Referendum week theatre

Sep 14 2014 | By More

Drama on stage as Scotland decides

The Traverse leads the way with referendum-orientated theatre in the final week before polling on Thursday, although there is a celebration of the Scottish written word from the NTS and a spot of post-referendum experimentation down at the Village Pub on Friday.

Gabriel Quigley. Photo Jeremy Abrahams

Gabriel Quigley in Spoiling. Photo Jeremy Abrahams

The Traverse’s contribution is both thoughtful and considered with three separate events, including the return of fringe smash hit Spoiling, which is playing a limited run in Trav 2 until Saturday.

Spoiling (Æ review by Hugh Simpson here) is set after a Yes vote when the hugely popular and heavily pregnant Fiona (a pitch-perfect performance by Gabriel Quigley) finds herself, as Foreign Minister designate, about to address the historic meeting with the representative of the government of the remainder of the UK – or, as she calls them, the ‘Eton Mess’.

Throwing questions about like confetti, John McCann’s flinty and funny script is given fluid and energetic direction by Orla O’Loughlin. Great stuff and on nightly, Tue-Sat at 8pm.

The week starts, in theatrical terms, on Tuesday afternoon, when Davey Anderson and Gary McNair perform How to Choose?. An audio journey set in a radio station digs a little deeper into the question of how we choose one thing over another, using tales and excerpts from propaganda to a pot luck gamble.

Referendum Day will see the world premiere performance of David Greig’s The Yes/No Plays, bringing to the stage a Twitter outpouring which has been amusing supporters of both sides for something over a year. There will be two performances, at 1pm and 9.30pm.

Greig says: “The Yes/No Plays have been an ongoing project for me over the last year, a way of sharing my emotions and observations during the campaigns. They’ve been a chance for me to laugh at myself, my fellow campaigners and the politicians.

“It’s a delight to be making them into a show at the Traverse Theatre for Referendum night. The atmosphere is going to be electric and I think people will want to gather together to share the moment. I hope they give everyone a chance to relax and laugh on this extraordinary, momentous day.”

the pick of the Scottish written word

All around the Traverse, the writing is on the wall, the mirrors and many other flat surfaces with short plays of not more than 200 words, on the theme of What Happens Next?. The ongoing project was created in conjunction with young writers from the Traverse Theatre Class Act, Young Writers and Scribble groups and will stay up until the end of the month.

Some of the Blabbermouth participants. Photo: Mark Hamilton

Some of the Blabbermouth participants. Photo: Mark Hamilton

Elsewhere in town, the National Theatre of Scotland are taking over the Assembly Hall on the mound on Wednesday for a day, during which Blabbermouth will be delving into the pick of the Scottish written word.

Curated by Graham McLaren, who directed In Time o’ Strife, seen last week at the Traverse, the four, two-and-a-half-hour segments will feature more than 100 of Scotland’s greatest texts, to be read live by some of the country’s politicians, schoolchildren, journalists, teachers, workers and students, novelists and performers.

The performers have chosen their own texts, with the only proviso being it has to have been written by a Scot.

Post-referendum – or Hangover Day as many are likely to see it – there are a couple of low-fi writing events of particular interest.

At the Poetry Library there will be a Referendum Poetry Read-Round and Breakfast, where those attending will be welcome to read up to two poems – or for a max of five minutes – between the coffee and croissants. These can be their own or favourites. Scottish poems and poems on the theme of politics and independence are encouraged.

While on the evening of the 19th, as previously revealed on Æ, the Village Pub Theatre will be staging Independence Day?, a set of scratch productions. In what could well be a fascinating development, these will have been written before the vote, but will be performed after the result has been announced.


How to Choose?
Tue 16 Sept 2014: 2.30pm
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

Weds 17  Sept 2014: 12.00, 3pm, 6.30pm, 9.30pm.
The Assembly Hall on the Mound, Mound Place, EH1 2LX Tickets here

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

Referendum Poetry Read-Round and Breakfast
Fri 19 Sept 2014: 11am.
Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Canongate EH8 8DT Details here

Independence Day?
Friday 19 Sept 2014: 8pm
The Village Pub, 16 South Fort Street, Leith, EH6 4DN VPT Facebook page


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