Sunday, 3 March 2013

NTS Auteurs (Part Two)

Although the NTS' Auteurs season is a collaboration with The Arches - appropriately, given that all of the artists have a connection to what has become the home of experimental performance in Glasgow - the "theatre without walls" slogan has impacted the venue. The Behaviour strand has had a tendency to roam in the past - last year saw a visit to Kelvingrove and a trendy hairdressers in the West End - but only two of the auteurs are using The Arches as a base: Kieran Hurley is off to the Pearce Institute in Govan, Rob Drummond is nipping down to Tramway and Nic Green is keeping her destination quiet for the moment.

Site specific became a performance buzz-word a few years back - perhaps thanks to Minty Donald's scenographic fascination with location or David Leddy's interest in using unexpected parts of buildings - but The Arches has always added an element of itself to every production: between the sporadic trains passing above and the walls that evoke a medieval dungeon - never mind the smells of clubbing and drinking that linger into the following evening - The Arches likes to stamp productions with its distinctive presence. The decision of The Arches to encourage artists to perform beyond their walls is a natural extension.

Neither Nic Green nor Rob Drummond are especially dependent on their site to add drama: Green is comfortable touring her Trilogy through converted churches to London's Barbican complex, while Drummond is taking a trip across the Atlantic for Bullet Catch. Coming from very different backgrounds - Drummond a playwright, Green emerging from the live art scene centred around the former RSAMD (now the RCUS) - they have become ambassadors for the diversity and vitality of Scottish theatre.

Green's Shadowlands is, however, a site specific piece. Throughout her work, she has explored ideas ecological and feminist, articulating a consistent philosophy that is grounded in both. If Trilogy is recognised as an important feminist cycle, the manner of its devising, built around a community for each performance, revealed that Green's interest in ecosystems forms a crucial component of her art.

Her preoccupation with place - recently, Motherland and Fatherland asked questions about belonging, and video footage in Trilogy featured some smashing landscapes - naturally leads to site specific productions. That Shadowland is going to think about waste, and its environmental impact, adds purpose to the trip from The Arches.

Like the other artists in Auteurs, it is the importance of her presence that makes Green's performances unique. Her own academic interests in ecology and feminism are balanced by an insistence on her own experiences and belief - this is appropriate to her underlying philosophy, which refuses to deny the individual for abstract ideals and is shot through with a warm compassion. Her gentle yet firm vision guides her plays, and offers scope for discussion as well as serious analysis.

Rob Drummond is shaping up to be one of Scotland's most remarkable playwrights. He defied death in Bullet Catch. He wrote a play on the spot for Mr Write. He won a fight against a trained warrior in Wrestling. If his plays have a single theme, it is Drummond's own adventures into understanding the world through his desires.

The Riot of Spring is the second leg of Drummond's assault on audiences this Spring - Quiz Show  is the Traverse's main event this season. He has involved a musician and a dancer in this quest to consider Stravinsky and Nijinsky, who got together to irritate ballet audiences in 1913 with The Rite of Spring.

Drummond's reasons for the selection of this epoch changing moment are characteristically unpredictable: enchanted by the idea of artists making something original, he draws on the central myths of The Rite  and the rite within The Rite to link virgin sacrifices, insane artists and jigging tourists.

No comments :

Post a Comment