The Village Pub Theatre’s second
evening of short new dramas at the Traverse, in celebration of LGBT History
Month, came with a wonderfully louche vibe, thanks to the easy MC-ing style of Miss
Annabel Sings (and, yes, she does) of Edinburgh-based
Again ably directed by Caitlin Skinner, the six shorts relied upon a slightly bigger cast than the night before
The evening started off, for example, with Sylvia Dow’s Initial Moves which, in pure Sesame Street-style, added some cultural flesh and bones to the initials LGBT. (“G”, for example, was a re-enactment of a scene from Basil Bearden’s 1961 British film Victim, in which Dirk Bogarde played an in-the-closet and married lawyer who goes after a blackmailer – apparently it’s the first film to use the word “homosexual”.) Next came Jonathan Holt’s Question 6, a glimpse into a form-filling future where homosexuality is once again the cause of official censor; while arguably saddled with an obvious “twist”, Holt nevertheless manages to end things on a more optimistic note than you might expect. Finally, Deb Jones Opium Den took us back to 1920s Paris where two madly-in-love women repeatedly contradicted and confirmed the explosive joy of their relationship.
Following the interval, Sophie Good’s Are you a boy or are you a girl? gamely mixed verbatim quotes from LGBT people with the heteronormative boundaries of a primary school classroom where the word of the day was “normal”. In contrast, Ellie Stewart’s Burds in Space proved a touching exploration of the relationship between Sally Ride – who, in June 1983, became the first female American astronaut – and her partner Tam Elizabeth O’Shaughnessy. (Host Miss Annabel Sings voiced the concerns of many about this piece’s use of a stepladder, but a risk assessment had indeed been carried out beforehand.) Lastly, Louise E Knowles’s Meeting People is Easy showed us one man’s introduction to geosocial networking app Grindr, and how – despite what you might think – “It’s not just about sex”, but helping gay and bisexual men find some kind of community, however they wish to define it.
Again ably directed by Caitlin Skinner, the six shorts relied upon a slightly bigger cast than the night before; Michael Dylan, Ikram Gilani, Louise Ludgate, Gilchrist Muir, and Vari Sylvester again proved they could deliver rounded and believable performances despite limited rehearsal time. So, if you’re looking for genuine theatrical talent of all kinds – except (obviously) set, costume, and lighting design – then keep an eye out for the Village Pub Theatre. And for the Traverse – which has long described itself as “Scotland’s New Writing Theatre” – which has given this talented collective an invaluable additional platform.