Andrew Dallmeyer

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Andrew Dallmeyer
Born (1945-01-10) 10 January 1945 (age 73)
St Boswells, Eildon Hills, Scotland
Occupation Actor, director, playwright
Education Webber Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art, London
Notable works Opium Eater, Hello Dali, Wanted:Dead or Alive, Boys In The Backroom
Website
andrewdallmeyer.co.uk

Andrew Dallmeyer (10 January 1945 – 21 May 2017) was a Scottish playwright, theatre director and actor. He wrote over 75 plays, including the Opium Eater and directed more than 50 productions. His plays have won a number of awards, including a Scottish BAFTA, and they have been played on BBC Radio.

Some of Dallmeyer's plays have been considered controversial, for example Wanted: Dead or Alive which focused on Osama Bin Laden's motives and was released on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Some of his other plays celebrate the life and works of historical figures such as John Muir and Salvador Dalí. As an actor, Dallmeyer had a recurring role in Scottish cult comedy, Rab C. Nesbitt.

Early life[edit]

Dallmeyer was born on 10 January 1945 in St Boswells in Roxburghshire, Scotland. He spent most of his childhood in Aberlady, East Lothian where he was a keen Hibernian F.C. supporter (later inspiring his interest to write Playing a Blinder). Dallmeyer learnt drama at the Webber Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art, London. His father served in the British Army during the Second World War and was twice awarded the Distinguished Service Order.[1]

Career[edit]

"Sometimes people tell me I'll be successful when I'm dead, but I believe if you write something worthwhile it will survive. But writing is something I've always done because I have to get something out there."

Andrew Dallmeyer in Herald Scotland (2010) [2]

Dallmeyer, described as a veteran actor and playwright,[3] began his theatre work in the 1960s as an actor in Bristol Old Vic and Nottingham Playhouse performances. At the age of 26 he was the artistic director at Liverpool Playhouse, although he didn't enjoy it and instead wanted to focus on writing his own plays.[2] He subsequently directed many productions at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, Sheffield Crucible, Dundee Rep, Leeds Playhouse and several more.[1]

As a playwright, Dallmeyer has written over 75 plays despite admitting he is unable to type[2] and has directed over 50 productions.[4] He was commissioned by the Baron of Prestongrange and has written a number of plays for him. He won three Fringe First awards as well as a BAFTA Scotland Award for the Best Radio Play of 1985 in Scotland.[2][4][5][6] In 1982, The Times pointed out that he was able to put on three separate successful Fringe shows each year.[7] Much of Dallmeyer's work has not been published or put into print and therefore he holds the only copy of many plays.[8]

1980s[edit]

The Opium Eater, based on Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey,[4] has had more than a dozen performances across the United Kingdom.[9] The play was published by Capercaillie Books,[10][11] made into a television production (featuring Peter Mullan) and a radio version directed by Stewart Conn.[9] The radio play won a BAFTA award equivalent in 1985.[9] Dallmeyer believes The Opium Eater is somewhat autobiographical in nature as it is about a writer trying to find inspiration. He went on to state that "I don't think I'm that neurotic. I'm quite steady, really, mentally. You have to be in this job."[2] Martin Cropper reviewed the show in The Times as one of the best he had seen at a fringe theatre.[12] The Opium Eater won awards and was adapted for radio.[12]

The Boys in the Backroom was part of a series of plays, produced by Salamander Press, called The Traverse Plays. The plays were written in celebration of Scottish playwrights and Dallmeyer's play was fifth in the series.[13] The play was performed in theatres across America covering 10 cities including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Pittsburgh.[1] It was reviewed in The Times as a conspiracy story which "markets its paranoia through outsize performances".[14] Following a performance in Los Angeles in 1987 it reviewed by the Los Angeles Times as "sophomoric and forgettable."[13] It has also been performed by students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.[2]

His one-man show, titled Hello Dali, based on artist Salvador Dali[15] won a Fringe First award and has previously starred Sylvester McCoy[16] and Neil Cunningham. It has been performed in many countries including: Scotland, England, United States, Belgium, Spain, France, and the Netherlands. The play was described as a "scatological, emotional and artistic biography".[7]

In 1986, Dallmeyer wrote The Grand Edinburgh Fire Balloon as a piece of commissioned work for the Royal Lyceum Theatre.[17] Based on the story of the first man to fly in Britain; James Tytler was a pioneer with the development of the hot air balloon.[18] Despite the Lyceum being praised for commissioning a new play with regional importance[18][19] the play itself received some poor feedback. The Times reporter Sarah Hemmings viewed the play to be "rather monotonous" and "static", though she also said that the "Scenes that do take off are fascinating."[18] John Peter of the Sunday Times reported that the acting was below standard.[19]

2000s[edit]

Dallmeyer wrote and performed in his controversial 50-minute one-man play,[20][21] Wanted Dead or Alive, in which Osama bin Laden is Santa Claus in a shopping mall. It was released on the first September 11th attacks anniversary and attempts to explain possible reasons for Osama bin Laden's anger towards America.[20][22] The performance prompted complaints from the US consulate and Dallmeyer received death threats and abusive phone calls. There were calls from Scottish Parliament member, Brian Monteith, to boycott the performance.[22][23] Dallmeyer defended the play, stating "I am not trying to create a sensation; it is just that I feel the piece is strong".[23] The play featured "strongly anti-American sentiments and condemns United States foreign policy"[22] and despite the backlash Dallmeyer has performed it over 100 times.[21]

His stage play, Playing a Blinder, which attempted to re-create the 1940 Edinburgh Derby's New Year's Day match, in which the commentator improvised what was happening on the pitch due to severe fog, was aired in 2002 on BBC Radio 4.[24][25][26] The cast included Andy Gray and Gavin Mitchell.[27] The play took Dallmeyer two years to create[25] and due to their being no recordings of the event he had to "imagine how it might have sounded".[24]

Dallmeyer wrote the musical Burns Supper, in collaboration with composer David Todd, inspired by the bard Robert Burns. They then donated the script to schools around the country and a competition was held, in conjunction with charity 'First Scottish Film Features', to find the best school performance. Some of the work was then presented at the Fringe festival.[28]

2010s[edit]

Dallmeyer wrote the play Thank God for John Muir based on the life of John Muir[29][30] and specifically based on the period in Muir's life when an industrial accident left him blind.[31] It was reviewed in 2011 as an "emotional and sensory journey", yet Alan Chadwick, from The Herald, described it as "too static" and the ending was "underwhelming".[32] The play was scheduled to be a part of the 2015 John Muir celebrations in East Lothian.[33]

Plays written by Dallmeyer[edit]

"True theatre cannot be institutionalized. It is rough, outlaw, dangerous, rabid, and might just bite. Like the Fringe. It sprawls uncontrollably. It needs a trim."

Andrew Dallmeyer in Fringe and Fortune: The Role of Critics in High and Popular Art (1996) [34]

Title Year Broadcaster Notes References
Brainwaves 1973 [35]
A Big Treatise in Store 1979 [36]
Metaphysics and Strip 1981 [37]
Opium Eater 1984
1985
1993
BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3
BBC Two England
[2][38][39]
Boys in the Backroom 1983 Part of the Salamander Press The Traverse Plays series [13][40]
Hello Dali 1984 [15][41]
The Grand Edinburgh Fire Balloon 1986 Royal Lyceum Theatre [17][19]
A Grand Scam 1989 [42]
Rudolf Hess Glasgow to Glasnost 1990 [43]
Virtual Radio 1994 BBC Radio 4 [44]
Fatwah Patois 1995 Tron Theatre [45]
Potted History 1996 BBC Radio 4 [46]
The Chic Murray Story 1997 [47]
Into the Ether 2000 BBC Radio 4 [48]
Wanted:Dead or Alive 2002 [22][49]
Playing a Blinder 2002 BBC Radio 4 [25]
The Ordeal of Alfred M Hale 2003 BBC Radio 4 [50][51]
Burns Supper 2007 [52]
The Battle of Pots and Pans 2008 [21]
Colonel Gardiner: Vice and Virtue 2009 [6]
Too Clever By Half 2009 [53]
Thank God for John Muir 2011 [30]
The Mother of All Burns 2014 Scottish Storytelling Centre [54]

Plays directed by Dallmeyer[edit]

Title Year Broadcaster Notes References
Miss Julie 2012 Vagabond Productions [5]

Acting roles[edit]

Title Year Broadcaster Notes References
The Watchers on the Shore 1971 BBC Radio 4 [55]
Old Alliances 1986 BBC Radio 4 [56]
Tartuffe 1986 Royal Lyceum Theatre [57]
Foreigners 1987 BBC Radio 4 [58]
City Lights 1988 BBC Two England [59]
A Man Flourishing 1988 BBC Radio 4 [60]
Shadow on the Earth 1988 BBC Two England [61]
The Tales of Para Handy 1994 BBC One London [62]
Bad Boys 1996 BBC One London [63]
The Secret Commonwealth 1996 BBC Radio 3 [64]
Rab C Nesbitt 1997
1998
2011
BBC Two [65][66][67]
Waiting for Godot 2003 The Arches (Glasgow) [68]
Krapp's Last Tape 2005 The Arches (Glasgow) As part of The Basement Tapes [69]
Stonehurst Asylum (Eliza Graves) 2014 [70]

References[edit]

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  5. ^ a b Brown, Irene (13 August 2012). "Miss Julie Review". Edinburgh Guide. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Six cannons and countless muskets promise epic 'battle'". East Lothian Courier. 17 September 2009. Archived from the original on 25 February 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
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External links[edit]