Letters Home to live on?

Aug 15 2014 | By More

Further outings possible for Grid Iron sell-out

Anyone unable to find a ticket for Grid Iron and the Book Festival’s Letters Home may be placated by the suggestion that further productions are possible.

A scene from Letters Home. Photo Janeanne Gilchrist

A scene from Letters Home. Photo Janeanne Gilchrist

Book Festival Director Nick Barley, speaking at a Book Festival event featuring three of the project’s writers, announced that the site-specific promenade performance around Charlotte Square has aroused such interest that it will probably have a life beyond the Festival.

The news that this may be at literary festivals on three other continents will not give much encouragement to those who did not obtain any of this year’s most highly sought-after tickets. However, Barley’s declaration that he will try to ensure Scottish audiences be given another chance to see the production will be more welcome news.

whetted the appetite

Three of the writers of the play’s original material – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie being absent – talked about their work. It proved easy for them to avoid spoilers about the production, as short production times meant they could have little or no involvement in developing the finished work, and none of them had yet seen the finished version. Kamila Shamsie, in particular, professed to have no experience in writing for the stage and no idea what her section would look like.

Jamaican-born, Glasgow-based Kei Miller talked eloquently about the difficulties of understanding what ‘home’ really means. Christos Tsiolkas mentioned that his work set in the ancient, mythic past and chimes with a historical novel he is attempting to write – which will be a huge departure from the modern, Australian-set books that have brought him fame.

Nick Barley’s contention that a play about letters, with their emphasis on dialogue, was a necessary corrective to the rhetoric that passes for current political debate, led to discussions about whether such communication really reveals the truth, or is a form of performance in itself. This, together with the contributions of those involved in the current production, whetted the appetite of those yet to see the play – whether over the next fortnight or any in hoped-for future productions.

The whole run of Letters Home is sold out – returns only. A review of the event will follow next week and the book featuring the four original pieces is on sale at the Book Festival bookshop.


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