiatrist whose homosexual son has disappeared after being thrown out by his father, and who believes that one of his patients has been involved with his son.
Plutôt la Vie is a Scottish touring theatre company, founded in 2003 by Tim Lacata and Ian Cameron. Both have trained with such clowning greats as Pierre Byland and Philippe Gaulier, who share the belief that acting is, ‘a child’s game played with great pleasure and dexterity that forms a rapport with the audience by speaking to their imagination.’
The set of this new production from Andy Manley, Rob Evans and macrobert, Mikey and Addie, looks like the inside a jewellery box with its black pedestals holding sparkly silver treasures. The two bespectacled characters, dressed soberly yet daringly in combinations of yellow, maroon, grey and teal by the eye of Alison Brown that hint at their future link to each other sit at the edge of the stage.
Audience participation is often an integral part of children’s theatre, but this performance took interaction to a whole new level, to the absolute delight of the younger members of the audience.
Dressed in flat cap and corduroys, the precise and tidy Frank (Luke Walker) inhabits the safe and ordered world of his allotment where part of his familiar routine is the highlight of reading the regular postcards from his daughter and grandson in Australia.
Cloudia, the tweedy and anoraky cloud expert with her absent minded specs held together with a plaster, is already sitting on stage intently taking notes as the toddling audience takes its seats in the Church Hill Theatre Studio. Cloudia (Jen Edgar Ireland) is on a determined mission to find a Cloud Man, a shy elusive creature who lives in the clouds.
After queuing in the foyer of the Church Hill Theatre with the delights of Loopy Lorna’s tearoom luring in the background, the audience of nursery aged children go on another wee adventure round the corner in the rain to the Church Hill Theatre Studio. Here we are invited to remove our coats and shoes and enter the incredible world of Paperbelle.
The Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival is only in its third day and already in full swing going by the buzz of lanyard wearing delegates in venues. Today’s performance of Titus, was originally written by award winning Belgian writer Jan Sobrie, and is considered one of Europe's most successful plays for young people (recommended age is 11+ years). Small wonder.
Musselburgh’s Brunton Theatre was an apt venue for this re-telling of the dark tale from the Brothers Grimm that has been set in a place called Scallop Street and refers to a Mussel Beach.
The Imaginate Festival is now in its 23rd year. Running for a full week at venues across Edinburgh, the 2012 line up includes performances from 14 different companies from Europe and beyond.
A former Scottish church may seem like an odd venue to re -create a Weimar style cabaret, but the phenomenal presence of this international award winning cabaret star allowed the audience to suspend their disbelief and be transported back in time though her vital interpretation of the music of Brecht and Brel as she made a welcome return to Edinburgh on Friday night.