PuSh Blog

Curatorial Statement – I, Malvolio and Prudencia Hart

November 15, 2012

By Norman Armour, Executive Director of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

Two works from the United Kingdom. Coincidence? Not really. The Cultch’s Heather Redfern and I saw both shows last August, while at the British Council Showcase in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Heather and I have both been making the sojourn to Edinburgh for many, many years. The British Council Showcase is an industry initiative that pre-selects a group of UK work for special promotion to foreign presenters and buyers. It can be helpful when attempting to make sense of the over 1000 offerings at the Festival Fringe.

Tim Crouch is a celebrated Brighton-based, writer, actor, and creator. He’s also a very smart guy. (Nice too!) I, Malvolio is part of a series of portraits of lesser characters in Shakespeare’s canon. Not to suggest that Malvolio would consider himself “lesser” in any way. I suspect that his indignation is only partly assuaged by the fact that the work focuses solely on him and his plight. In fact, it provides a good deal of the work’s underlying fuel. The work is riot. A rant, par excellence. Hilarious.

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart is a whole different matter. The National Theatre Scotland—a national institution only a half decade old—has already established itself on the international scene as a wily innovator and highly influential English language theatre producer. Playwright David Grieg is Scotland’s most prolific contemporary playwright; he’s also one of the country’s most playful and far reaching in aesthetics, genre and themes. You’ve got the tradition of ballads, a bar room setting, libations, rhyming couplets, singing, and a librarian’s mid-winter’s night meeting with the devil. Wow!

In both case, you are in for a rare, rare treat. I’ll say no more.