Tiffany seems to be holding back a laugh even as he’s griping about the sudden discovery that his bank has frozen his credit card account. An assistant gently breaks in to ask what he’ll have to drink. Sparkling water okay?
“Nonononono,” Tiffany protests, shooting out a hand. “I’ll have a latte. Nonono wait — make it an espresso. With lots of foam!”
Caffeine for this man, really? Just sitting next to him is pretty invigorating. And not just because now he’s racing through his theatrical history, touching on his early love of “West Side Story” (age 13, he was a Jet); his fascination with Michael Jackson and MTV; his dislike of Shakespeare; his discovery of avant-gardists Robert LePage and Peter Brook, directors whose works roiled with raw physicality and the surreal, and then . . .
“Suddenly I went ‘Ah!’ ” Tiffany exclaims, underscoring the turning point with a slurp of espresso. “That felt much closer to the musicals that I did when I was young. I got really turned on by that.”
“Sorry,” he adds, swiping a bit of airborne milk froth off the table with a finger. “I’m spattering.”
Never mind. Tiffany’s style is to show as much as tell. He throws his arms out wide as he recalls the mind-blowing theater and dance he saw in 1990 when troupes from all over the world poured into Glasgow, that year’s European Capital of Culture. Tiffany, who blames Shakespeare for killing his teenage passion for theater, had left his native Yorkshire to study medicine there.
“Now, Shakespeare and me have made friends,” he says. “But you do need to work in order to understand him. Whereas movement, you don’t. It’s instant, it’s straight in there.” He strikes his chest with a fist. “Certainly the kind of movement and music thatI’m interested in working with.
“There’s something very democratic about that, and that’s what I love about it.”
This brings us to “Black Watch,” the athletic movement play about the experiences of 10 soldiers from Scotland’s Black Watch regiment who fought with the British Army in the Iraq war. The script by Gregory Burke draws on his interviews with some of the soldiers back home in their neighborhood pub, along with newspaper reports of their service and e-mails from one of the officers.