Skip to main content

Far Away/Seagulls

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
4 stars
There's something astonishing about this rare double bill of short 
plays by Caryl Churchill, if only to get some kind of insight into how 
this most singular of writers mind works. In Far Away, first seen in 
2000, a young girl is exposed to the brutality of a war which becomes 
increasingly extreme. At first, Lucy Hollis' Joan appears to be an 
evacuee who witnesses her uncle doling out violence to a lorry-load of 
refugees, only to be co-opted into a conspiracy of silence by her aunt. 
By the end, she's in the thick of a conflict which has corrupted the 
planet so much that even nature and the animal kingdom are taking sides.

Seagulls, which dates from 1978, is less elliptical in its observation 
of how raw talent can be corrupted by celebrity.  Kathryn Howden's 
Valery is able to move objects with her mind, and, with her manager Di 
in tow, is about to launch a rocket for charity in front of a huge 
audience before being investigated by scientists at Harvard. Except, 
with the pressure on, she can't perform.

Director Dominic Hill has pulled out all the stops here, with Far Away 
in particular a technical marvel which has each scene punctuated by 
designer Neil Haynes' huge corrugated iron doors sliding open and shut 
as Scott Twynholm's dissonant industrial score plays. A mid-scene 
fashion parade proves even more jaw-dropping.

The plays themselves, featuring a set of wonderfully nuanced 
performances from Hollis, Howden, Alasdair Hankinson and Maureen Carr, 
are fiercely moral fables, even as they're shot through with a wry wit. 
It's Valery's moment of stillness at the end of Seagulls, however, 
that's most telling.

The Herald, May 27th 2013

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…

Rob Drummond – The Mack

Rob Drummond was at home in England when he looked at the news feed on his phone, and saw a post about the fire at Glasgow School of Art. It was June 2018, and the writer and performer behind such hits as Grain in the Blood, Bullet Catch and Our Fathers initially presumed the post was to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2014 blaze in GSA’s Mackintosh Building, which was undergoing a major restoration after much of it was destroyed.
As it turned out, the news was far worse, as reports of a second fire were beamed across the world. As someone who had taken Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic construction for granted while living in Glasgow, Drummond was as stunned as anyone else with even a passing relationship with the Mack.
While emotions continue to run high in response to the disaster, Drummond channelled his thoughts on all this into what he does best. The result is The Mack, a new play that forms part of Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and a Pint lunchtime theatre season in Glasgow prior …