EIF 2002 Opens Theatre Programme with VarietyDate: 12 August 2002
The 2002 Edinburgh International Festival officially opened yesterday in the Scottish captial. EIF - the parent to the much larger and more chaotic Edinburgh Fringe, which opened last weekend - runs from 11 to 31 August this year with its mix of opera, ballet, music and theatre from around the globe. Highlights of EIF's theatre programme include world premieres of new plays by Douglas Maxwell and Jon Fosse, both opening today.
The Scottish Maxwell is best known for his multi award-winning open-air piece Decky Does a Bronco, about five boys competing on a playground swingset, while his other recent play Helmet, modelled on a computer game received a UK-wide tour this year. At the Festival, Maxwell's latest work, Variety, documents the death throes of Scotland's popular entertainment. Performed at the King's Theatre from 12 to 17 August, Variety is directed by Ben Harrison for Grid Iron Theatre, which was also behind Decky Does a Bronco.
Norwegian Fosse's Nightsongs had its UK premiere at London's Royal Court this past spring. His new play for the Festival, The Girl on the Sofa, is translated by Scot David Harrower and directed by German Thomas Ostermeier with an all-British cast. The piece juxtaposes two stories from the life of one woman - at once, a young aspiring painter and a middle-aged artist creating a self-portrait.
Also on the theatrical agenda are: the return of Vienna Burgtheater with a production of Schiller's Maria Stuart; from Roterdam, Ro Theatre's Macbeth; the French Canadian Theatre UBU's video art-installation of Maurice Maeterlinck's The Blind; Toulouse-baded Theatre Tattoo's La Cuisine (The Kitchen); and the first performances outside India of actor and political activist Pritham Chakravarthy who explores the experiences of eunuchs.
Elsewhere in the International Festival, there are offerings from Canadian Opera Company, Scottish Opera, the Royal Ballet of Flanders and a new seres of 25 late-night classical music concerts priced at only £5.
The granddaddy of them all, the Edinburgh International Festival is just one of some seven festivals that overtake the Scottish city in August. The others are the Edinburgh Film Festival, Book Festival, Jazz & Blues Festival, Visual Arts Festival, the Military Tattoo and, of course, the Edinburgh Fringe which, on its own qualifies as the world's largest arts festival with more than 1,400 shows annually on offer. The 2002 Fringe opened on 4 August and continues until 26 August.