Here are a great selection of tweets from our month run at London’s Arcola Theatre with The Golden Dragon. Thanks everyone for the support!
|“||Theatre Review: @ATCLondon ‘s rather delicious #TheGoldenDragon @arcolatheatre: http://boycottingtrends.blogspot.com/2011/09/theatre-review-golden-dragon-arcola.html|
After the brilliant press night of The Golden Dragon at the Arcola, we thought we’d list the lovely bloggers who wrote about the show. If you have a blog you’d like added then please let us know. Here they are:
This is all intriguing and amusingly eccentric from the off, but as the evening progresses the production takes on a surprising depth and emotional power, adding up to a hugely resonant – and fairly devastating – anatomisation of globalisation and economic migration, and the exploitations resulting from each. But Schimmelpfennig doesn’t preach; he presents. And a beautiful sense of structure and design underpins the apparently scattershot approach as we gradually come to perceive the intricate web of interconnections that link these seemingly disparate lives.
Ramin Gray’s production resists the temptation to overplay the links between the stories, instead allowing a gradual sense of connectedness to emerge, the actors finding an extraordinary depth of humanity in the counterintuitive casting which works beautifully.
we got something like Georges Perec (La vie mode d’emploi) adapated by Bertolt Brecht and staged in the poor theatre style of Jerzy Grotowski, with plenty of stage directions spoken by the actors, men playing women, old actors playing young characters, undersized furniture…a good night of modern European theatre.
…a beguiling piece of theatre, well-crafted and directed on an aptly minimalist set.
The Golden Dragon itself could be anywhere in Europe, the point being that such places can be imagined as home-from-home for all sorts, and the extraction of a tooth a sign of cultural appropriation by heavy-handed means (vodka and a huge spanner, to be exact). But that’s less important than the fun generated and the fleet, skilful theatricality of the event.
this was a clever and quirky piece of theatre which attempted to step away from the conventional presentation
Along with a couple of publication reviews too …
By Jack Tarlton / http://flavors.me/jacktarlton
My strongest memory of the Traverse Theatre from when I was young is still the seats. Huge felt covered steps that you had to clamber up to get to the top of the auditorium. Rough and exciting they captured the spirit of the place, a converted sail makers’ studio, the lights of which you reached down a darkened close in the Grassmarket.
This was not the first incarnation of the Traverse though. That was in a former brothel in the Lawnmarket. The story goes that the seating there was arranged in two blocks either side of the stage, in transverse, but that someone got the word wrong and that this is how the theatre ended up with its unique name. I like this tale as, in effect, the theatre was named after the audience, the group of people that arrive as strangers and together with the performers conjure the show.
It was in its Grassmarket home that I got to know the Traverse. It was here that I was taken to see a huge array of strong, engaging plays. It was on this stage that I took my first panicky steps on stilts, tottering from one bank of worn felt steps to the next. Along with Theatre Workshop in Stockbridge (now abandoned and allowed to fall into disrepair but that’s a story for another time) it was the Traverse that encouraged and fed a love of theatre in me from an early age. It was a place that I always wanted to work in. And now, seventeen years after leaving Edinburgh to start acting, I’m actually doing it.
The Traverse has been in its posh new home in Grindlay Street for nearly 20 years now. I remember it being built and once again seeing some fantastic stuff – Bondagers, Moscow Stations and Gagarin Way remain strong memories. These were all performed in Traverse 1, the larger of its two spaces. We are performing The Golden Dragon in Traverse 2, which I believe was constructed to have the same dimensions as the old Grassmarket theatre. In fact, when Traverse 2 first opened I’m sure it still had the old felted oversized steps from its previous home. I remember watching an early performance of Disco Pigs from them, the actors, atmosphere and audience sweaty and charged.
Now however, it is nondescript blue fold down chairs that our audience sits on. A shame, as these seats could belong to any theatre anywhere. But they can be moved and reconfigured more easily making the playing space much more flexible. And by the end I admit the previous auditorium was looking pretty threadbare and warped. If one person sat down particularly heavily it was possible for their neighbour to spring up with the force.
Even if for me the most loved thing about the old Traverse no longer remains it is still an incredibly exciting space to play. It does feel like coming home. I was nervous not just for the obvious reasons during the first few shows, as being here is a culmination of something that started when I was a shy boy who suddenly decided he wanted to be an actor. On the first preview my old art teacher who I had spent hours talking to about theatre when at school came to watch it. I was delighted to see her but it also threw up the spectre of my teenage self, someone that very few people like to be reminded of. It did not feel quite real somehow, us chatting about a preview that I was still not sure had gone that well with someone who I had once spoken over earnestly to about acting when it was something that other people did.
But now I am doing it and I do still get a kick out of coming to work every day. The dream has become a reality and that reality is far more rewarding. Simple acts like getting a coffee, mucking about in the dressing room, warming up, making friends, chatting about other plays we’ve seen or having a pint after the show are more fulfilling than I could have imagined. It has been a fantastic summer.
And I can just see a wee boy sitting at the top of a bank of huge grey felt seats enjoying the show.
|“||http://mentalbulletins.blogspot.com/2011/08/edinburgh.html #thegoldendragon @CulturalWatch @ATCLondon @JoCaird @nick_i_williams @jacktarlton|
All our reviews for The Golden Dragon can be found on our site here, with links to the full texts.
The Times is a subscription-only website, so we have put the full review below instead:
Libby Purves, August 13 2011, The Times
The grasshopper gets into character by pulling a pair of green, Chinese trousers over his head and clapping on some deelyboppers.
We are hearing the fable of the industrious ant and the feckless cricket who sang all
summer and had to beg in winter.
Ant (wonderfully played by Ann Firbank) is a cross, small elderly woman. The
grasshopper gets into character by pulling a pair of green, Chinese trousers
over his head and clapping on some deelyboppers. Hoping for food, he dances: a
sudden beauty of oriental flute music is played by the three other performers.
Abruptly, the five are chefs in the crowded steamy kitchen of a “Thai/
Chinese/Vietnamese” fast-food restaurant, the Golden Dragon, somewhere in
Europe. A Chinese boy — played by a girl — lies screaming on the floor.
He has a rotten black tooth, which they are extracting with a spanner and a satay stick.
He has “no money, no papers, a dentist is out of the question”.
Amid the agony come orders for the complicated dishes of ancient cultures whose names, all through the play, ring like mantras in a drifting, impoverished, anxious,
hardworking world. “Number B2, bun cha gio chay, rice noodles, crispy fried
spring rolls, salad, beansprouts, cucumber, roasted onions, peanuts, Vietnamese
basil and coriander . . .”
The tooth comes out, and abruptly we are in the upstairs flat where a woman, played by a man shucking on a red dress, is leaving a husband played by a girl. The ant
becomes the shopkeeper and resolves the problem of the cricket by pimping her
as a sex slave. Two weary air-hostesses turn up as customers, their lives spent
“serving food in a droning cylinder”, 35,000ft above a meaningless world.
Roland Schimmelpfennig calls his narrator-characters merely “a man over 60, a woman
over 60, a young man”, etc. They are cast against gender and age, as in a drama
school exercise. None of them is Asian. It could be dull, earnest,
neo-Brechtian homework, but actually the ATC/Drum production of David
Tushingham’s translation is rather absorbing: a touching evocation of global
migrants, an essay on globalised deracination, the shifts and abuses of poverty
in hidden communities whose heritage is expressed only in noodle and coconut,
lemongrass and ginger. The final moments are mournfully beautiful.
LISTEN HERE as Jess Banks explains it all
Follow the tweets as The Golden Dragon hits the press performance and beyond. We’re thrilled by the great audience reactions! Tweet us @ATCTheatre or #thegoldendragon if you come see the show.