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Ship sets sail for Glasgow in new eclectic stage adventure

A cargoful of cannibal rats is coming to Glasgow's Commonwealth Games celebrations.

SHIP AHOY: Cargo, Camera... Action!, by the 85A theatrical collective and Glasgow Film, is taking place on the Clyde Amphitheatre. Picture: Eoin Carey
SHIP AHOY: Cargo, Camera... Action!, by the 85A theatrical collective and Glasgow Film, is taking place on the Clyde Amphitheatre. Picture: Eoin Carey

And you are invited to meet them.

This may not seem like a particularly attractive prospect but it will also be the chance, if you choose to be in the audience, to be extras in what would appear to be an extraordinary film. This is an invitation to attend one of the most unusual events of the Culture 2014 celebrations.

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Cargo, Camera...Action! is a multi-disciplinary theatrical and film show devised by the 85A theatrical collective and Glasgow Film, as well featuring contributions from Minty Donald, Nick Millar, Eilidh MacAskill, Chris Leslie and Torsten Lauschmann.

At the centre of the show, on 26 July only, will be a new boat, built by 85A - a Glasgow collective which boasts a core team of 12 artists, expanding to 30 for this show, their biggest yet. Ostensibly a Russian cruise ship, it will be both the stage set for the closing scenes of a movie in which the audience will be extras, and a cinema which will show films for an hour later in the evening. The whole show will take place on the Clyde Amphitheatre, the small semi-circular bowl of steps off Clyde Street, near the red pedestrian bridge, in Glasgow's city centre.

Although it was inspired by newspaper reports of a "boat of cannibal rats heading for Britain" earlier this year (the 4,250-tonne, 300ft Lyubov Orlova) artists in 85A are not keen on releasing details of what exactly will happen to the audience once they take part. Agent B, a member of the group (who may or may not be 85A member Becky Anson), said: "The audience plays an integral role in Cargo, Camera… Action! The more the better, we hope there will be 300 audience actors there. We cannot say what they will be doing but it is not scary, there is nothing to be alarmed about. It is all to do with sound."

The mock film set will be replete with a director, runners and producers, as well as catering. But it is not chaos: the entire event has been strictly scripted and workshopped in advance. So, apart from the danger presented by the hungry rats, the audience should be in safe hands.

The show will include hourly theatrical concerts from 2.30pm to 8.30pm, with music from the folk music of Gypsy Romania, the club music of Golden Teacher, the surf guitar/garage rock of Halfrican, the ska tunes of Capone & The Bullets as well as Mungo's Hi-Fi.

The venue is one that has not been used too often in recent years but is a suitable size for the large wooden ship and its contents.

"It is exactly what we need, it is a great space. There is lots of room for the audience and then at night it will turn into a cinema," Ms Agent B said.

The evening film programme at the site, which runs from 10pm to 11pm, will feature a new film by the Glasgow-based German artist Torsten Lauschmann and another new work in Chris Leslie's The Last of the Govan Cranes, which documents the shipbuilding heritage of the Clyde in a film based around the Fairfield Yard. It contains interviews with current and past workers, as well as timelapse photography and archive footage. Sean Greenhorn, of Glasgow Film, who has programmed the film section of the event, said the new work from Torsten Lauschmann, "works with a lot of archive footage, it is looking at games, from children's games to sporting events, looking how it all fits together." Lauschmann's film is simply called Games.

After the new commissions, the boat/cinema will see Seawards the Great Ships, the first Scottish film to win an Academy Award, for Live Action Short Film. It was made in 1961 by Hilary Harris and won the Oscar in 1962. The film chronicles and pays tribute to Clyde shipbuilding, and follows the process of building and launching a ship, from the draughtsmanship of its original design to the pomp of its launch. The film shows the launch of ships including British Queen, Jamaica Planter, Shell Armare and Lincoln as well as footage of drawing offices and steel mills. The treatment was written by John Grierson and its narrator is Kenneth Kendall, and the film lasts around 28 minutes. Its footage is also from Fairfield, as well as John Brown and Company, and Scotts Shipbuilding, and was made by Templar Films for the Clyde Shipbuilders' Association and the Central Office of Information (COI).

This historic film will be followed by Matter Fisher, Dave Prosser's 2010 BAFTA nominated animation of a lone fisherman who discovers a "curious, unassuming, hungry ball of matter".

And as the sun sets, there will be a presentation of a new video installation by artists Nick Millar and Minty Donald on the Glasgow Central pontoon on the Clyde. The installation builds on their 2010 piece Bridging Part 1, which was an attempt to tie together the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow city centre using over one mile of thick, heavy mooring line.

Rats, films, audience participation, shipbuilding, games and a brand new boat beside the Clyde: it adds up to an unusual and eclectic adventure for Glasgow Film. Greenhorn added: "It is a really different event for us, but once we had the idea of involving the audience, this is a way of doing that."

Cargo, Camera..Action!, happens on the north band of the Clyde in central Glasgow on July 26.

www.glasgowfilm.org

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