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The Making of Us

Tramway, Glasgow
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

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