Sunday, April 5, 2009

New Plays, Old Plays

This week I saw two new works and dove into some that have been around awhile.

First up was a lunchtime entree at Oran Mor. Oran Mor is a very groovy pub here in Glasgow that hosts a lunchtime theatre program called; A Play, a Pie and a Pint. Now when I say ‘pub’, let me be clear that this is not your standard watering hole. Oran Mor means ‘great melody of life' and is housed in a beautiful building that originally served as a church. It is a gorgeous and unique structure that accommodates theatre goers, diners, weekend partiers and even wedding guests. The upper floor is available for bookings and many a wedding and various other events have taken place in the one time sanctuary with colorful stain glass windows, stone arches and a celestial ceiling mural by Alasdair Gray. On the ground floor is the Whisky Bar that stocks over 250 malts. Thirsty? Downstairs is where you can catch a show or go to a rave. The times I have been there it has been converted into a performance space. But it’s my understanding that some nights there is a band jammin’ away and a dance floor full of people boogying their cares away.

A Play, a Pie and a Pint is just what it says. You pay for a ticket and get a play, a pie (savory meal pie, like a quiche, not peach pie a la mode) and a pint (of beer). You find a seat, have your lunch and then relax and enjoy a piece of theatre for an hour or so. Good deal! Monday premiered David Harrower’s latest work ‘Lucky Box’. Mr. Harrower, as you may recall, is the playwright working with me and five other of my fellow classmates to devise a new play for performance in August/September. ‘Lucky Box’ was a cast of two; a middle aged man and a teenage boy. The man had a few questions for the boy. I don’t want to say too much more as the play had many twists and turns and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone wanting to see it. But I will say, it wasn’t a comedy! It was a dark story but interesting to watch with lots of surprises!

Thursday evening I went to see a play at the Citizens Theatre. The Citz is a lovely traditional theatre space. We saw a new work called ‘Be Near Me’ adapted for the stage by Ian McDiarmid based on the novel of the same name by Andrew O’Hagan. The novel is very famous and much loved here in Scotland. And the atmosphere in the talk back Q & A after the show suggested that people felt the stage play did the book justice. The story revolves around Father David Damian who is assigned to a new parish in the small Aryshire town of Dalgarnock. It is a troubled region with high unemployment and domestic difficulties. Father David finds himself transfixed on the lives of two delinquent teenagers as they explore a debaucherous life that he has never experienced. Father David was portrayed by the play’s adaptor Ian McDiarmid who fans may recall from the Star Wars films. He played Darth Vader’s evil mentor; The Emperor. No trace of the evil Emperor in 'Be Near Me'. Just an outstanding delivery of Father David by a most accomplished actor. Indeed, the entire cast served the show very well. And I might add, that many of them are RSAMD grads! ‘Be Near Me’ is a co-production of the National Theatre of Scotland and the Donmar Warehouse. It will move on after its run here in Glasgow and continue to tour the UK. If you get a chance, I recommend going to see it! Good stuff!

The rest of the weekend has been filled with our old friend William Shakespeare. I have been reading Julius Caesar and King Lear and hashing out my five character lists. These too are deep, dark pieces of theatre. I love it but man, I need to see a comedy! If I get some more work done on these and other assignments, I may treat myself to a movie tomorrow. Something light and fluffy, please!!

In the meantime, on we plow! Enjoy the spring holidays everyone!!
Take care,

For more on the Citizens Theatre visit:

For more on ‘Be Near Me’ visit:

For more on Oran Mor visit:

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