CHOICE OF THE WEEK AHEAD:
1 THE SEVENTH SEAL EDINBURGH FILMHOUSE LOTHIAN ROAD, TONIGHT UNTIL THU AUG 2, 8.45PM, VARIOUS AFTERNOON SCREENINGS
It’s 50 years since cinema audiences were first treated to the sight of a medieval Knight-Crusader – the charismatically gaunt Max von Sydow – playing a life-or-death game of chess with the Grim Reaper. In truth, this highly theatrical scene from Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal has been much parodied ever since – Woody Allen has had a go, so too have French and Saunders. But nothing has remotely diminished the iconic status of Bergman’s 1957 meditation on life and death, suffering humanity and the very existence of God.
Set in the Middle Ages, at a time when plague, superstition and fundamental Christianity are unleashing havoc in the Knight’s homeland, The Seventh Seal broods with dark, dramatic instances of brutality and pain – in some cases selfinflicted in desperate penance, like a last-ditch plea-bargain with a displeased and disease-inflicting God. And still our Knight refuses to let Death check-mate all mankind ... making The Seventh Seal more about hope than doom and gloom.
A new print is now in circulation so modern audiences can see for themselves why this work by the Swedish film-maker has become the stuff of cinema legend. See www.filmhousecinema.com.
2 YIN&YANG/ ACTIONREACTION MACROBERT ARTS CENTRE, UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING, TONIGHT AND TOMORROW, 7.30PM
Throughout this weekend, Martin Robinson and his Martial Dance crew have been encouraging tinies and teenagers – and adults, too – to try out the kind of martial-arts techniques and different dance moves that the company does on-stage. In fact, Robinson himself reckons it’s more of a two-way exchange, and that teaching helps him “keep in touch with my audience and ensure my work is speaking to them. More than that, ideas and musical and cultural influences that come from classrooms do find their way into my dance – and this residency at the MacRobert has been an ideal way to expand on this.”
He’s been making a new piece while at the MacBob and this – called ActionReaction – will be part of the Martial Dance double bill that the company are performing there. “ActionReaction is about provocation and response, about constraint and freedom, and about the impact of new ideas,” says Robinson. It’s also about combining dance styles – like breakdance or body-popping – with martial arts to create fresh, energetic and highly watchable choreographies with real appeal ... even for folk who tend to give dance a body swerve at the box office.
3 DAMASCUS TRAVERSE, EDINBURGH TONIGHT 8PM; TOMORROW AND WED 7PM When I say that Damascus is a
new play by David Greig, then you’ll see why grabbing a place for one of these preview performances makes very good sense – once the Fringe proper gets under way, chances are this will prove a sell-out hot ticket.
Greig has recently been spending time in the Middle East, mentoring new writers there, and he has drawn on some of his own experiences for this play about cultural cross purposes and international strife. Set in Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited city on earth, the piece explores what happens when a Scotsman, Paul, arrives to sell English language textbooks – and finds himself grappling with words and meanings and misunderstandings … oh, and love.
4 TROCABRAHMA 07 OLD FRUITMARKET, GLASGOW, TONIGHT & TOMORROW, 7PM; THE CLASSIC GRAND, GLASGOW, TONIGHT, 10PM
An old British farce, called Charley’s Aunt, rejoices in a running gag that goes “Brazil – where the nuts come from!” Let’s re-write that and say “Brazil – where they’re nuts about music!” and then head for the venues where TrocaBrahma is parading a series of musical collaborations to make your ears zing and your mouth water.
The line-up is like an inspired – OK, offthe-wall – game of Consequences. King Creosote meets Romulo Froes and the result is sublime Scottish folk and balmy bossa nova.
Elsewhere, those Brazilian psych-rock superstars, Os Mutantes, are playing their first-ever live shows in Scotland; expect groundbreaking mayhem in the key of Tropicalia from them, then add in clubland tearaway JD Twitch (Optimo) and prepare for liftoff.
Need I say you’d be nuts to miss out on an event that promises to be a cocktail of aural delights (albeit sponsored by Brazil’s best-selling beer). See www.trocabrahma. com.
5 PROJECT Y 2007 THE SPACE, DUNDEE COLLEGE, TODAY, 2.30PM & 7.30PM; THE ARCHES, GLASGOW, TUES & WED, 7.30PM
Y stands for “youth” – in this instance, youth with dancing feet. More than two dozen of them, all keen to test their mettle in new works by four different choreographers.
The project is headed up by YDance (Scotland’s National Youth Dance Agency) and is seen by YDance’s artistic director, Andy Howitt, as an invaluable bridge between local youth dance and professional training.
Which means that, across a four week stint at the Space, those young dancers who passed the auditions will find out what it’s like to be in a studio learning moves on the hoof and then rehearsing for a short tour of public performances.
Howitt himself has choreographed one of the pieces, Mungo Park (inspired by the life of the 17th-century explorer). Katy McKeown, Lisi Perry and Thomas Small have added improvisation, humour and fast-paced physicality to the mix.
6 YOUTHWORKS RSAMD, GLASGOW, THU & FRI, 7.30PM; SAT, 2.30PM & 7.30PM
Film-making, musical theatre, text-based drama – the past month has seen the RSAMD swarming with young people either learning lines, humming tunes or pointing cameras in pursuit of interesting angles, as the Academy’s Youthworks programme swings into action. And now, it’s time to catch up with the results. Hinterland is a new music theatre piece about a house party on the shores of Loch Ness that turns out to be more explosive than anyone imagine. Various films will be screened a half-hour before the theatre performances. Details on www.rsamd.ac.uk or call general enquiries on 0141 332 4101 or the box office 0141 332 5057.
Clockwise from main: The Seventh Seal; Glasgow hosts TrocaBrahama; Damascus, David Greig’s new play; YDance performs in Dundee and Glasgow; Martial Dance is in Stirling; Youthworks at RSAMD