Four Men and a Poker Game
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 19–Sat 22 Nov
Today, news on the financial crisis is ever-present: it’s on our TV screens, our radios, and now it’s even on our stages. Later this month, the Tron will host a new adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s little-known short story, ‘Four Men and a Poker Game’, which dissects the perils of success in a capitalist world. The timing couldn’t be better and neither could its location, the theatre’s Victorian Bar.
David McKay, aka McTaggart in the BBC’s Shoebox Zoo, plays the story’s enigmatic narrator, who relates the tale of a poker game between four champion athletes on a voyage from Havana to New York. For McKay, the story’s obvious relevance to today’s economy was a key attraction to the role: ‘It’s really about political events happening at that time between Germany and the West and America. It was written three years before the Wall Street Crash [of 1929] and there are definite parallels to today.’
Accompanying him on the piano will be celebrated Scottish composer, David Paul Jones, playing a score McKay breathlessly describes as ‘beautiful’. This, coupled with an innate passion for Brecht, completes the actor’s unhidden zeal for the project. His clear enthusiasm, and anxiety to do the story justice, suggests Four Men and a Poker Game could be the surprise hit of this season. ‘Playing Brecht is a very hard job, but if you get it right, it’s bloody good.’