September theatre

Blog by Gareth K Vile | 24 Sep 2008
  • Ashes - Les Ballets C de la B

In last month’s editorial, I suggested that while performance might not be damaging to the social structure, it is, at best, morally neutral. This position could be seen to undermine the purpose of art - after all, if it is just pretty shapes and sounds and movements, how can it be taken seriously? If it makes no impact, what's the point?

Fortunately, many performers disagree with me, and much of this month’s work has explicit intentions. Glasgay! has always had a political edge and its imaginative programming is both a testament to queer visibility and the possibilities of engaged aesthetics.

Over at the Traverse, two new plays bid for contemporary relevance. Cockroach exposes the social implications of Darwinism while Midsummer, by David Greig, is a fragmented modern romance. And returning to the revitalised Tron, The Quiz Show merges quiz night and live art, as the host - there really is a quiz - hopes to involve his audience in a game show that will hide his increasingly chaotic emotional life.

As the recent Arches Live! season demonstrated, actors and dancers are still looking to provoke and entertain. Sometimes this can be formal - a quick subversion of a genre’s clichés or the intrusion of some crass audience participation - other times emotional. My personal love for Belgian work is based on the almost relentless exploration of the unspoken and the excluded, which is always delivered with profound compassion and energy. Arches Live! proved that Scotland does have young artists who are willing to respond to this challenge.