Franc Le Blanc; Joaquin; Karl Marx; Miner; 3rd Guérillero
Felipe; 3rd Peasant; Doctor; Rolando; D
1st Peasant; Marcus; 1st Guerrillero; Soldier; Pablo
Black Jacques; B; Raimundo; Driver; Willy
MacRune; Julien Sorel; 2nd Guerrillero; Man; 2nd Peasant
1st Questioner; 1st Objector; 3rd Guerrillero
Woman; Isabella; Sergeant
Deborah; 3rd Questioner; 1st Soldier
Actress; Ben; A; Coco
Manageress; C; 4th Questioner
Tania; Angelique; Serapio
Narrator; 2nd Questioner; 2nd Objector; Loro; Questioner
Mrs. Rent; 5th Questioner; Surgeon; Braulio
Technical Crew Details:
Mike Hunt and Phil Taylor
Reviewed by G.M.P. For The Croydon Advertiser
History with a Double Twist
Since I’m neither a disciple of Che nor a Red Revolutionary, John Spurling’s play “MacRune’s Guevara” (presented last week by Coulsdon Theatre Workshop), came across to me only as a dramatised thesis demonstrating the fallible subjectivity of historical “truth” and creative art.
I suspect that there is a political dimension intended beyond this, behind the distorting-mirror effect of the views of Che’s story, as supposedly depicted by an unorthodox Marxist artist (MacRune) and their re-viewing by the very differently motivated critic and writer, Edward Hotel (whom the play’s real author makes something of a literary pseud).
From the series of scenes. Che as the possible hero of a stage musician, Che as a ruthless destroyer of comfortable bourgeois values and people, and so on, what emerged for me was a feeling of sadness that social reform so often has to be achieved by violence; and a depressing awareness of the tragic one-sidedness of most deeply professed ideologies. (Which I suppose stamps me as a flabby liberal thinker!)
With these sober reflections, however, was included the less complicated enjoyment of watching this adventurous young company tackling a modern off-beat play again, with so much enthusiasm and perception.
It would have been still more enjoyable if all the performances had had as much bite and dramatic projection as Roger Keighley’s subtle playing of the commentator-critic, Hotel. The girls, especially, needed a great deal more vocal incision and crispness – Rosemary Smyter, for example, in her stint as narrator – though Rosemary Quinn, especially in her appearance as Che’s loving woman lieutenant, Tania made an attractive impression; and Diana Hewitt brought out the humour in her cameo as MacRune’s landlady.
MacRune himself, eccentric, half-visionary, half-buffoon, was quite robustly played by Robert Barnes-Watts; and Steven Swinscoe presented a recognisable “photograph” likeness of Che, while also illustrating the contradictory reflections of the man obtained through MacRune’s supposed pictures of scenes from his life, and Hotel’s picking up of those images for his own “artistic” purposes. Perhaps it was intended that the result should be confused and hollow.
Christopher J.C. Argles produced the provocative piece with clarity and interesting grouping; and Mike Hunt and Phil Taylor’s modern musical interpolations added to the entertainment aspect of the play.