Anthony Neilson’s Penetrator set for Glasgow performances
New group Boxman Theatre tackle bold work at Tramway
Since its 1993 Traverse debut, Anthony Neilson’s Penetrator has been held up as one of the Scottish playwright’s best works, its aggressive and unsettling atmosphere making it an early classic of what’s become known as ‘in-yer-face theatre’. It’s a bold work to take on as a first production, but that’s exactly what new group Boxman Theatre will be doing this month at the Tramway.
Boxman was set up by two recent acting graduates from Glasgow’s Langside College, who were first introduced to Neilson’s early play in a course workshop. Scott Ballantyne, one of its founders, says: ‘We wanted something simple for our first performance, something that would get us out there and let people see what we’re about. It’s very well written and we fell in love with it when we first read it, so we always thought we’d revisit it one day.’
In the play, the ordinary lives of young Max and Alan are disrupted when a childhood friend returns after going AWOL from the army. According to Ballantyne, it’s Neilson’s delicate mix of comedy and tragedy that makes it such a great play, as well as the timeless nature of its characters. ‘These characters do still exist in today’s society,’ he says. ‘I can even relate to the characters among some of my friends. A lot of people have common misconceptions about the theatre but I hope that people who don’t often go to plays might see this as something different, something that might actually change their idea of it.’
Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 25 & Sat 26 Feb