Five from Inside

Apr 15 2020 | By More

Traverse responds to Donny’s Brain cancellation

Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre is releasing a quintet of video monologues to coincide with what would have been the world premiere run of Rona Munro’s Donny’s Brain.

The monologues are the first activity the Traverse has presented since having to close its doors due to Covid-19 in March. Much more is promised in coming months, as it has cancelled its Spring and Summer seasons, and its Edinburgh Fringe offerings.

Donny’s Brain read through prior to lockdown with Lauren Grace, Rona Munro and Caitlin Skinner. Pic: Lauren McLay.

Donny’s Brain, directed by Caitlin Skinner, was due to open at the Traverse tonight, Wednesday 15 April 2020. The first monologue will be released on YouTube at curtain-up time of 7.30pm, with the rest following each night until Sunday.

They will be available to view until 9pm, Saturday May 2, when the last performance would have come down.

To create the monologues, the company set up a WhatsApp group and each cast member: Lauren Grace, Suzanne Magowan, Michael Dylan, Bhav Joshi and Roanna Davidson, suggested characters and scenarios which they were keen to explore.

lockdown conditions

The pieces were scripted by Rona Munro based on these suggestions. Each monologue was then filmed under lockdown conditions in the actors’ own homes on phone cameras, directed remotely by Caitlin Skinner with input from designer, Becky Minto.

Donny’s Brain read through. Suzanne Magowan, Michael Dylan, Bhav Joshi. Pic: Lauren McLay

Skinner says: “Usually ‘the show must go on’ is a mantra we live and breathe in theatre. You just never cancel! So these short plays came from our moment of uncertainty when it was becoming clear that our show, like many others, wouldn’t go on this time.

“They are little gifts we initially made for ourselves to stay connected and to keep us going in the meantime. And to keep that connection going, it is so right that we share them with you as you get on with your ‘in the meantime’ too.”

The Monologues

Bhav Joshi plays Jacob who needs to get answers from Ali, the younger brother he’s always despised, and who might be the only person who can help him now.
Streaming from 7.30pm Wed 15 April 2020.

Lauren Grace plays Fern, who is battling a unique and colourful addiction.
Streaming from: 7.30pm Thu 16 April 2020.

Michael Dylan plays an award-winning children’s TV entertainer who has just had a very public bust-up with his sidekick Fairy Fingerling and whose whole career is on the line.
Streaming from: Fri 17 April.

Roanna Davidson is Siobham, who has achieved her greatest success after her toothbrush design wins a coveted award. But she wasn’t invited to the awards ceremony…
Streaming from: Sat 18 April 2020.

Suzanne Magowan plays a mother who has some really good, absolutely excellent news to tell her daughter – or is it a secret?
Streaming: Sun 19 April 2020.

Commenting on the project, Rona Munro said: “Absolutely nothing can replace live theatre, there is nothing like it. These monologues can’t substitute for what an audience might have experienced. They would have been sitting together in an auditorium, hearing communal reactions, live, seeing actors respond to the energy every audience brings to every piece of theatre.

“None of us can enjoy that precious experience again until the time, hopefully soon, when it’s safe to gather again.

“But we had a wonderful rehearsal room. We were a wonderful team. I was so inspired by these amazing actors and seeing what they did with my words. Hopefully a wee flavour of that has been communicated for you to share.”

The monologues are the first activity the Traverse has presented since having to close its doors due to Covid-19 in March. However, executive producer Linda Crooks promises that “there is plenty more to come!”

Crooks says: “Our virtual doors are open and while the Traverse may be offstage, we’re most definitely not offline.”

All the monologues will remain free to stream on demand through the Traverse’s YouTube channel until Saturday 2 May at 9pm.

Listings and Links

Five from Inside
Premiering nightly, Wed 15 – Sun 19 April 2020.
Online on YouTube from 7.30pm.
Remain online until Saturday 2 May at 9pm.

YouTube: @traversetheatre
Facebook: @TraverseTheatre
Twitter: @traversetheatre
Instgram: @traversetheatre


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