Skip to main content

Pamela Carter – Slope

When Untitled Projects' production of Slope opens this week at the
Citizens Theatre in Glasgow as part of this year's Glasgay! festival,
both the writer and director of this sex and drug fuelled study of the
love affair between nineteenth century poets, Verlaine and Rimbaud,
will be absent from the auditorium. Instead, director Stewart Laing and
playwright Pamela Carter will be watching a live online feed of a show
first seen at Tramway in 2006 in a production which put the audience
above the stage peering down into the poets' bathroom as if spying on
some of the lovers' most intimate moments.

Slope's new hi-tech approach will further the play's underlying theme
of voyeurism. This originally developed, not out of the script, but
from the starting point of Laing's design.

“All those years ago,” Carter recalls, “Stewart had this design, and
wanted to develop a piece of work using it. It struck me that having an
audience peering down into a bathroom is as voyeuristic as you can get,
and at the time there was a lot of stuff going round about Pete Doherty
and all these badly behaved rock stars, so I applied that to Verlaine
and Rimbaud. It's about realism, and it's about naturalism, and it
seemed to me that the best thing would be to write a very
straightforward play, albeit one in which the room is a character.

“Then Stewart talked to me again about wanting to do the play
specifically in a studio theatre space,  we looked at it again, and
because it's being done in a different space, that dictated certain
structural changes. It's still the same story, with the same three
characters, but for me it's about the spatial relationship between the
audience and the actor. It's not a literary event.”

The original production of Slope was Carter's first collaborations with
Untitled, since when she has scripted the company's twenty-first
century reworking of Marivaux's La Dispute, An Argument About Sex. More
recently, Carter penned Untitled's hit collaboration with the National
Theatre of Scotland, Paul Bright's Confessions of A Justified Sinner.
The latter show has already toured to Sweden and Ireland, and is lined
up for several international theatre festivals in 2015

As a dramaturg too, Carter has worked on many of the most vital pieces
of theatre seen in Scotland in recent times. She has forged a close
working relationship with Vanishing Point, with whom she has worked on
Interiors, Saturday Night, and, most recently, the haunting Tomorrow.

As a playwright, Carter has written What We Know for the Traverse
Theatre in Edinburgh, which also hosted Carter's own EK company's
production of Game Theory. Carter has also worked with the National
Theatre of Scotland, Tramway and the Finborough Theatre.

Yet, despite such an impressive string of credits, it is not Carter's
name one readily associates with such works as Interiors and Paul
Bright's Confessions of A Justified Sinner, and it seems at times that
she simply isn't getting the credit she deserves. While much of this is
down to the collaborative nature of her work, it is also in part down
to how it is contextualised. If judged in terms of a visual art or live
art context rather than a theatrical one, perhaps her profile might
appear higher.

“A lot of literary managers find it hard to read my work,” Carter says.
“The vocabulary of my work is non-literary, and the working
relationships I've developed have all been based on friendship and
trust as artists, and I get to work with people I really like as
artists. The reason I ended up in Glasgow was to do my Ph.D. in visual
art and performance, and I taught on the Contemporary Theatre Practice
course at what was then RSAMD.

“It's a fairly niche place I operate in, but I can't bash my way
through a TV script just to make money. That makes things financially
difficult, but spiritually and artistically I'm probably richer. I have
friends writing for TV, and they talk to me about all the compromises
they have to make. For me that's the opposite of what art is about, and
you just end up with this lowest common denominator thing. But do I
feel hard done by? Of course I do.”

Given that Untitled Projects has just been turned down by Creative
Scotland for three-year Regular Funding, a move which may jeopardise
the company's future, Carter may well have good reason to feel hard
done by.

In the meantime, she has commissions for the Traverse and the National
Theatre of Scotland ongoing, as well as work with the Yard Theatre in
London. Carter is also about to embark on a course to learn about
writing for opera.

“I'm interested in form,” she says. “I've been thinking about opera for
a while, and it's a chance to learn about something new. I'm always
looking for some new challenge.”

This is evident in Carter's ongoing work with Swedish conceptual art
duo, Goldin + Senneby.

“They're very much against the idea of the artist as author,” Carter
explains of a project that looks at the nature of financial reality by
way of alchemy and algorithmic trading. “They're interested in
financial and tyrannical structures.”

Again, context is everything for Carter in work which is as much at
times an exploration of herself  as the ideas that stem from that.
Given just how much she doesn't make life easy for herself, what drives
her to work in this way?

“A difficult childhood?”she suggests. “I've been reading the
psychologist, Adam Phillips, and he talks a lot about not getting it. I
make work that some people don't always get, work that, if it doesn't
make me feel uncomfortable, then I'm not that interested in it. I'm
half Chinese, and was brought up by my father, but was surrounded by
the Chinese side of the family, who would all be talking to me, or at
me, with me not having a clue what they were on about. So I'm kind of
used to not getting it, and as much as I can work in the mainstream if
they'll have me, maybe I've deliberately put myself outside it.”

Slope, Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, November 12-22; Traverse Theatre,
Edinburgh, November 26-29. Slope will be live-streamed at
www.kiltr.com/slope. Signing up to the site is required.
www.citz.co.uk
www.traverse.co.uk


Pamela Carter – A life in theatre

As a writer, director and dramaturg, Pamela Carter has worked in
Scotland and beyond for more than fifteen years.

Between 1998 and 2004, she was a lecturer in cultural theory and
performance at what was then RSAMD (now Royal Conservatoire Scotland)
on the Contemporary Theatre Practice course.

From 1998 to 2002, Carter was Research Associate with Suspect Culture,
the theatre company led by director Graham Eatough, writer David Greig
and composer Nick Powell.

In 2004, Carter founded her own performance company, EK, for whom she
directed Habitats (2004), and devised and directed Soul Pilots (2004)
and Plain Speaking (2005) for Tramway in Glasgow. She also co-wrote and
directed Game Theory (2008), which was nominated for the
Meyer-Whitworth award.

As a dramaturg, Carter has worked with Untitled Projects, the National
Theatre of Scotland, Coney HQ and Malmo Opera House. With Vanishing
Point she has worked on Interiors (2009), Saturday Night (2011) and
Tomorrow (2014).

Carter's plays include What We Know for the Traverse (2010) and Teatro
Circulo in New York (2013) and Wildlife for Magnetic North (2011).

Skane was first seen at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs (2011), and won
the New Writing Commission at the Berliner Festspiele Stukemarkt
(2012), and received its German premiere as In Der Ebene at Theatre Ulm
(2014)

Carter has also written Fast Ganz Nah/Almost Near for the Dresden
Staatsshauspiel (2013) and the Finborough Theatre (2014).

With Untitled Projects, Carter has written Slope (2006), An Argument
About Sex – After Marivaux's La Dispute (2009) and Paul Bright's
Confessions of A Justified Sinner (2013). The latter, a co-production
with the National Theatre of Scotland, has also been seen in Ireland
and Sweden.

Carter also works with Swedish conceptual art duo Goldin + Senneby on
The Nordenskiold Model, an ongoing investigation into algorithmic
trading and the nature of financial reality. Scenes have been staged 
in Bucharest, Vilnius, Rotterdam, Stockholm, New York, Aachen and
Copenhagen.

Carter was the IASH/Traverse Theatre Creative Fellow at Edinburgh
University in 2012.

The Herald, November 11th 2014


ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1
1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77)
3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77)
4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77)
5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77)
6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77)
7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77)
8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78)
9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78)
10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79) 
11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79)
12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79) 
13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79)
14. JOLT See Saw (6/79)
15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79)
16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79)
17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79)
18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79)
19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79)
20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79)
21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79)
22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79)
23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79)
24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80)
25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980)

1. THE REZILLOS I Can’t Stand My Baby (Sensible FAB 18/77) If it wasn’t for T…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …