3 stars When film and theatre director Lindsay Anderson allowed his own cameras to be seen filming the action of Alan Bennett’s 1979 TV play, The Old Crowd, it caused a tabloid outcry. Anderson had used a similar device in his film, O! Lucky Man, which ended with actor Malcolm McDowell seemingly auditioning for Anderson’s previous feature, If… One is reminded of this stepping into the latest collaboration between Suspect Culture director Graham Eatough and visual artist Graham Fagen, with a major contribution here from film director Michael McDonough. Commissioned by Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art and co-presented by the National Theatre of Scotland, The Making of Us opens by having the audience sign a disclaimer that allows them to be filmed, before we’re ushered into a room that is part film set, part installation akin to Eatough and Fagen’s Killing Time project at Dundee Contemporary Arts. With the cameras rolling, bar-maid Helen encourages punter Jonathan, played by Ali Craig, to take part in a film being directed by Michael. Shunted from bar to hotel room to anonymous offices before ending beside a solitary Beckettian tree, Jonathan appears to have given his entire life to an all-consuming project we’re all complicit in. With Eatough and Fagen onstage themselves shifting scenery or else directing a film crew that is both fictional and actual, on one level this is an extravagant close up on the tedious glamour of a film set. More significantly, perhaps, as Lucianne McEvoy’s Helen and Keith Fleming’s Michael conspire to manipulate Jonathan’s narrative for their own ends, everything is on show in a series of infinite, Russian doll style meta-narratives that flag up the endless possibilities of artifice and truth in a reality TV age.
The Herald, April 23rd 2012 ends