Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Company of Wolves (Seven Hungers) First thoughts

Christmas Time

I think I ought to visit my family at Christmas. They might have moved since the last time that I saw them - I am quite bad at keeping in touch, sending text messages and that kind of business.

If I do visit them (and they haven't moved to the south of France), there are some things I might like to catch in London. I am not saying that I only go and see them because they are convenient for a trip to the theatre in the Big Smoke. But they are usually glad to see me piss off for a few hours after the first few hours.

Or, if I go this weekend, I could see this. Cos I am all about the science bit (is that Clinique? Or 'because I'm worth it? I don't really know, but I have started shaving again, so maybe I ought to find out).

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Wozzeck, part 2

The Real Dissolves

The Citizens gets a spring in its step...

The Critics greet the news of the new season

Oi oi, Mad Cyril ere. Ready for the latest news from the Citz? Thought so.

Appy Birfday to the ol' fella in the Gorbals - 70 years young taday. An they've sent us all a press release. Let's ave a peek at wat they are up ta. 

· A new production of classic twentieth-century Scottish favourite
ga-ken wan
The Slab Boys, written and designed by John Byrne and directed by and featuring David Hayman in the cast.

Ayman's alright by Cyril. Did a tasty piece - two ov em - in the Fringe and as a passion fer the polemical art. Ee did Lear with Dom Ill a bit back, and ee's got those sweet actin chops. Byrne's shown is moves wiv a couple of translations of Chekhov in the past year. Nice. 

· A major new play by Douglas Maxwell, Fever Dream: Southside, a hallucinatory comic thriller set in Glasgow’s Southside.

Sarfside Massive shout out. Maxwell's got a free pass if ee's talkin baht my manor.

· Into That Darkness, an adaptation by former Citizens Theatre Artistic Director Robert David MacDonald of Gitta Sereny’s interviews with SS-Obersturmf├╝hrer Franz Stangl.

Nice... here's one for Anselm Henrich off Glasgow Uni. Ardcore.

· Return visit by theatre company Headlong with The Absence of War, David Hare’s state of the nation play focusing on the Labour party.

Sweet, bit of a modern classic.

· A radical re-imagining of Macbeth by Filter.

It betta be very radical. Frickin Shakespeare. Still, Filter'll rip it like ya jaw on a sovreign. 

· Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014 hit Lippy by young Irish theatre company Dead Centre.

· The Garden, an opera by Zinnie and John Harris and David Leddy’s Long Live the Little Knife in the theatre’s Circle Studio.

John Harris is sound. Zinnie is cool. Baht time they teamed up. 

· Top names on the UK comedy circuit including John Shuttleworth, Henning Wehn, Simon Amstell, Jon Ronson, Susan Calman and Des Clarke as part of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival.

A bunch of jokers, eh?

Announcing the new season Artistic Director Dominic Hill said

"This season honours the Citizens’ long-standing tradition of bold and daring work that speaks to Glasgow audiences. As well as welcoming back old friends and showcasing some exciting new talent, I'm particularly looking forward to directing Douglas Maxwell’s new work, set in the Southside of Glasgow and exploring universal themes of parenthood, community and belonging."

Aving all of it, big style...

Wozzeck, BBC, SSO @ City Halls

Thomas J Mayer as Wozzeck at City Halls, Glasgow 2014. Photo BBC, Alex Woodward.jpg
There are many matters to consider in Buchner's unfinished script
Whether it is tragic, melodramatic or simply badly clipped
So the action is uncertain and the main protagonist
May be a dirty villain or just violent when he's pissed.

Other questions spring to mind, when listening to Berg:
Is this the beginning of theatre that's absurd?
Where life has no meaning and a painful godless despair
Is the legacy to which every man is heir?

Then there is the matter of the message that it brings.
Is Maria just a slut or victim of the men who pull her strings?
The main man in the meantime has a life that is a wreck,
Worst of all the problem of how you pronounce Wozzeck.

The music is atonal, experimental avant-garde:
(That's a way of saying that it is very hard).
Berg provides a soundscape that is harsh and frantic
But in poetic fallacies it recalls the late Romantic.

The SSO put it on, they call their approach 'semi-staged'.
This is, the singers act a bit, like when Wozzeck gets enraged.
An outline of a larger version which they could have produced
But despite the lack of scenery, this concert does not feel reduced.

The protagonist himself was done by Thomas Mayer
He portrayed a feckless man whose girlfriend is a player.
The pompous drum major seduces her in no time
We watch Wozzeck's descent to death despite he did no crime - 

Expect, of course, for taking to her throat a knife.
To pay her infidelity, she sadly lost her life.
Poor Wozzeck doesn't get away without punishment:
He is the victim of the carelessness of the establishment.

The music is Wagnerian in the way it works.
It provides subtext behind the singing as it menacingly lurks.
Wozzeck in the army is a lowly grunt:
He feels a fear of nature when goes on a hunt.

The orchestra's heavy and the musicians tight
They rumble in the darkness and rage during the fight
Between Wozzeck and his lady's lover.
And the sense of doom does always hover

In the scenes where his son is ignored by his dad:
Even the lighter moments have the threat of the bad.
Wozzeck claims that being poor means no morality...
He is paid back by his bird's disloyalty.

The SSO take it in their stride, 
whether roaring in the violence
Or bringing nuance to the glide
From the party scenes to the final death
They conjure an absurd world
Where misery comes with every breath.

It's not the triumph of the will
It's a Gesamtkunstwerk
Where words and music come together
To illuminate the story hidden in the murk
Of a world that does not care
About the human doings
And a man who wouldn't dare
To think above his station.

In the final doomy scenes
When poor Wozzeck comes to his end
The doctor who had him eating beans
Strolls past with his general friend.
They hear the drowning man
As he accidently dies
They stroll past chatting
And ignore his cries.

It's a magnificent piece
Given energetic show
By a sharp piece of playing
By the SSO.

We may talk of the triumph, the glory
Of the will and the soul
Of the music and the story
And recall the majesty of Sophocles,
But beyond all this, the man of the day
Is the conductor Runnicles. 

Monday, 27 October 2014

Galerie Pascal Cuisinier to unveil cult pieces at Design Miami: The music video for A Band Called Quinn's track Forget About It

The video was directed by Scottish filmmaker Uisdean Murray & produced by Scottish production company Tromolo Productions. The song is from the show & album Biding Time (remix) which was part of this year's Made In Scotland showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Watch the video here: