Tuesday, 2 September 2014

My Back Pages...

I have been trawling the web - well, mainly The Skinny - for my old articles about theatre. Most of these have been cut and pasted onto this blog, which explains why the atmosphere round here feels like 2008. Apart from the chance to collate my reviews and previews into an archive, and support the work I am doing on Glasgow performance, it has been a fascinating glance backwards at how my process has been shaped by the performances that I have seen.

My first surprise is at how quickly I became an antagonist towards scripted theatre. I have played it for laughs in the past (usually, I'd mention that I liked 'weird stuff' before enjoying a particular scripted show), but it came from seeing work at Tramway in the early part of the twenty-first century. My experience of Forced Entertainment's Bloody Mess defined my expectations of theatre, and although it was before I became a critic, I spent most of 2008 wishing that they'd come back to Scotland and remind me of what I loved.

I blush at many of my opinions: I can see that they were shaped as much by the format of the review as the performance. Because of this, although I can stand by what I said, I can't really defend myself. This is especially a problem for those works that I can't remember... and that goes for pieces by artists that I still review. 

Hopefully, as I find articles from 2010, I'll remember more shows.

If there is an evolution in my writing - and remember, evolution is not a progressive process - there is also an evolution in the work being staged. My ascension to theatre editor of The Skinny happened around the time that Andy Arnold moved to The Tron from The Arches - I remember doing an interview with him on his departure. This consolidated The Arches as a place for more experimental performance under Jackie Wylie, and Arnold pursued his interest in the written word in his new job.

I am also surprised by the absence of reviews from Tramway. I might have put them up somewhere else - there must be a response to Les Ballets C de la B's VSPRS. I'm also hacked off that I didn't review Iona Kewney that first time I saw her perform. I remember being so ecstatic when I watched it, I asked someone else to review it.

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