The Old Hairdressers, 13th-15th November
Student Theatre at Glasgow put on their annual three day festival ‘STaG Nights: Shadows’. It is impressive what everyone has achieved with such little time and resources. I had the pleasure of going to the first and last of the Shadow Nights.
Each night was moderated by a drag performance. Night 1 was the Drag Queen, Eve L. Batch. I was disappointed to find the name the wittiest part of their performance. I appreciate the idea of drag highlighting, and possibly ridiculing, the performativity of gender, however there is a difference between ridiculing the concept of gender and ridiculing women. Many in the audience clearly enjoyed this drag performance, and I hope STaG will strive to do drag to create more deep, meaningful, and intelligently funny performances.
The festival’s opening play was Spitting Image, a performance in which a record label brings in 4 artists performing as (or shadowing) Cher, Elton John, Lady Gaga, and David Bowie, to fire them. The humour in this comedy was quite shallow, with ridiculous acting. It came together in a comedic happy ending. Jeanie Fae the Neeps followed, the most serious performance I watched at STaG Nights. Lasting approximately 20-30 minutes, it was a deep play following a daughter and her mother making weekly visits to see her grandmother who had Alzheimer’s.
With each visit the grandmother loses her memories and identity more, falling further and further into a world of shadows of the past. Had this cast had more time to rehearse and perform, it is possible that they would have had a weeping audience. I am impressed at the subtlety with which they dealt with this difficult topic, showing the complexities of pain with anger, grief, and empathy.
The final play of the night was Big Enough for the Two of Us, which knocked me off my rocker completely. An exciting and hilarious Western, it included four people threatening each other with guns in a saloon. The guns were represented by pointing at someone with the index and middle fingers, and that was messed with when one actor lost his gun. Frantically, they searched the floor with their hands until they exclaimed to have found it, only to be called on to be pointing at someone with a finger. This caused them to scramble along the stage again until they jumped up with their real gun (two fingers). The bodies of the actors in this play created great tension with dynamic, undulating choreographies.
STaG is a society that values fun and the first night was a great start to the festival! I am deeply impressed at the creativity of the writers and what everyone has managed to bring together in less than a month, especially with a small budget and limited resources.
Click here to see our review of night three of STaG Nights: Shadows.
[Leilo Albrecht – @Leilo34601343]