Play for today

Sep 18 2014 | By More

The @YesNoPlays @TraverseTheatre cast

Casting has been announced for David Greig’s The Yes/No Plays, created on Twitter, which are transferring to the Traverse for two live shows today.

Twitter Profile picture for The Yes/No Plays

Twitter Profile picture for The Yes/No Plays

Greig has also revealed that the Village Pub Theatre’s own #vpt twitter plays – the latest edition of which is running this week – were the inspiration for his own foray into Twitter as a theatrical medium.

The cast will consist of five actors – Louise Ludgate, Richard Clements, Callum Cuthbertson, Frances Thorburn and Keith Macpherson, who will be performing script in hand. Rachel Newton, a Scottish traditional harpist, will be providing a musical backdrop.

Speaking on the latest TravCast, Greig revealed the genesis of hte plays and  spoke about the way they have changed over time.

He told the theatre’s associate director, Emma Callander : “I do Twitter quite a bit, I tweet about a lot of things, nonsense primarily. But recently because of the referendum I have tweeted quite a bit about politics.

“Parallel to that, a small Edinburgh theatre company called the Village Pub Theatre set up this quite fun idea of doing a play in one tweet.

“I was quite taken with it as a way of idling time, which Twitter is very good at. I found the challenge of that incredibly intriguing, trying to squeeze a play into 140 characters.”

Greig is a prolific playwrite who has turned his art to many different genres, from the Border Ballad format of The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, to Traverse-born musical hit Midsummer, the book of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Dunsinane, his sequel to Macbeth.

However he revealed to Callander that he was not immediatly convinced by Twitter as a medium for theatre. It was not until he discovered the possibility of formatting tweets, that he became converted.

He said: “It may seem like a small thing, but that suddenly made the idea of writing a little twitter play seem very attractive. When I imagined it all unformatted and bunched-up together, aesthetically it was so un-pleasing that I didn’t want to do it.

“But when I saw you could have a little character name and a little colon and then a word, it felt very beautiful and like a haiku, like you were making a haiku.”

In fact, the plays are more like a daily cartoon strip, featuring the characters Yes and No – who live together but are activists on the different sides of the referendum. Each tweet is a frame in the cartoon and three or four together make up the strip. The characters have developed and evolved over time, but each little sequence stands on its own.

And like a cartoon, the Twitter Plays can deal with instantly topical issues – perhaps even more so, as Greig doesn’t need to wait until the next day to publish the next instalment, but can reply instantly to an item on the news.

The performances today – a matinee at 1pm in the Play Pie and a Pint format, and a 9.30 show after Spoiling has come out – give Greig and the Traverse a place to party and hang out as the polls shut on this momentous day.

And while Greig is an avowed Yes supporter and campaigner, the Twitter plays are relatively even handed, poking fun at both sides of the debate. With the characters partly representing his own, internal conflict, as he tells Callander in the podcast (linked below).


The Yes/No Plays
Thurs 18 Sept 2014: 1pm, 9.30pm.
Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED Tickets here

Tues 16 – Sat 20 September 2014: 8pm.
Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED Tickets here


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