Tuesday, 2 October 2012

BiDiNG TiME (Remix) - Louise Quinn and Pippa Bailey Go Global

When Louise Quinn found herself in a meeting with twenty people to 
discuss what sort of training shoes she should be wearing, she 
recognised something was amiss. That was when Quinn was fronting the 
band, Hardbody, the 1990s near misses whose major label masters 
instigated such a meeting.

Such an absurd con-flab may have fed into the narrative for the video 
that accompanied The Glimmer Song, a single by Quinn’s current combo, 
the eponymously inclined A Band Called Quinn. In the video, Quinn and 
the band are brought to life by some evil puppet-master who puts them 
in a toy theatre where they’re forced to perform as he sees fit. This 
in turn may have informed BiDiNG TiMe (Remix), Quinn’s version of a 
play written by Australian auteur Pippa Bailey, which Quinn performs at 
The Arches in Glasgow this weekend for one night only.

BiDiNG TiME charts the rise and fall of Thyme, a young woman chasing 
love and fame in a man's world. Where Bailey's original version, first 
performed twenty-five years ago, looked at Thyme's situation from the 
perspective of an actress, Quinn's remix of the play puts her 
first-hand experiences of music business  peccadilloes very much to the 
fore.

“It’s my mid-life crisis project,” Bailey says of BiDiNG TiME, “and 
there’s no shame in that, but I didn’t just want to go back to the 
story, but to look at the whole theatre system and the way it is made. 
There is an economic crisis and an environmental crisis going on, but I 
wanted to look at the role of theatre in that and the role of women 
within that. If all the world’s a stage, if we want to change the 
world, what does that mean for theatre?”

Bailey’s solution after a quarter of a century running arts centres and 
alternative museums was not just to revisit BiDiNG TiME, but to offer 
it out to anyone to do with as they wish. With Grid Iron director Ben 
Harrison having already read Bailey's script, once Quinn discovered it, 
the meeting of minds and ideas proved irresistible to all parties.

“Within fifteen minutes of meeting Pippa I recognised that we’d both 
had that similar brush with the big time, but that we were still doing 
it,” says Quinn. “I thought the original play was great, but I thought 
we could make it darker and more multi-media based, and that I could 
put in my own experience in the music industry. It was a really great 
catalyst to create the show. That over-arching theme of fame and women 
in the entertainment industry is so potent today in the celebrity-based 
culture we live in.”

Quinn is a natural fit for BiDiNG TiME (Remix). As the video for The 
Glimmer Song illustrates, there has long been an inherent theatricality 
to A Band Called Quinn’s oeuvre. This was  borne in part from her drama 
school training at the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow and stints with 
left-field theatre company, Mischief La Bas. It was only fully on 
capitalised on when A Band Called Quinn took part in Vanishing Point’s 
radical and audaciously dystopian take on The Beggar’s Opera on the 
main stage of the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. BiDiNG TiME brings 
together all of Quinn's creative worlds in close-up.

“The characters are composites of people we knew in the music 
industry,” she says, “and some of the lines are things that they 
actually said. These people were disconnected from my reality and other 
people’s reality. From the outside people only see the glitz and the 
glamour of the music industry, but it’s really quite a cold, grey 
place.”

BiDiNG TiME has already made connections across the world, with artists 
in Iran, Australia and India remaking the story of Thyme in their own 
image. Closer to home, Bailey has worked with kindred spirits such as 
Little Bulb, and has presented related events at the bongo Club in 
Edinburgh. This ties in with Bailey's notion of exploring space and 
location of where and how theatre is made. The result, while still in 
its early stages, has been the creation of a loose-knit global village 
exploring the ideas of Bailey's play in a more intimate, 
community-based environment.

“Rather than tour, I'm more interested in doing it locally,” bailey 
says. “That's something to do with the environmental agenda that's in 
the play, and doing it this way means we're no longer stuck in an 
existing hierarchy that's no longer useful to us. I think people are 
looking for something beyond cultural imperialism.”

With this in mind, the Arches show, directed by Harrison, is produced 
by Tromolo Productions, the company set up by Quinn which also releases 
her band's records. BiDiNG TiME (Remix), then, is about taking control 
on every level.

“How do you get new ideas out into the world?” asks Bailey. “You share 
it. Fundamentally this project is all about change. If somebody's 
interested in doing the play, then let them. See what they do with it, 
and make theatre more democratic.”

BiDiNG TiME (Remix), The Arches, Glasgow, October 6th
www.thearches.co.uk
www.tromoloproductions.com

The Herald, October 2nd 2012

ends

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