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The Edinburgh Companion to Scottish Drama
 9780748641086, 9780748641079

Table of contents :
Cover
Copyright
Contents
Series Editors’ Preface
INTRODUCTION A Lively Tradition and Creative Amnesia
CHAPTER ONE Scottish Drama until 1650
CHAPTER TWO Public and Private Performance: 1650–1800
CHAPTER THREE Folk Drama in Gaelic Scotland
CHAPTER FOUR The National Drama and the Nineteenth Century
CHAPTER FIVE Twentieth-Century Popular Theatre
CHAPTER SIX Drama, Language and Late Twentieth-Century Literary Revival
CHAPTER SEVEN History in Contemporary Scottish Theatre
CHAPTER EIGHT Translated Drama in Scotland
CHAPTER NINE J. M. Barrie
CHAPTER TEN The Mid-Century Dramatists
CHAPTER ELEVEN James Bridie
CHAPTER TWELVE Poets in the Theatre: Ure, Kay, Conn, Morgan
CHAPTER THIRTEEN Women Playwrights from the 1970sand 1980s
CHAPTER FOURTEEN The Traverse, 1985–97: Arnott, Clifford, Hannan, Harrower, Greig and Greenhorn
CHAPTER FIFTEEN Liz Lochhead
CHAPTER SIXTEEN Post-Devolutionary Drama
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN The Experience and Contexts of Drama in Scotland
Endnotes
Further Reading
Notes on Contributors
Index

Citation preview

SERIES EDITORS: IAN BROWN & THOMAS OWEN CLANCY This series offers new insights into Scottish authors, periods and topics drawing on contemporary critical approaches. Each volume: • provides a critical evaluation and comprehensive overview of its subject • offers thought-provoking original critical assessments by expert contributors • includes a general introduction by the volume editor(s) and a selected guide to further reading.

T H E E D I N B U R G H C O M PA N ION TO SCOT TISH DRA M A EDITED BY IAN BROWN xxxxxxxxxx

T H E E DI N B U R G H C O M P A N I O N T O SCOTTISH DRAMA

E D I N B U R G H C O M PA N ION S T O S C O T T I S H L I T E R AT U R E

Ian Brown xxxxx

EDITED BY IAN BROWN

ISBN 978 0 7486 4107 9

www.euppublishing.com Cover design: www.paulsmithdesign.com

Cover image: detail from 'Northern Looking Glass', 1825 (Sp Coll Bh14-x.8) by permission of University of Glasgow Library, Department of Special Collections.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh University Press 22 George Square Edinburgh EH8 9LF

TH E EDI N B U R GH C O M PA N ION TO

SCOTTISH DRAMA EDITED BY IAN BROWN

The Edinburgh Companion to Scottish Drama

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Edinburgh Companions to Scottish Literature Series Editors: Ian Brown and Thomas Owen Clancy Titles in the series include: The Edinburgh Companion to Robert Burns Edited by Gerard Carruthers 978 0 7486 3648 8 (hardback) 978 0 7486 3649 5 (paperback) The Edinburgh Companion to TwentiethCentury Scottish Literature Edited by Ian Brown and Alan Riach 978 0 7486 3693 8 (hardback) 978 0 7486 3694 5 (paperback) The Edinburgh Companion to Contemporary Scottish Poetry Edited by Matt McGuire and Colin Nicholson 978 0 7486 3625 9 (hardback) 978 0 7486 3626 6 (paperback) The Edinburgh Companion to Muriel Spark Edited by Michael Gardiner and Willy Maley 978 0 7486 3768 3 (hardback) 978 0 7486 3769 0 (paperback) The Edinburgh Companion to Robert Louis Stevenson Edited by Penny Fielding 978 0 7486 3554 2 (hardback) 978 0 7486 3555 9 (paperback) The Edinburgh Companion to Irvine Welsh Edited by Berthold Schoene 978 0 7486 3917 5 (hardback) 978 0 7486 3918 2 (paperback)

The Edinburgh Companion to Scottish Romanticism Edited by Murray Pittock 978 0 7486 3845 1 (hardback) 978 0 7486 3846 8 (paperback) The Edinburgh Companion to Scottish Drama Edited by Ian Brown 978 0 7486 4108 6 (hardback) 978 0 7486 4107 9 (paperback) The Edinburgh Companion to Sir Walter Scott Edited by Fiona Robertson 978 0 7486 4130 7 (hardback) 978 0 7486 4129 1 (paperback) The Edinburgh Companion to Hugh MacDiarmid Edited by Scott Lyall and Margery Palmer McCulloch 978 0 7486 4190 1 (hardback) 978 0 7486 4189 5 (paperback) The Edinburgh Companion to James Hogg Edited by Ian Duncan and Douglas Mack 978 0 7486 4124 6 (hardback) 978 0 7486 4123 9 (paperback) The Edinburgh Companion to Scottish Literature 1400–1650 Edited by Nicola Royan 978 0 7486 4391 2 (hardback) 978 0 7486 4390 5 (paperback)

The Edinburgh Companion to James Kelman Edited by Scott Hames 978 0 7486 3963 2 (hardback) 978 0 7486 3964 9 (paperback) Visit the Edinburgh Companions to Scottish Literature website at www.euppublishing.com/series/ecsl

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The Edinburgh Companion to Scottish Drama

Edited by Ian Brown

Edinburgh University Press

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© in this edition Edinburgh University Press, 2011 © in the individual contributions is retained by the authors Edinburgh University Press Ltd 22 George Square, Edinburgh www.euppublishing.com Typeset in 10.5/12.5 Adobe Goudy by Servis Filmsetting Ltd, Stockport, Cheshire, and printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI Antony Rowe, Chippenham and Eastbourne A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978 0 7486 4108 6 (hardback) ISBN 978 0 7486 4107 9 (paperback) The right of the contributors to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Published with support from Kingston University

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Contents

Series Editors’ Preface Introduction: A Lively Tradition and Creative Amnesia Ian Brown 1 Scottish Drama until 1650 Sarah Carpenter 2 Public and Private Performance: 1650–1800 Ian Brown 3 Folk Drama in Gaelic Scotland Michael Newton 4 The National Drama and the Nineteenth Century Barbara Bell 5 Twentieth-Century Popular Theatre Paul Maloney 6 Drama, Language and Late Twentieth-Century Literary Revival Randall Stevenson 7 History in Contemporary Scottish Theatre David Archibald 8 Translated Drama in Scotland John Corbett 9 J. M. Barrie R. D. S. Jack 10 The Mid-Century Dramatists Donald Smith 11 James Bridie Gerard Carruthers 12 Poets in the Theatre: Ure, Kay, Conn, Morgan Anne Varty 13 Women Playwrights from the 1970s and 1980s Tom Maguire

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6 22 41 47 60 73 85 95 107 118 130 140 154

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14 The Traverse, 1985–97: Arnott, Clifford, Hannan, Harrower, Greig and Greenhorn Steve Cramer 15 Liz Lochhead Ksenija Horvat 16 Post-Devolutionary Drama Trish Reid 17 The Experience and Contexts of Drama in Scotland David Hutchison Endnotes Further Reading Notes on Contributors Index

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165 177 188 200

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Mindin David Bradby (1942–2011) and Bill Findlay (1947–2005): inspirational scholars an open-hertit colleagues

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Series Editors’ Preface

The third tranche of this series has as a common theme, one that underlies the whole series, the re-evaluation of the nature of Scottish literature. The volume on Hugh MacDiarmid places him not simply within the traditional setting of the so-called Scottish Literary Renaissance, but in the far wider and more internationally significant Modernist movement. Seen in that light, it is clear why MacDiarmid’s work retains an international importance often elided when it is assessed only within a Scottish context. The volume on Scottish Romanticism likewise sheds a distinctive Scottish light on an internationally significant literary movement. It reveals a number of key perspectives including the relationship of the literature of the period to other art forms and the significance of Romanticism in relation to Scottish literature in Gaelic. It also argues clearly and persuasively for recognition of the relationship of Scottish Romanticism to the Enlightenment in a fresh and innovative way. The volume on Drama takes on squarely the canard that somehow Scottish drama was suppressed for long periods. The evidence it provides is conclusive in showing that so far from drama being generally suppressed in Scotland it showed variety, vitality, vibrancy – and resilience against attempts at suppression when they existed. It appears in the earliest records and asserts itself through many forms including folk drama, drama in schools and professional theatre and in all Scotland’s languages, including the Latin of George Buchanan’s internationally highly influential renaissance drama. The Edinburgh Companions continue to challenge restrictive perceptions of the richness of Scottish literature. They also open up to scholars and students fresh ideas that will change readers’ understanding of the range and depth of the topics under discussion. Ian Brown Thomas Owen Clancy

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INT R ODUCT IO N

A Lively Tradition and Creative Amnesia Ian Brown

A striking theme of this book is how important and constant has been the Scottish love affair with drama. The distinction between drama and theatre must, of course, always be recognised. Sometimes the love of drama in Scottish culture has not extended fully to theatre: force majeure has at certain times obliged the theatre-lover to restrain that passion for some, relatively few, years. Of course, this has not always been the received perception, but a reading, especially of this volume’s earlier chapters, will give clear evidence for drama’s omnipresence in and the theatricality of Scottish society. The disjunction between received perception and fact is deep when one may find so distinguished and wise a theatre writer as Liz Lochhead writing: ‘Certainly, our Reformation, early and thorough, stamped out all drama and dramatic writing for centuries [. . .] We have no Scottish Jacobean tragedies, no Scottish Restoration comedies.’1 Lochhead is a major theatre practitioner, an artist of the highest calibre, but her sincere observation, made only three years before this volume’s publication is, as this book shows, misinformed. Drama, the doing of theatre, was never stamped out as chapter after chapter demonstrates. Theatre, the watching of drama, certainly occasionally suffered suppression, in the seventeenth century until 1660, for example, in the absence of a royal court in Edinburgh and for about three decades after William III’s Dutch invasion when Whigs took over. In the 1720s, though, Anthony Aston and Allan Ramsay began a theatrical fightback. As Sarah Carpenter’s and my chapters show, by and large the Kirk, so far from suppressing all theatre, often supported it, especially in schools where it was used for its own purposes, while being rather dilatory in oppressing pre-Reformation drama, especially seasonal folk drama. The Scottish Reformation did not ‘early and thorough, [stamp] out all drama’, but rather, early and deeply uncertain, sought to shape it to its own ends. Indeed, when we move beyond theatrical drama to the Kirk’s ceremonial drama about which Margo Todd’s The Culture of Protestantism in Early Modern Scotland (2002) is so enlightening, we see Kirk members writing scripts, coaching participants and enjoying public enactments of penitence that echoed the folk drama that flourished,

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despite the Kirk’s undoubted wish to suppress it. Drama and theatre of one kind or another are found in every part of Scottish society both Lowland and, as Michael Newton vibrantly reminds us, Highland. Why should there be a general perception that somehow theatre in Scotland was invisible, even unScottish, during these centuries when it was both vibrant and varied? Part of the answer lies in Scottish theatre’s nature during the centuries between the 1560 Reformation and the twentieth century. Existing next to England’s theatrical culture, which placed priority on the role of the playwright, it is certainly true that the highly performative theatrical culture of Scotland has seemed to lack playwriting stars to match Shakespeare, Congreve or Sheridan. Yet George Buchanan’s plays, discussed by Carpenter, were the models adopted by Corneille and Racine in developing the French neo-classical drama so important to modern theatre’s evolution and, though now much neglected, remained themselves performed across Europe during three centuries. If Buchanan was arguably the playwriting father of modern European drama, his chosen language, Latin, limits his accessibility in the original, but there are, indeed, writers of Scottish Restoration comedies like Catherine Trotter, David Crawford and Newburgh Hamilton. They are not household names, nor does their achievement lead one to suggest they should be, but they existed. Chapter 2 shows there were in fact many eighteenth-century Scottish playwrights whose work appeared on London and Edinburgh stages. In general, writing in a language they came to rather than grew in, their work lacks the lasting power of a writer like Sheridan, who emerged from the Dublin Pale. But they were able to write important pieces like Alfred (1740) whose specific significance is discussed in this book’s second chapter. In short, the role of Scottish playwriting had different roots and different kinds of prominence from English theatre-writing during the centuries when drama and dramatic writing was supposed to be stamped out in Scotland. During all those centuries, whether we think of folk drama, Kirk drama, street drama, rural drama or the theatrical drama of the urban middle and upper classes, whether in Gaelic, Scots, English and even Latin, a wide range of theatrical forms was available. (The ticket-pricing structure of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Edinburgh theatre, however, was such, perhaps intentionally, as to exclude all but the well-off.) By the nineteenth century even legitimate theatre in Scotland was widely accessible and popular in the work, now often ignored, constituting the National Drama Barbara Bell discusses so interestingly. Meanwhile, as she and Paul Maloney point out, a popular theatre was still developing, at least in part out of rural and folk drama, that paralleled the triumphant National Drama’s nineteenth-century successes. Certainly the latter suffered eclipse faced by the industrial scale of West-End-based touring theatre, but it continued to flourish till the end of the century however overshadowed in

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some respects by the outreach of developing London theatrical empires (and Empires). Another reason for a general and false perception that somehow theatre was suppressed for centuries in Scotland is that Scottish theatre is actually, despite recent sterling work by scholars like Sarah Carpenter, John McGavin, Bill Findlay, Adrienne Scullion, Donald Campbell and Barbara Bell, under-researched or, if researched, under-represented in general histories. It is astonishing, but true, that in the second volume of the Cambridge History of British Theatre2 the discussion of theatre in Scotland between 1660 and 1775, years of such bubbling vitality and fertility as Chapter 2 outlines, is dealt with in just over three pages. And that is more or less all that is said directly about Scottish drama in the entire volume. If some scholars appear to lack adequate knowledge or else write about it inadequately, how can it be surprising that those not directly involved in exploring the field of earlier Scottish theatre are left in the dark? Yet, there are modern playwrights who have known how close drama was to Scottish culture’s heart. As Gerard Carruthers observes: Throughout his career Bridie vaunted the superiority of the play over other written art-forms, among other things for quasi-demotic reasons since it had ‘lain closer to the hearts of the people than any of its more reputable sisters’.3

And Edwin Morgan, cited in Chapter 2, notes: And everywhere there were folk-plays and folk-revels on May Day, at Midsummer and New Year. Guisers with their faces blacked up would dance through the churchyard, men dressed as women and women as men. Bakhtin would have loved these reversals and confrontations, the very essence of drama.4

The problem, however, does not arise simply from these issues: misperception of what the Reformation was, seeing it as early and thorough, when it was neither in truth; seeing drama as defined only by custom-built buildings and playwrights’ productions; the inadequacy of some scholarship in addressing Scottish theatre’s long-term range and liveliness. A focus on dramatic health as defined by a playwriting canon can misrepresent. In fact in all traditions the theatrical entrepreneur and animator, the cultural producer and shaper, is often more influential than individual playwrights, though some have also been playwrights. Allan Ramsay is an early example of this in Scotland as is, later, Sadie Aitken, engaging with many twentieth-century modes, amateur theatre, what we would now call community theatre, applied theatre and professional theatre, ignoring artificial boundaries to create the success among many other activities of the Gateway Theatre Company.5

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Others have gone beyond single roles as Tom McGrath, himself a leading playwright, did in launching the Third Eye Centre (now the CCA) in the 1970s and in developing and sustaining younger playwriting talent as Literary Manager (Scotland) in the 1980s and 1990s. Proper emphasis on such producing and mentoring roles, paralleling that of, say, Lilian Baylis or Tyrone Guthrie, should be recognised as part of the history and tradition of Scottish drama as much as playwriting. Misunderstandings also arise from a phenomenon Donald Smith aptly describes as ‘[l]acking a continuously-remembered playwriting tradition’. It is not that the earlier playwrights did not exist. It is that in many cases the styles of theatre, for example eighteenth- and nineteenth-century declamatory forms that they wrote for declined or changed and their texts now read oddly to us. We forget how to read and so how to appreciate their work. The National Drama’s vitality is similarly neglected because commercial factors changed the ways theatre operated, creating industrial processes with not only UK, but worldwide, ramifications. In the stand-off between National Drama and touring theatre the latter’s victory was likely, despite the fact that worldwide commercial empires helped some Scottish theatre artists enormously, whether playwrights like Barrie or performers like Lauder. For whatever reason, above all because of the emphasis on performance rather than text that may lie partly behind the affinity perceived by Noel Peacock between Scottish performers and Molière texts,6 there is an apparent tendency for Scottish theatre to see text as expendable. To understand that one has only to look at Steve Cramer’s footnote 7 where he reveals the only way he could lay hands on such an important modern text as Peter Arnott’s White Rose (1985) was by obtaining an unpublished manuscript from the author. While the position has improved radically since such 1990s initiatives as Nick Hern Books’ publication of new Traverse playtexts as programmes, a dearth of published texts means a dearth of knowledge about what Scottish drama’s canon actually is. So important a playwright as Arnott in fact did not have a play published in his career’s first twenty years. Tom Maguire rightly points out the difficulties that ‘face all playwrights in Scotland: getting works published and achieving subsequent productions’ (p. 157), but this is not a modern phenomenon. Getting to read texts of earlier centuries may involve fascinating journeys to research libraries or resources like Glasgow University’s invaluable Scottish Theatre Archive, but these are hardly easy means of absorbing Scottish theatre. The Reformation did not suppress Scottish theatre: this author would treat sceptically the idea that its lively historic vitality was ever fully suppressed for substantial periods. However, Scottish theatre does appear to neglect itself and denigrate its own traditions. And its textual tradition is suppressed in the terms set out in this paragraph, causing what I have called elsewhere a ‘creative amnesia’,7 which

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is destructive of the self-confidence and sense of deep continuous history Scottish drama and theatre actually should have. Even now it is rare to see performances of relatively recent work like that by the playwrights contained in Bill Findlay’s collection, Scots Plays of the Seventies,8 Bill Bryden, Hector MacMillan, Stewart Conn, Donald Campbell, Roddy McMillan and Tom McGrath. At that volume’s launch, Jo Clifford spontaneously rose and said to those collected playwrights present that, were it not for them, Clifford would never have written for the stage; they had offered inspiration and given Clifford confidence to become a playwright. Yet that creative continuity is often unhealthily neglected. It is that lack of a sense of continuity that distorts the vision of Scottish theatre as the continuous stream it is, discussed and celebrated in this volume – and not suppressed ‘for centuries’. A symptom of that self-denying distortion is found when producers neglect the older repertoire, constantly seeking only to work in the comfort zone of their contemporaries or near-contemporaries, while press commentators assert that such presentist narrow-mindedness is forwardlooking when in fact it is actually obtuse and obscurantist. Only by exploring and recreating our predecessors’ achievements for each generation, as well as seeking what is new, can there be a healthy cross-fertilisation of both in a growing theatrical culture. Inevitably there are areas where it is not possible, even in the space allocated to this volume, to address all Scottish drama’s rich potential. There is no space for discussion of such important twentieth-century playwrights as John Brandane, Graham Moffatt, C. P. Taylor or William Douglas Home nor contemporary writers like Stuart Paterson whose work for children is of particularly great vibrancy. The remarkable triumphs of the Imaginate festival under Tony Reekie, another important theatrical producer, in producing work for children should be recognised as part of the current international scope of Scottish theatre. And besides the earlier Gaelic drama Michael Newton’s chapter discusses there has been a surge in Gaelic writing for the stage discussed elsewhere by Michelle Macleod and Moray Watson in a recent highly important chapter.9 Inevitably more could be included than there is room for. That, however, is a token of the range and depth of the Scottish dramatic tradition that this volume seeks to address. If it goes some small way to helping cure the amnesia that has afflicted knowledge about, recognition of and pleasure in Scottish drama and theatre, so much the better.

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CHAP T E R O N E

Scottish Drama until 1650 Sarah Carpenter

Scarcely any Scottish play-texts survive from before 1650. Yet preReformation Scotland abounded with words for theatrical and quasi-theatrical performance: pageant, sport and pastime are joined by play, game, farce, guising, mask, procession, clerk play, comedy, tragedy, ludus, riding, entres, dance, interlude, jape, ballade, gest, jousting and mumming.1 This range of terms might seem to suggest, in spite of the lack of texts, not only a rich range of performance practices but carefully distinguished dramatic genres. But in fact the terms are more fluid and slippery, much less exact than their modern equivalents might suggest.2 ‘Play’ itself might be used for anything from formal drama, to folk custom, to sports and games. Theatricality was flexible, multiple and diverse. This rich elusiveness of the vocabulary of performance is one key to a world of theatrical activity that is very different from modern expectations. Today drama is experienced primarily as a leisure-time cultural option, most often run commercially in dedicated performance buildings. Before the Reformation, Scotland, like the other countries of Europe, had no commercial theatres or any tradition of this kind of play-going. Dramatic performance flourished, but was generally embedded in the cultural institutions and social interactions of everyday life. Drama marked and expressed the festivals of the Church and religious practice, civic identity and the status of the burghs, the court’s projection of its own image nationally and internationally, and political debate and propaganda. Recent work has also shown vividly how the more informal interactions of social, political and religious life all drew on an awareness of theatricality that blurs the lines between drama, ceremonial and display. John McGavin has explored the consciously shaped public performance used by ordinary people in early Scotland to structure their social interactions. He identifies this theatricality in ‘episodes of assault and assassination, public petition, clerical interrogation, dissent, physical display through costume, the public performance of identity, tournament, preaching, and the varied spectatorship of tourism’.3 Even after the Reformation, Margo Todd demonstrates persuasively how habits of theatrical public self-display

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continued to flourish in the supposedly anti-dramatic Presbyterian Church, where catechisms were publicly recited, reconciliations ritually enacted and penitents required to be ‘made a public spectacle’.4 Scotland before 1650 had no theatres; but theatricality remained through most of the period a vital and important mode of social and cultural expression. It may therefore be most revealing to approach early Scottish drama through the key organising institutions of daily life: the Church, the burgh and the court.

Drama and Religion Until 1560, Scotland shared in the Roman Catholic Church that dominated Western Europe throughout the Middle Ages. This was a Church that valued ceremonial and ritual as a mode of worship and as an expression of faith. The liturgy of the Church drew on spectacle, elaborate vestments, music and formal text, bells, incense and candles. Indeed, one of the fiercest complaints against the Church by the Protestant Scottish Reformers of the later sixteenth century concerned what was by then perceived as its ‘theatricality’. John Knox, attacking the Mass in 1550, scorned the ‘jukings, noddings, crossings, turning, uplifting’ of the priests ‘clad in disguised garments’.5 Many Church festivals were celebrated with spectacular ceremonial beyond the kirk building, as relics of the saints or other sacred objects were processed through the town with, as Knox again dismissively complained, ‘tabours and trumpets, banners and bagpipes’.6 These vivid practices of devotion involved the townspeople, and especially the trade guilds, in often elaborate display and performance. Some of these festivals developed practices that seem to us more fully theatrical. In various towns through Scotland in the Middle Ages, Candlemas (the Feast of the Purification), Pasch (Easter) and Corpus Christi were celebrated with activities that are recognisably dramatic, though not enough evidence survives to be clear exactly what they involved. Aberdeen offers us the earliest glimpse of what became established practice in many towns of Scotland. From 1442 we have records of an ‘offerand of oure lady’ at Candlemas which involved a procession for which the trade guilds provided performers for named roles. Some of these roles relate to Candlemas itself, which celebrated the presentation of the infant Christ at the Temple: the Littsters (dyers) supplied ‘the emprioure and twa doctourez [scholars]’, the Smiths and Hammermen ‘the three kingis of Culane [the Magi]’, the Tailors, ‘oure lady’ and Joseph, the Websters (weavers) Simeon.7 This might suggest a drama of the presentation; but other guilds were asked to find a range of characters that would hardly fit such a play: St Bride and St Helen, Moses, and ‘twa or foure wodmen [wild men]’, minstrels, and ‘alsmony honeste squiarez [squires] as thai may’. This sounds more like a spectacular procession, presenting a range of biblical characters associated with the feast, but

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interspersed with other religious and popular figures in a musical cavalcade. The crafts were required in 1506 ‘to observe & keipe the saide processioun alss honorabily as thai cane’ and ‘in the play pass tua & ij togidder socialie’.8 This model would fit many of the performances found elsewhere. Perth records a ‘processione et ludo corporis Christi [procession and play of Corpus Christi]’ from 1485, for which the Hammermen in 1518 and again in 1553 paid ‘playaris’ including Adam and Eve, their patron St Eloy, ‘the marmadin [mermaid]’, the devil and his man, St Erasmus, the king and three tormentors.9 It is hard to see what kind of play would include all these characters, and payment for banner-bearers may again suggest elaborate procession. The yearly Corpus Christi expenses of the Edinburgh Hammermen are almost all for torches and candles, banners and minstrels for ‘the processioun [. . .] quhen the sacrament yeid throw the toune’, although they too provided biblical characters, paying for ‘herod and his vj knychtis’. ‘Play’ and ‘procession’ seem overlapping terms, as in 1494 Edinburgh payments ‘quhen the processioun was playd for the kyng’.10 Even as processions these grand events give us some sense of the religious significance of performance and its important role in devotion. The records suggest a powerful mixture of magnificence, pageantry, the emotive and the awe-inspiring. The ‘credil & thre barnis [babies] maid of clath’ (Dundee, mid-fifteenth century) or the tormentors and cord drawer at the martyrdom of St Erasmus (Perth, 1518) imply vivid and emotional sensation; the ‘gold fulye [foil] to Cristis pascione’ and ‘makyn of dragone’ for St George (Lanark, 1507) suggest spectacular splendour; while the banners, torches and musicians all draw participants and onlookers into a passionate public enactment and celebration of their faith.11 While the processions may not have involved spoken drama, it is likely that scripted plays on religious topics also developed in medieval Scotland. Aberdeen records expenses (1440 and 1445) for ‘quodam ludo de ly haliblude ludendo apud ly Wyndmylhill [a certain play of the holy blood, playing on the Windmill Hill]’. A few years later the notary public was paid pro ‘scriptura ludi in festo corporis christi [for copying out a play for the feast of Corpus Christi]’ which suggests a spoken text, while in 1479 the Burgh pays for ‘arayment & uthiris necessaris of the play to be plait in the fest of corpus christi’.12 In later years we hear of ‘clerk plays’ in many towns, which appear to be spoken plays composed on religious themes presumably by clerics. Ayr and Edinburgh both record expenses for clerk plays, in Edinburgh on a ‘scaffold’, so not processional. We do not know much about this tradition of clerk plays, but it seems clear that they were popular. The ‘Gud Wife’ taught her daughter that young women should not go ‘to clerk playis na pilgrimage’ by themselves, while in 1546 the Reformer George Wishart complained that at Haddington ‘wold have bein at ane vane Clerk play two or three thowsand people’.13 It

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is certainly possible that alongside the spectacular processions clerk plays carried a tradition of fully-fledged spoken drama, entertaining but on religious topics, right through the sixteenth century and into post-Reformation Scotland.

Drama and the Town It is already clear that religious devotion was inseparable from other aspects of social and community life in early Scotland. The processional drama of Corpus Christi and Candlemas is an especially striking instance of how theatrical performance expressed an intricate web of spiritual and secular experiences and identities.14 The drama honoured religious festivals, saints and sacraments, yet was organised by the burgh councils and performed by the trade and craft guilds. The guilds had important religious obligations, maintaining altars in the churches and supporting the spiritual as well as the physical needs of their members. Their devotion to God, the Church and their patron saints was asserted through the processional pageants. But guilds were also defined by the skill and exercise of their craft, and their social and civic status within their city. The drama was a means of performing and asserting all these interacting and overlapping identities. The craft demonstrated its business, with guild members carrying the emblems of their trades: a recalcitrant tailor in Aberdeen in 1524 was instructed that he must ‘bring on his breist the wsit taikin [customary token] of his craft that is to say ane pair of pantit scheris [painted shears]’.15 The processions also dramatised relative social status, the most prestigious places being at the end, nearest to the sacrament. We find squabbles about precedence: Aberdeen (1507) orders that the ‘skynnaris sale gang befor the cordinaris [shoemakers]’ while Edinburgh decides (1509) that the Websters (weavers), Walkers (fullers) and Shearers should join together, though the Websters’ arms are to be most prominent on the banners.16 The right to performance in these spectacles was an important aspect of guild identity, in urban and mercantile as well as religious terms. The Edinburgh Wrights’ and Masons’ constitution insists that they shall ‘have thair placis [. . .] in all generale processiouns lyk as thai haf in the towne of Bruges or siclyk gud townes’.17 Processional drama also involved the dignity and authority of the burghs themselves: councils were determined to mount lavish, well-ordered and impressive spectacles that redounded to the credit of the city. The craftsmen were not always fully committed to the expense and effort of public pageantry and many burghs tried repeatedly to enforce guild participation by fines and other sanctions. The rhetoric of their regulations shows how the performances were understood as a key element in a town’s historic, civic, national and sacred identity. Many burghs echoed Perth’s proclamation in 1531:

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sara h car pen t er conforme to the auld lovabill consuetudis and ryte [loveable customs and rite] of this burgh [. . .] in the honour of god and the blissit virgyne Marye The craftismen of this burgh in thair best array keipe and decore the processioun [. . .] als honorabillye as thai can Every craft with thair awin baner [. . . this statute . . .] to be kepit Invioablye In all maner in tyme cuming.18

The drama of the procession asserts to citizens and beyond the civic pride and historic identity of the burgh. Not all burgh drama was processional. Many towns established or maintained ‘playfields’, large outdoor venues such as Aberdeen’s Windmill Hill or Edinburgh’s Greenside where we know that plays were performed. The playfields demonstrate how fluid a category drama was at this period, being used equally for sports, games and battle training. The range of uses and the role of drama itself is summarised in an Edinburgh proposal (1552) for a place for ‘pastymes meit [suitable] for deffence of the realme and toune [. . . and . . .] to play interludis in to draw pepill till the toune’.19 Sport and play, defence of city and realm, and theatrical entertainment all share the venue for the profit of the burgh and community. Burghs supported various kinds of popular drama. Many towns appointed an official organiser of such festivity, who went under various names: the Abbot of Unreason, of Bonacord, or of Narent, Robin Hood and Little John. These ‘mock kings’ or ‘Lords of Misrule’ took charge of a range of dramatic and quasi-dramatic activities through the year. A 1553 statute in Aberdeen reminded the Lords of Bonacord that their role was ‘halding of the guid toun in glaidnes and blythnes with dansis, farsis, playis & gamis in tymes convenient’.20 Large cities, small burghs, villages and guilds all appointed such Robin Hood-figures to organise performances. Burgh regulations do not distinguish such activities from religious processions: this festive drama similarly promoted community identity and pleasurable civic responsibility. Aberdeen chose its Lord of Bonacord in 1522 ‘requirand & chargand all maner of abill personis till obey to the saidis lordis of bonacord’.21 But although the burghs rewarded the Abbots of Unreason with various kinds of payments, burgesses were not always eager to take on the responsibility. In 1518 the Earl of Arran asked the Edinburgh council to release one reluctant Little John, chosen ‘to mak sportis and jocositeis [festivities] in the toun’, explaining he was ‘a man to be usit hiear [higher] and gravar materis’.22 In Haddington the council eventually drew up a list of candidates, approaching each in turn until someone agreed to accept the role.23 While theatrical entertainment was recognised as an important force in the community, its organisation could be a burden. One quasi-theatrical activity organised by Robin Hoods almost everywhere was the May game of ‘bringing in summer’. This seems to have

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involved another costumed procession, this time from the town out into the countryside. The later sixteenth-century poet Alexander Scott records how in May: men yeid [went] everich one, With Robene Hoid and Littill Johne To bring in bowis [boughs] and birkin bobbes [birch branches].24

This echoes Aberdeen’s order (1508) that all able persons in the burgh should be ‘reddy with thar arrayment maid in grene and yalow, bowis, Arrowis [. . .] to pass with Robyne huyd & litile Iohnne’.25 While this does not suggest spoken drama, an early sixteenth-century text titled ‘The Maner of the Crying of Ane Playe’ clearly seems to be a performance speech for such a May game. The speaker, a lively comedian who identifies himself as ‘Wealth’, addresses an audience of Edinburgh merchants: Ye noble merchandis everilkane Addres yow furth with bow and flane [arrow] In lusty grene lufraye, And follow furth on Robyn Hude, With hartis coragious and gud.26

In his preceding monologue Wealth tells the fantastical story of his giant ancestors, including his great-grandfather Finn McCool who: tak the sternis doune with his hand, And set tham in a gold garland Abone his wyfis haire. (ll. 45–7)

and his great-grandmother who spat out Loch Lomond, pissed the Firth of Forth and whose farts sank ships in Norway. Wealth has now come to establish himself ‘In Edinburgh quhar is meriast cheire, / Plesans, disport and play’ (ll. 132–3). The fantastic comedy of the speech, its intimate address to its spectators, flattery of the city and lively encouragement of the inhabitants to join in dramatic games – all oddly reminiscent of a present-day Edinburgh Festival comedian – gives a vivid sense of the role of this kind of theatre in enhancing the festive identity of burgh and its citizens. Burghs also used elaborate theatrical celebration to mark significant royal events, dramatising their national identity and relationship to the sovereign. The city itself would be turned into an elaborate stage to welcome monarchs at their accession, or royal brides, who would move through a spectacular series of pageants which received them into the realm.27 Margaret Tudor arriving as bride of James IV in 1503 was led before tableaux of the Judgement

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of Paris and the Annunciation, before passing under an arch demonstrating the uniting of Scotland and England with images of a ‘Chardon florysched [flowering thistle] and a Red Rose entrelassed’.28 James VI, in his royal entry as an adult king in 1579, was presented with the keys of the town by a singing boy descending in a globe from the city gate, invited to adjudicate a pageant of the judgement of Solomon, and offered an elaborate horoscope of his birth.29 The whole town was decorated by the householders with tapestries, flowers and images. These entries dramatised the prosperity, glory and loyalty of the city, honouring but also defining the monarch’s relationship to the nation.

Drama and the Court The royal court of Scotland was an important patron of dramatic activity. As we have seen, court and monarch shared in the theatrical activities of church and city. Kings went to see the ‘corpus christi play’, were celebrated in royal entries and gave money to Abbots of Unreason. The court even adopted and adapted popular practices for itself. James V appointed his own Robin Hood, supplied with livery, banner and attendants.30 A sophisticated polyphonic choral composition survives, probably from around 1500, that seems to enshrine and refine for the court the text of a folk drama, a ‘Plough Play’ celebrating the seasonal resumption of agriculture early in the new year.31 In activities like this, dramatic performance became an arena of interaction between monarch and people. But the court also supported various kinds of drama of its own, entertainment that might also engage dynamically in the processes of politics and power centring on the monarch. One of the most popular court recreations, which may not immediately sound dramatic, was the joust and tournament. Kings and nobles all enjoyed battle sports, and by the early sixteenth century these had acquired a highly theatrical dimension: the vivid spectacle of armed knights might be embedded into romance narratives and accompanied by indoor dance and shows. The tournament became a spectacular means of demonstrating prowess and prestige, of confirming and publishing the monarch’s fitness for rule.32 Sir David Lyndsay’s nostalgic reminiscence of James IV explicitly links this kind of performance with effective kingship: Triumphand tournayis, justing and knightly game With all pastyme according to ane king. He wes the glore of princelie governing.33

Tournament could have an international dimension, establishing king and nation as magnificent players on the European stage. Most famously, James

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IV in 1507–8 staged the ‘Tournament of the Black Lady’.34 Invitations were sent to knights in France, England and Denmark, calling them to Edinburgh to joust for the Black Lady in the Field of Remembrance, before the Tree of Esperance in the Garden of Patience. The Black Lady, possibly Moorish but more probably costumed as black in ‘sleffis and gluffis [. . .] of blak seymys [chamois] leder’, was magnificently dressed and carried in a decorated ‘chair triumphale’ to judge the proceedings.35 The following banquet was entertained with elaborate ‘play and dans’ and according to one historian, the Black Lady herself was swept up to the roof of the hall in a cloud machine. This tournament proclaimed, not just to Scotland but the wider world, the magnificent glory of James’ reign so that, as Lyndsay pointed out, ‘of his court, throuch Europe sprang the fame’. Such theatrical performance was not just entertainment, but a means of asserting Scotland’s confidence and status as a nation in Europe. Similarly elaborate spectacle accompanied many major dynastic events of Scotland’s monarchy. Baptismal celebrations were especially marked, asserting as they did the security of succession. The splendour of the baptism of the future James VI in 1566, including a spectacular firework festival built around an assault on a castle, was used by Mary, Queen of Scots to reinforce her triumph over the childless Elizabeth I in giving birth to an heir.36 This assertion to England of the security of the Scottish line was repeated thirty years later: the account of the spectacular theatrical celebrations for the baptism of Prince Henry (1594) was published in London as well as Edinburgh.37 Its record of the cautious decision to withdraw the inclusion of a real lion may well have influenced Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Apart from such significant occasions, the court enjoyed regular smallerscale performances. Monarchs were often participants as well as spectators: James IV, James V and Mary, Queen of Scots all took part in mummings, masks and disguisings which involved dance, costume and sometimes concealment, or mock concealment of their own identities. Mary and her ladies were said on at least one occasion to have masqued ‘all cled in mens apperrell’, while her son James VI wrote and performed in a wedding masque for one of his favourites in 1588.38 Similar entertainments might be used to address the monarch. One of James VI’s court poets, Alexander Montgomerie, wrote speeches for disguisings in which lavishly costumed visitors from exotic lands entered to honour the king or challenge courtiers to jousts or dance. ‘The Navigatioun’ reports the long adventurous journey of visitors ‘From Turkie, Egypt, and from Arabie’ to Scotland to honour James’ accession to adult rule, and offer dramatised counsel to the young king.39 Shows of this kind created a performance space in which monarchs could engage with their own nobles and courtiers. But even apparently slight dramatic occasions might be used to make diplomatic points: Mary was careful to ensure that Elizabeth I was sent

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the text of a banqueting masque which celebrated enduring and eternal love between the Scottish and English queens.40 It is not surprising that most of the – very few – surviving texts of early Scottish drama belong in one way or another to courtly traditions. Court patronage was more likely to result in written script and in publication. In most cases the published texts seem offered primarily for reading; but, like drama, the act of performance itself was a fluid category at this period: many texts recorded as poetry for reading nonetheless show strong elements of potential or actual performance. Poems like the vividly abusive ‘flytings’ of Dunbar and Lyndsay, poems that are chiefly in dialogue like Henryson’s comic pastoral ‘Robene and Makyne’ or John Burel’s elaborate ‘Pamphilus, Spekand of Luf’, poems composed to dance tunes like those of Alexander Scott, may all testify to a culture of ‘performance poetry’ that overlaps formal drama. The earliest surviving fully-fledged plays known to have been written by a Scot are the Latin tragedies of George Buchanan (1506–1582). Buchanan, renowned through Europe as a humanist scholar, spent the largest part of his early career working in France.41 Both there and in Scotland he was patronised by the royal courts. While teaching at the College in Bordeaux in the early 1540s Buchanan translated two of Euripides’ tragedies, Medea and Alcestis, from Greek to Latin, and composed two plays of his own in classical style, but on biblical topics: John the Baptist and the Old Testament Jephtha. Buchanan gained an international reputation for these two tragedies, becoming a key figure in introducing the richness of classical Greek drama to sixteenth-century Europe. He was especially praised for the Jephthes as following ‘Aristotles preceptes and Euripedes examples’, while the English poet Sir Philip Sidney claimed ‘the tragedies of Buchanan do justly bring forth a divine admiration’.42 Buchanan initially wrote his plays for his pupils to perform, and the distinguished French writer Michel de Montaigne who was a pupil at the College later recalled taking on ‘principal parts’ in the tragedies. But their reputation spread primarily as reading texts, through international educated and humanist circles. Their influence on the traditions of performed drama in Scotland was slight. Jephthes is an impressive example of the adaptation of Greek tragedy to Renaissance interests. The play dramatises the dilemma of Jephtha who in gratitude for victory rashly vowed to God to sacrifice the first thing he met on his return home from war. Met by his only daughter, he is forced to weigh his vow to God against his human love for his child and family. This action raises a complex and profound moral problem, but set within an intensely emotional human situation. Like his classical models, Buchanan dramatises the agony of an irresolvable dilemma as Jephtha struggles to respond to the competing demands on his honour, sacred duty and paternal love. His final

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decision to complete the sacrifice provides an emotional, but not an ethical catharsis, as the fraught debates with other characters ensure the moral problems remain unresolved. Powerfully as the play shapes its central topic, it remains a text designed primarily for readers. It shows little awareness of audience or action, creating its effects through words and formal rhetorical debate rather than through performance. It was enormously valuable and influential for educated readers across Europe, but its theatrical influence was primarily on the French neo-classical drama of the seventeenth century – Corneille’s and Racine’s in particular – rather than on any active tradition of Scottish drama. A play more clearly designed for Scottish court performance is the anonymous Philotus, although its first edition (1603) seems also to have been published for readers, describing it as ‘Ane verie excellent and delectabill Treatise’.43 It is a lively Scots example of the Italianate Renaissance comedy developed from the drama of Plautus and Terence. Based around traditional characters of foolish old men, passionate young lovers and comic servants, and playing with love intrigues, mistaken identity and confusions, the play shows a real familiarity both with the elite Italian comedy of the Renaissance and with the vernacular immediacy of Scottish performance traditions. Its plot involves the outwitting of a lustful old man attempting to marry a young girl, by means of identical twins, mistaken identity and cross-dressing – in both gender directions. Its dialogue in vivid vernacular Scots moves with ease between the poised rhetorical allusiveness of high comedy and the colloquial earthiness of informal comic monologue. The playwright deals deftly with the complicated plotting around the cross-dressed twins, moving towards harmonious resolution and the moral self-realisation of the aged Philotus. But the play is equally able to exploit the motifs of popular comedy, as the disguised wife beats and humiliates ‘her’ ancient husband, while the comic servant, the Plesant, acts as outspoken and mocking interpreter between the aristocratic lovers and the audience. We do not know when, by, or for whom this play was written – it has been persuasively argued to address either the court of Mary, Queen of Scots in the 1560s or of James VI in the 1580s.44 But its survival attests to the Scottish court’s knowledgeable engagement with both elite and popular, both European and local, traditions of theatre. The latest surviving play-texts of the period, Sir William Alexander’s Monarchicke Tragedies, reflect the causes of decline of Scottish court theatre. Written for reading rather than performance, in heightened neo-classical style, Alexander’s first tragedy, Darius, was published just before he moved to London with James VI in 1603. He was already distancing himself from Scottish traditions, preferring ‘the English phrase’ to Scots ‘for the elegance and perfection thereof’. His remaining tragedies are increasingly anglicised as he became both politically and culturally hostile to Scotland. The removal

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of the court and anglicising of its culture that Alexander exemplifies are key influences in Scottish drama’s failure to thrive in the seventeenth century.

Drama and Politics The theatrical activity of Church, city and court all carried political potential, and as we have seen might express or inflect political relationships. Royal entries addressed and advised the monarch: an angel who welcomed Mary of Guise to St Andrews offered ‘instructioun quhilk techit hir to serve her god, obey hir husband, and keep hir body clene’; while Mary, Queen of Scots, a Roman Catholic queen, was deliberately challenged to accept images of Protestant faith.45 Popular drama, too, might be used politically: a notorious uproar in Edinburgh in 1562 was claimed to be caused by those who ‘under colour of Robene Hudis play purpoissis to rais seditione and tumult’.46 But in the mid-sixteenth century we find a more deliberate use of drama to engage with current politics, in particular the developing contentions of the Reformation. Drama is a potent political tool which, especially in a world with relatively few communication media, could promote ideas and debate, energise communities, attack institutions from a safely fictional arena, and employ humour and spectacle, ridicule and emotion to engage spectators in public affairs. From the 1530s there is increasing evidence of openly political drama. Interestingly, recorded plays almost all support Reformist ideas.47 In spite of later Presbyterian suspicion of theatre, for many decades the Protestant Reformation happily used drama’s power to challenge the status quo and spread new thinking. In 1535 we hear of a Friar Kyllour who presented a drama on the Passion at Stirling, comparing Roman Catholic bishops and priests to the Pharisees who encouraged the crucifixion.48 A few years later James Wedderburn produced plays on John the Baptist and the tyrant Dionysius in Dundee, using their stories of oppression to attack ‘the abusses and corruptiouns of the Papists’.49 Such plays carried an edge of real danger: both authors later suffered, Kyllour being executed and Wedderburn taking refuge in France. George Buchanan was in Scotland around this time and his Baptistes tragedy, written shortly afterwards, explores similar issues of religious reform oppressed by tyranny. Political drama remained a forceful, though less perilous Protestant tool after the Reformation of 1560. In 1571 John Knox himself attended a play which dramatised the current siege of Edinburgh Castle by the Protestant faction, ‘according to Mr Knox doctrin’.50 Drama could both promote and reinforce political change. The court was another arena for political theatre. It seems that, as in England, a tradition of courtly interlude drama developed that might engage with topical affairs. A fascinating account survives of an interlude played in

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1540 in Linlithgow before James V and his queen with ‘the hoole counsaile, spirituall and temporall’.51 This drama was clearly felt to have serious political implications: the report was eventually passed to Henry VIII’s ministers in London, as evidence of James V’s attitude to Church reform. The eyewitness account of the play intriguingly confirms the powerful political use to which such court drama might be put. The action involved a poor man who came to complain to a king and parliament about the corruption and oppression of courtiers, and especially of the Church. The dialogue sounds forceful, comic but explicit and critical, directly engaging its audience; from its content and style it seems likely to be an early version of Sir David Lyndsay’s Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis. Most strikingly, James V apparently made deliberate use of the play in his political relations with the Church. He is reported after the performance to have demanded his bishops make the reforms the play called for, threatening them with his uncle Henry VIII if they refused. This is a powerful example of courtly use of drama, apparently by the monarch himself, to intervene in the political affairs of the nation. Our understanding of early Scottish political drama is greatly enhanced by the one surviving pre-Reformation play-text, Lyndsay’s Thrie Estaitis. This is a powerfully poised, inventive and theatrically confident play, testifying to an experienced author and a strongly developed tradition. If, as seems likely, Lyndsay based it on the 1540 interlude, it also demonstrates tellingly how political drama could be adapted from intimately addressing the closed, elite chamber of the centre of power to spectacular all-day outdoor event, performed for not only the queen regent and nobility, but ‘ane exceding greit nowmer of pepill’. It is a ‘state of the nation’ play which addresses issues of profound political and religious importance to the realm of Scotland, yet also a play of humour, popular and colloquial entertainment: as Lyndsay’s first editor says, ‘seriousnes intermixit with jocunditie’.52 Lyndsay was exceptionally placed as a dramatist.53 Serving and advising James V from the king’s infancy, he was a long-experienced courtier and diplomat, becoming Scotland’s chief herald, the Lyon King of Arms. He was widely recognised for his incisive and humane poetry, and from his early days was involved in court drama, and later the organisation of spectacular pageantry to welcome the king’s French brides. He was thus actively involved in Scotland’s national and international politics, but was valued in his own lifetime and beyond as a writer who could forcefully address the concerns of ordinary people. Evidence suggests there were two public performances of the Thrie Estaitis, one at Cupar, Lyndsay’s home territory, in 1552, and another, more famous, on Edinburgh’s Greenside playfield in 1554. The play is very substantial, falling into two halves, with extra material and comic episodes before, between and after the main action.54 The Edinburgh performance was said to last from nine in the morning until seven in the

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evening, making it an all-day, enveloping performance experience. It is an allegorical drama, in which many of the characters represent personified ideas or groups, yet with a vivid concrete immediacy that rejects any idea of intellectual abstraction. The first half traces the development of the inexperienced and youthful King Humanitie, who is encouraged by his irresponsible young companions into a passionate affair with Lady Sensuality that distracts him from his kingly responsibilities and allows his rule to be overtaken by forces of Falsehood, Flattery and Deceit. Disguised as Churchmen, these Vices bar Good Counsel, Verity and Chastity from the King, enriching themselves as the realm sinks into disorder. Finally Divine Correction is sent from God to bring the young King to his senses, instructing him to call a Parliament of the Three Estates to right the wrongs of the realm. The second half then moves from the individual ruler to the public sphere of Scotland in which the audience themselves live. The Three Estates – the Clergy, Nobility and Burgesses – make a dramatically comic entrance, showing their incompetence by ceremonially processing backwards to the parliament, led by the Vices. John the Commonweal, a figure for the wellbeing of the nation as a whole, emerges from the audience to complain with fierce colloquial intensity to the parliament about the misgovernment of Scotland, especially the corruption in the Church and the oppression of the poor. When the Clergy haughtily reject John’s allegations, while revealing their own ignorance, sensuality and callousness, they are eventually stripped of their Church vestments, revealing the costumes of fools, and banished the realm. The parliament then passes a series of reforming resolutions, the Vices are hanged or banished, and the play ends with an ironic mock-sermon given by Folly. The Thrie Estaitis engages openly with tense and crucial political issues of the day, making its performance to such a socially wide audience especially striking. The Edinburgh performance in August 1554, financed by the burgh council, followed soon after the accession of Mary, Queen of Scots’ mother as regent in April. Mary of Guise was a committed Roman Catholic yet she seems, like her husband James V, to have been ready to listen to discussions of the reform of abuses in the Church. The play outspokenly advocates Church reform, although its concern is not with matters of theology or faith, but with the clergy’s failure in their roles as teachers, moral examples and charitable supporters of the people. Less explicitly, but still strongly, the Thrie Estaitis offers a view of Scotland’s problems with kingly rule. King Humanitie is young and uncertain, and it has been pointed out that the play abounds in alternative king figures: at one extreme Divine Correction and God himself, at the other the Poor Man who audaciously climbs into the King’s empty throne during the interval of the play.55 John the Commonweal frequently points out what he would do ‘war I ane king’. At the time of these performances Scotland’s monarch Mary was a young girl, living in France: the

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problems of governing harmoniously a nation without a strong, male, adult ruler are theatrically enacted before the people, the three estates and the new queen regent in the audience. The play has a vibrant theatrical style which allows it to move dynamically between allegory and realism, outspoken physical humour and impassioned seriousness. Its vernacular Scots can express fluently its angry compassion for the poor and powerless, the bawdy colloquialism of arse-kissing farce, virtuoso satirical wordplay and comic routines of the courtly vices, and the formal rhetoric of parliament and preacher. But beyond its verbal eloquence, it is a play with a strong and sophisticated sense of performance and many of its points are made through theatrical rather than primarily verbal means. It exploits the special effects of costume vividly. The Vices comically disguise themselves in the clothes of Churchmen, their concealment visually expressing the King’s dangerous lack of moral and political insight. The Parliament’s final recognition of its central responsibility to the good of the nation is dramatised as ‘thay claith Johne the Common-weil gorgeouslie and set him doun amang them’. Theatricality sharpens the implications of the allegory. The audience is presented with a parallel between two equally beautiful women, Sensuality and Chastity, making the King’s false choice of Sensuality both more understandable and less justifiable. The problem of sexuality and its control is comically intensified when the wives of the craftsmen are enraged with jealousy by their husbands’ entertainment of the beautiful Lady Chastity. Lyndsay uses song, music and spectacle, and extensive direct address to the spectators, blurring the distinction between play and audience, and emphatically including them in its theatrical analysis of the state of Scotland.

Reformation and After The Reformation is often seen as marking the ‘beginning of the end’ for traditions of Scottish drama. Yet the apparent lessening in theatrical activity in the decades following 1560 has far more complicated roots and causes. As we have seen, until the late sixteenth century drama in Scotland, as in England, was not a separate strand of cultural activity but was embedded in the institutions and needs of Church, burgh and court. Changes in all of these organisations gradually affected the practices of theatre. The reorganisation of the Scottish Church in the years following the Reformation changed forms both of worship and of social exchange. The liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church with its vestments, processions, candles, incense and bells was firmly rejected; but although it was replaced with ceremonies that appear far simpler and less spectacular, the new rituals of communion and repentance were far from untheatrical.56 Further-reaching

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in its effect on drama is the Reformed Church’s repression of the traditional occasions for theatrical activity. Church festivals and saints days were banned, guild altars removed and the festive holidays of Yule, Candlemas and Pasch forbidden. Local presbyteries opposed the processions and pageants, Robin Hood plays and guising games that had marked these occasions, not so much because they were theatrical but because they were associated with ‘superstitious’ Roman Catholic festivals and practices. In fact, recent work confirms that the Reformed Church was not only less than successful in banning popular theatrical activity, but relatively lenient in its prosecution of those continuing to take part in it, for many decades after 1560.57 Aberdeen was still reproaching parishioners for parading the streets ‘maskit and dansing with bellis’ at weddings and Yule in 1605, Kelso for taking part in May and Robin Hood plays in 1611 and Perth for Yuletide guising in 1634.58 But anxieties were focused more on the ‘superstitious time’ and the threat to public order than on theatricality itself, and it seems, as Ian Brown notes in the next chapter, that informal festive performance persisted well into the seventeenth century and beyond . The Church continued to permit less superstitious forms of drama, especially in schools. St Andrews even gave permission in 1574 for a ‘comede [. . .] of the forlorn [prodigal] sone’ to be played on a Sunday, provided it did not interfere with preaching, and although the Kirk objected both to biblical plays and to Sunday performances, it agreed that non-scriptural plays could continue, provided they were first vetted.59 Drama continued to be supported, even prescribed in educational settings right through the seventeenth century. Burgh councils co-operated with Kirk restrictions, but continued to organise dramatic festivity for political and secular events, from the lavish celebrations for the entry of James VI’s bride Anna of Denmark in1590, to the pageantry for the visits to Scotland of James in 1617 and Charles I in 1633. Following James VI’s majority, the royal court itself remained an active arena for theatre through until the end of the sixteenth century. In fact it was James’ removal to London in 1603, on the death of Elizabeth I, that was probably the most significant single event in the decline of Scottish drama. This not only ended dramatic entertainment at the court itself, but also inhibited the potential development of a new, more independent theatrical tradition in Scotland. In England, although traditional modes of drama had also begun to decline, the 1570s saw the flowering of commercial theatre: public playhouses were founded and play-going became established as a flourishing leisure pursuit. The political and religious situation in Scotland had not encouraged similar developments. But James VI showed interest in this new English drama and in 1599 was instrumental in enabling a company of English players to set up a playhouse and perform publicly in Edinburgh. The king quashed vocal

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opposition from the Kirk, insisting that they withdraw their prohibition on attending the plays, and facilitating a further tour by the players in 1601.60 Continuing royal patronage and support might perhaps have fostered the gradual establishment of public theatre in Scotland. But James’ departure for London two years later left commercial players without a patron powerful enough to promote their cause. The first half of the seventeenth century did therefore see significantly reduced theatrical activity in some areas, without new developments in drama to carry the tradition forward. The gradually intensifying conflicts of the mid-century, leading to Scotland’s violent involvement in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, reinforced an environment practically and economically antagonistic to drama. English theatre suffered similar setbacks: the lead up to civil war resulted in the closure of the playhouses in 1642, with an edict that ‘public stage plays shall cease and be forborne’. By the time Cromwell invaded Scotland in 1650, drama in both countries was to some degree in suspension. The lively theatrical activity of pre-Reformation Scotland demonstrates how ideologically weighted public performance had always been. While theatrical impulses and activities never disappeared, the complex political and religious tensions in Scotland in the mid-seventeenth century unsettled the ideological context, and continued to make public dramatic performance problematic for several decades to come.

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CHAPT ER T W O

Public and Private Performance: 1650–1800 Ian Brown

There is a commonplace that the Scottish Church between 1650 and 1800 opposed theatre. The situation was more complex, earlier events defining its roots. On Mayday 1650, Charles II signed the Treaty of Breda, to secure Scottish military support. He agreed to the General Assembly’s authority, to Presbyterianism as national religion, and to sign the 1643 Solemn League and Covenant. At different times during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms the Scots had changed side, but now considered their, and Presbyterianism’s, interests better served by this agreement. September’s outcome – the Battle of Dunbar where Cromwell defeated the experienced Scottish General Leslie’s army, reputedly because of bad advice ministers imposed on Leslie – tested this judgement. New Year’s Day 1651 saw Charles crowned at Scone and that September Scots routed at Worcester and Charles exiled. Authoritarian Commonwealth rule abandoned Scotland’s parliament and disestablished Presbyterianism. Charles’s 1660 return restored parliament – and theatre – but he quickly repudiated Breda, establishing episcopalianism. Cultural links between Scottish elites and the royal court – and plays – in London developed, especially during the Duke of York’s (later James VII) Holyrood residence in 1679–82. Conflict about national and religious identity continued in, for example, the Killing Time (1680–8) between presbyterian Covenanters and episcopalianised Kirk and the aftermath of the 1688 coup that exiled James VII and installed William and Mary. Their sympathies supported a hard-line Kirk and established a royal court and Scottish Whig elite with diminished interest in drama, at least for the next few decades. Religious conflict linked to national identity, however, continued to underlie political and civic thought in the 1700s with their three Jacobite Risings. Meanwhile, in 1697 Thomas Aikenhead, a student at Edinburgh was executed for blasphemy, having asserted, after a night out with friends, that divinity was ill-feigned nonsense, Jesus a magician and Mohammed preferable to Christ. This case certainly embodies religious intolerance; it also marks the intense anxiety of a nervous city and Church ‘regime struggling to keep alive a revolutionary legacy’ and maintain civic order in a bustling capital.1

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For much of our period, Stuart/Jacobite and Williamite/Hanoverian conflicts continued and systems of state control meant some drama was not written for performance but for publication, or even, like anti-Soviet samizdat, manuscript circulation. Playwrights like Archibald Pitcairne or Allan Ramsay wrote from a dissident episcopalian, broadly Jacobite stance, designed to infuriate the presbyterian establishment. Scottish drama between 1650 and 1800 engaged intimately in debate about Scottish society. It had, therefore, opponents, while support for theatre was political as much as aesthetic. One form the Kirk actively encouraged was school and university drama, both in Latin and English. Certainly the Reformation set policies continued into the early 1700s, Kirk Sessions and Presbyteries exercised a stricter control, banning Sunday performances, censoring plays, and restricting the choice of subject. School plays were [however . . .] used [. . .] for imparting religious instruction or for revealing the errors of the Roman Catholic faith.2

Glasgow Grammar School’s 1643 education plan requires that ‘when the scholars have committed to memory dialogues, speeches, and particularly comedies, they are to assume the characters of the speakers, rehearsing in an imitative fashion in order to acquire the arts of good pronunciation and acting’.3 H. G. Graham notes the purpose was to further learning, and ‘not to pander to any sinful love of playing; and indeed, the pieces selected were admirably gifted to extinguish utterly all fondness for the stage in juvenile breasts throughout their natural life’.4 Yet, arguably school performances embedded drama in the pupils’ and presumably their parents’ and the community’s consciousness. When Scotland developed professionalised theatre and Scots wrote for London stages, the drivers were largely the professions – including advocates and ministers, the very people to have seen, or participated in, school drama. Many schools across Scotland annually performed plays from the classical repertoire or occasional pieces by their masters for visitations by local magistrates, ministers and, sometimes, patrons, for festive occasions or for the end of school years. In 1659, though Cromwellian antitheatrical rule still pertained, Aberdeen Town Council actually stipulated quarterly visitations where various classical or renaissance pieces were played. In 1711 it required a public theatre to ‘be erected in some publict place of the toune, as the counsell shall think fit and there some publict action to be acted by the schollars of the said school’. Other councils, like Dumfries, Haddington, Lanark, Paisley and Selkirk, also at times contributed expenses for public performances.5 School drama, often publicly presented, is seen in the late 1600s and early 1700s in, besides communities already mentioned, Crail, Dalkeith, Dunbar,

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Dundee, Dunkeld, Forfar, Forres, Glasgow, Hamilton, Kirkcaldy, Leith, Montrose, North Berwick, Perth and Selkirk. Even Lundie, a small village in the Carse of Gowrie, produced its play, though in 1688 the Dunkeld Presbytery suspended the master, William Bouok, for ‘acting a comoedie wherein he mad a mock of religious duties and ordinances’.6 Clearly Kirk anxiety about drama was based on not only doubts about theatre’s morality, but drama’s power to interrogate politico-religious values. Local schoolmasters’ roles could be significant: Haddington’s master from 1720 to 1731 was Allan Ramsay’s friend, John Leslie. This may explain why The Gentle Shepherd, first published in 1725, was revised into a ballad-opera for Haddington Grammar School pupils’ performance in Edinburgh’s Taylor’s Hall on 22 January 1729. Clearly, by then plays performed by scholars might be contemporary, even highly secular: in 1731, the year Leslie became Dalkeith’s schoolmaster, Vanbrugh’s The Provok’d Husband was performed there, only three years after its Drury Lane première. University students in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow also performed, sometimes as in Edinburgh in 1681 in theatro publico and occasionally controversially. In 1720 Glasgow University authorities opposed students’ desire to play Tamerlane, objecting to men playing in women’s clothes. The students would not concede; some masters supported them; permission to perform, but not on university premises, was finally conceded; on 30 December the performance took place in the Grammar School.7 Clearly drama was a dynamic element in Scottish society throughout the period. John McGavin’s work on sixteenth-century Haddington’s dramatic vitality tempts one to see its pupils’ later lively dramatic ambitions as springing from continuing underlying community interest. McGavin notes that the early seventeenth-century presbytery failed to suppress annual local plays in Samuelston and Salton, villages near Haddington. The pattern he observes was of a move from urban to rural drama [. . . and] from unthinking pleasures to pleasures pointedly enjoyed in opposition to the kirk [. . . The Presbytery’s] flurries of activity against rural drama, our only evidence that such drama took place, were all it could manage in the circumstances. By contrast, instances of adultery and fornication were frequently recorded.8

And, when discovered, these demanded the Kirk’s own highly theatrical enactment of repentance, social responsibility and forgiveness. In this, the minister’s role, in Margo Todd’s words, included those of ‘drama coach and director’.9 She comments Penance was staged and choreographed, with penitents assuming carefully prescribed positions and moving from one place to another in procession within

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the church, and through particular doors when entering and exiting the building. It was scripted, with allowances for both prescribed, formulaic utterance and ex tempore speech, the whole inserted into the larger script of sermoncentred worship.10

Todd describes such techniques, including specific penitents’ costumes, as helping ‘as in any dramatic performance [. . .] to communicate the themes of the play [. . .] on the penitential stage’.11 Robert Burns’s dramatic monologue, ‘Holy Willie’s Prayer’, came from an occasional performer in such Kirk theatricals. Understandably, many important historians of Scottish drama12 have concentrated on professional drama’s travails in Restoration and Enlightenment Edinburgh, but ‘drama’ then manifested in a wider range. Edwin Morgan identifies part of that range: And everywhere there were folk-plays and folk-revels on May Day, at Midsummer and New Year. Guisers with their faces blacked up would dance through the churchyard, men dressed as women and women as men. Bakhtin would have loved these reversals and confrontations, the very essence of drama.13

Todd provides extensive evidence of the Kirk’s difficulty in managing, let alone suppressing, such activities, especially as they related to older rituals surrounding marriage, death or seasonal celebrations at May, midsummer or Christmas.14 As she says, ‘The elders were no fools; they chose their battles carefully, and with the priorities of the larger church and community in mind.’15 From such subtler, less constantly oppressive approaches than usual caricatures imply, she observes: The evidence suggests instead that protestantism may have succeeded in part because the sessions enforced their legislation against festivity lightly, flexibly and sporadically. Where a heavy hand might have strengthened the opposition to Reformed doctrine as well as discipline, the elders’ sense of the inutility of quashing the useful and harmless allowed for a more gradual but secure cultural reconstruction [. . .] session minutes reveal them gradually subsuming old traditions into a new kind of festivity, with new ways of demonstrating individual and corporate status and communal cohesion in the face of both the linear and cyclical passage of time.16

As Janet Sorensen observes: examining the wide range of public performance, broadly conceived to include not only theatre but also ballad singing, street performance and even sermons,

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And to such essentially dramatic performances as ballad-singing one might add the long quasi-theatrical Scottish tradition of story-telling. Sorensen reminds us of street performance’s importance, as McGavin and Morgan do of rural performance’s. Between 1650 and 1800 drama was a highly – and actively – controversial medium, dealing with live political issues, sometimes in code, but often explicitly. Of Charles Leslie, the popular Aberdeen Jacobite ballad singer, Sorensen says, ‘Both in his hollow roar and his very name, Mussel-mou’d Charlie is forcefully and dangerously embodied, connecting performance and the spectacular physical body.’18 That late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Scottish drama was generally oppressed is a view apparently based on a narrow definition of drama: schools, rural and street drama were clearly lively phenomena. Regular attempts by authorities, religious and secular, to control drama indicate dramatic forms’ perceived prevalence and potency. Furthermore, such accounts do not allow for the many Scots writing for London stages, where population critical mass, court and elite presence and capital investment in buildings supported a dynamic theatre centre, though with its own censorship. Further, though throughout the 1700s political controls, at least in cities, did not much diminish, religious controls did, both focusing mainly on professionally written or acted drama rather than more popular forms. By 1662 court theatre had reappeared in Edinburgh: Scottish nobility patronised the Tennis Court Theatre in the grounds of Holyroodhouse, protecting it from Church or civic hostility. In 1663 the advocate William Clark or Clerke’s (fl. 1663–99?) Marciano, or The Discovery, the first postRestoration play written in Scotland, was ‘Acted with great applause, before His Majesties high Commissioner, and others of the Nobility, at the Abby of Holyrudhouse, on St Johns night: By a company of Gentlemen’. Clark’s preface to the published text clearly relates the Crown’s Restoration to the theatre’s, addressing those who would suppress ‘this innocent and usefull recreation’ of theatre in clearly politicised terms: ‘hell-hounds, assassinats of our liberties [who] snatch’d the very reins of Government [. . . and voted] down all Scenick Playes [. . . to suffer] in the same sentence with Monarchy’.19 Conversely, while the Kirk encouraged drama of certain kinds, courtsponsored theatre represented to many, well into the 1700s, a restored, forsworn, religiously oppressive enemy’s apparatus. Marciano’s main plot

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concerns Barbaro’s rebellion against Cleon, Duke of Florence. Barbaro’s captain, Borasco, captures Cleon’s general, Marciano. Marciano’s beloved Arabella, wishing the restoration of the ‘lawfull Prince’,20 brings about his escape, but is herself captured and condemned. Barbaro clearly a Cromwell figure, dies; Cleon is restored; Marciano and Arabella marry. A quite separate comic subplot presents love complications, concluding when sisters Chrysolina and Marionetta find their suitors Pantaloni and Becabunga false and true lovers in Cassio and Leonardo. The hypocritical Pantaloni observes, ‘[Plays] are great mockers of such gentlemen as us, who are better than themselves.’21 The subplot is still theatrically lively; the main plot’s language rhetorical – reflecting the advocacy, echoing justifications for school drama, in Clark’s preface of drama’s value for improving oratory – and heroic, although with vitality and some freshness. Marciano fails to integrate its two plots, but both highlight themes of truth/falsehood, loyalty/betrayal and the perceived need for established order that, often in foreign settings, probably to deflect censorship, would dominate the stage for years: ‘When men begin to quarrel with their Prince, / No wonder if they crush their fellow Subjects’ says Marciano.22 Until the late 1700s Scottish drama’s regular background was recent civil turmoil. Edinburgh theatre survived, though Scottish writers, given their drama’s highly politicised role and limited outlet, often sought London production. There, though theatre was often tightly controlled, court-sponsored drama flourished. Thomas Sydserf or St Serfe (fl. 1667–89?) was first of these with Tarugo’s Wiles (1667; Edinburgh première, 1668). Bill Findlay identifies Sydserf as the bishop of Galloway’s son, a royalist who fought under Montrose, and his play as influenced by early Molière and Spanish romance. By common consent, its complex plotting fails to synthesise convincingly Spanish setting and London references, and its attempted humour in exposing ‘the impossibility of restraining a Woman’s Will’ lumbers. It has historical importance, however, and ‘Sydserf contributed in other ways to the development of Scottish theatre. He was the manager, from 1667, of the [. . .] Tennis Court Theatre [. . .] and managed an acting company based in Edinburgh’s Canongate’ probably at least until 1689.23 Meanwhile, Sir John Foulis of Ravelston’s Account Books between 1669 and 1672 show his family regularly attended theatre in and around Edinburgh, his expenditure suggesting high prices. Such costly elitism was highlighted during the Duke of York’s 1679–82 stay at Holyrood when he encouraged masques and plays, bringing over a company of Irish actors for a time; in 1681 his daughter Anne, later queen, appeared in Mithridates, King of Pontus before the duke and his entourage.24 His pro-Catholic court’s theatrical activity as the Killing Time began can only have reinforced any radical Presbyterian sense that court-theatre was suspect.

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Archibald Pitcairne’s (1652–1713) The Assembly (1692) would reinforce possible identification of professional drama with Jacobite, anti-democratic views. Circulating in manuscript and unpublished until 1722, the play lambasts the General Assembly’s pedantry and the obscurantism of both Williamite and Jacobite political sectarianism. It mocks presbyterian hypocrisy in a subplot remarkable for its frankness about perceived ministerial lechery as when Solomon Cherrytrees, an Assembly member, in a parodic hidden reference to Song of Solomon counsels Laura: these two fair Breasts of yours evidently prove Parity in the Church-Members [. . .] Thus and thus they have in brotherly Love and Concord together. Do not imagine that the natural Body there is thus orderly, and that the Wise should suffer such a Blemish in the Mystical (Handling her breasts).25

Laura’s response, ‘Good Mr Parson ye must fetch your Similies elsewhere, I’ll assure you I’ll be neither Parable nor Metaphor to your Kirk-Government’, evinces no shame from Solomon. Rather he is indignant at the use of the ‘Antichristian name of Parson’ as prelatic: sectarianism is more important than respect for others. While Pitcairne’s main plot plods, his satirical subplot of Presbyterian two-facedness and love triumphant flies, both embodying a savage anti-Kirk polemic. No doubt Pitcairne’s strictures have some justice, but they are scarcely impartial. Following James VII’s 1688 deposition and William’s arrival – whether invited or, with a Dutch army of 20,000, invader – drama, public or closet, remained a lively part of politico-religious debate. Terence Tobin discusses the many eighteenth-century Scottish playwrights.26 His study provides an important set of summaries of plays and their plots for the period under discussion, for which there is no room here. It also makes clear that, though some playwrights, like Sydserf, moved between London and Scotland, it makes sense to see two categories of eighteenth-century professional Scottish drama: Scottish theatre, mainly Edinburgh-based, and plays by Scots for London stages. One of the first of the latter was Catherine Trotter (1679–1749), born in London of Scots parents and later resident in Aberdeen. Adrienne Scullion identifies her first significant play as Agnes de Castro, probably played in 1695, followed by a verse-tragedy Fatal Friendship (1698), a comedy Love at a Loss (1700) and two more verse-tragedies, The Unhappy Penitent (1701) and The Revolution in Sweden (1706). Trotter was known as an intellectual and the last play asserts the importance of liberty in the face of authoritarian oppression, here by the foreign Danes. David Crawford (1665–1726), already a novelist, followed: Courtship A-la-mode opened at Drury Lane in 1700 and his second play, Love at First Sight, at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in 1704. Scullion summarises his plays as ‘typical Restoration comedies featuring true and false lovers, fops, coquettes,

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courtesans, cuckolds, sophisticates, innocents, deceit, infatuation, disguise, intrigue and a dubiously moral conclusion’.27 What is striking about them is their Restoration conventions, without, apparently, the specifically Scottish political undertow of Marciano or The Assembly. Trotter’s and Crawford’s is a particular market, in her case Whig, and they write to it. Part of Crawford’s craft was developing the stage Scot. Such figures were not new in Restoration theatre: Yorkshire-born John Lacy had played the title role, Sauny the Scot, in his own 1667 play, but here the type is developed in the servant Willie Beetlehead. As with Sauny, Willie’s role is as clown and cunning and faithful servant, his heart in the right place. And he speaks Scots: WILLIE Ay, that is, lye wi me au yer days; warm me bed in au caul Winterneight, aun let me get bairns upon ye. BETTY Is that your way of Courtship in Scotland? WILLIE Ay, aun this way tae be ma Saul – (kisses her rudely)

Crawford moved on, becoming in 1705 Historiographer Royal for Scotland, but his plays show sprightliness and Willie’s language, as Scullion observes, is ‘energised [. . .h]is linguistic identity is fully integrated into his dramaturgical role and does not reduce him to mere ethnic stereotype’. Newburgh Hamilton (1691–1761) followed with comedies, The Petticoat-Plotter (1712) and The Doating Lovers (1715) and lyrics, following Milton, for Handel’s Samson (1743). Such playwrights were integrated into London theatre practice. Differences between Scotland-based and Scottish London-based drama certainly derive ultimately from the departure of the theatre-loving and theatre-patronising court of James VI in 1603. The later 1707 departure of the parliament’s patronage potential may also have had some impact, though Scots representation in the Westminster parliament was relatively thin: most of the political class continued in its Edinburgh bases, close to its estates. Although in 1715 a company of English players coming to Edinburgh and presenting Macbeth alongside some Restoration plays stayed briefly, probably because of local presbytery protests, the drive to drama was not suppressed long. The English actor Anthony Aston, a friend of Allan Ramsay’s, had arrived by 1725.28 Initially welcomed by council and social elite, he faced trouble in 1727: Donald Campbell suggests he failed to pay dues to the Master of the Revels in Scotland, responsible for licensing plays, companies and playhouses, a post whose independence Scots had fought for. Despite Aston’s claim he had played for king and court in London, the Church attacked theatre on theological grounds of immorality in its 1727 Admonition and Exhortation. Campbell suggests that here the Kirk represented the people

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through its system of ‘called’ (congregationally elected) ministers more fully than a town council that fronted a self-selecting system of bourgeois trade guilds, but following a 1712 Patronage Act landowners retained control over the appointment of ministers. The anti-theatrical animus was less quasi-democratic and more a result of the views of a theological clique which did not, as we shall see, represent the whole Kirk. Meantime, Aston’s role, like other visiting actors’, as elocution teacher highlights another political dimension of post-Union Edinburgh theatre. Theatre was a place at this time for the socially aspiring to hear and acquire English rather than Scots. Occasionally the public insulted members of the audience on their way to the theatre and in April 1728 Aston left, leaving bills unpaid. Yet, in October the Edinburgh Company of Players, which later also toured Dundee, Montrose, Aberdeen, Newcastle and Scarborough, began playing regular seasons in the Taylor’s Hall. The difference between them and Aston was, according to Campbell, that they had a Royal Patent and so ‘[t]hroughout their stay in Edinburgh, the company never had the least difficulty with either the magistrates or the Church’.29 Allan Ramsay’s importance for Edinburgh’s theatrical development cannot be overstated. Breaking the anglicising model, he wrote for the stage in Scots, having published an early version of The Gentle Shepherd in 1725. In 1728 he published Some Few Hints, in Defence of Dramatical Entertainments, strongly defending ‘Dramatick Actions [. . .] which in all Ages and Nations, have always been esteem’d the most noble and improving Diversions’.30 His network of friends, including Aston and Haddington’s John Leslie, made him a significant theatrical animateur. He sold tickets for the Edinburgh Players through his bookshop. The Gentle Shepherd, with its tale of disguise, true love, honour and order’s restoration after exile (the play has pro-Stuart/Jacobite, anti-Whig/Calvinist hints), became, in Adrienne Scullion’s words, ‘the most popular pastoral in eighteenth-century British theatre’,31 its success inspiring a host of imitators. Based on his earlier pastoral poems, it features the shepherd Patie, who loves Peggy. They are separated when Sir William Worthy arrives incognito after the Stuart Restoration, announces he is Patie’s father and, disapproving his choice, requires him to go with him to be educated as a gentleman. In the last act Mause, a reputed witch, explains Peggy is Sir William’s sister’s daughter. Hence, their love will not disturb social hierarchies and the marriage can go ahead, while Sir William restores ‘his father’s hearty table’.32 The play, despite its conventional form, is peopled with recognisable characters, including Roger, a prosperous shepherd in love with Jenny; Worthy’s tenants, Glaud and Symon; Symon’s wife, Elspa; and Bauldy, a hind (farm-worker). Tobin observes that ‘Ramsay splashed the pastoral with local color [sic]; he added a realistic wash to the stilted delineations of aristocratic shepherds’.33 Much of Ramsay’s enlivening ‘wash’ is

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the integral use of Scots dialogue, even if the Scots hind throws Tobin (who appears to believe Bauldy is a deer). The play itself deals in hidden loyalties, discovery and the need to preserve political order in a way that resonates with Scotland’s confused loyalties between the two major Jacobite risings. Interestingly, Tobin suggests that Haddington Grammar School boys (and presumably their master Leslie) had seen the earlier play version performed by strolling players in Edinburgh (the newly arrived Edinburgh Players?) in 1728 before commissioning the version with which we are familiar.34 As already noted, they premièred the full version in Taylor’s Hall, the Edinburgh Players’ professional venue. This suggests a creative relationship between school drama and the professional stage, at least this once. Indeed, as already noted, while some ministers might wish school plays not to interest pupils in drama, they must, in combination with rural and community drama, have engaged both performers and audiences, providing a seedbed for eighteenth-century Scottish drama’s development. The genesis of Ramsay’s ballad-opera hints at a more interactive and dynamic drama scene than study of professional stage’s conflicts with religious and civic authorities alone would suggest. Certainly, in the year following The Gentle Shepherd première, besides promoting the Edinburgh Players, Ramsay organised visits of London companies. Meantime, a number of leading expatriate writers in other genres wrote for the English stage, including James Thomson, David Mallet (Malloch) and Tobias Smollett. Thomson’s first play Sophonisba (1730), dedicated to Queen Caroline, is read by Tobin and Scullion as contemporary political allegory: Tobin notes the ‘heroine’s dominant passion is to prevent her native Carthage (Britain) from becoming subservient to tyrannic Rome (France)’.35 Its baroque bravura was satirised, but Thomson returned to the stage with Agamemnon (1738), though Dr Johnson observed his nervousness on the première night: ‘the sweat of his distress had so disordered his wig, that he could not come [to supper] till he had been refitted by a barber’.36 This play was dedicated to the Princess of Wales; again a political meaning is implied: Orestes as Frederick, Prince of Wales, Clytemnestra his mother Queen Caroline, Aegisthus Walpole. His Edward and Leonora (1739), dedicated to Frederick, began rehearsal at Covent Garden, but the Lord Chamberlain banned its implied references to the royal family’s civil war, though it was published. Mallet had written Eurydice (1731) which was accused of being a coded Jacobite play. This accusation may arise from Malloch/Mallet’s Perthshire family background of Catholicism and Jacobite sympathy, which his name-change may have sought to mask. In any case his next play Mustapha (1739) attacked by implication Walpole and the queen’s encouragement of George II’s hostile treatment of Frederick post-1737 (clearly Mallet slipped this play past the censor): Walpole’s propagandists may lie behind the

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Jacobite rumour.37 By mid-century Mallet was seen ‘as a writer of the Patriot Opposition’,38 viewing Frederick as beau ideal of patriotic ‘non-partisan’ government. Mallet (dialogue) and Thomson (lyrics) collaborated on The Masque of Alfred (1740) where the Anglo-Saxon hero emerges from disguise to drive out the Danes. The play concludes with Thomson’s ‘Rule Britannia’ sung in duet by Alfred, another wise Patriotic paragon, and his queen Eltruda, Alfred’s lead-in line to the song being ‘They rule the balanc’d world, who rule the main’.39 The play combines, in Tobin’s words, ‘belligerent patriotism, music, spectacle and romance’,40 while its political significance is marked by the fact that its intended Drury Lane 9 February première was cancelled so its première could be at the Prince of Wales’ Cliveden retreat on 1 and 2 August.41 Thomson went on to achieve European fame with his greatest dramatic success: Tancred and Sigismunda (1745), dedicated to Frederick. Set in Sicily, it deals with ‘a favourite motif, the conflict of public duty and private feelings’,42 a recurrent Thomsonian theme. Thomson’s preface to the published play asserts the importance of drama in influencing public and private lives: ‘But of all the different Species of Writing, none has such an Effect upon the Lives and Manners of Men, as the Dramatick.’43 The conflict between duty and personal fulfilment finds its dialectic in Tancred, heir to the throne, and Siffredi, the late king’s adviser. Tancred loves Sigismunda, Siffredi’s daughter, but Siffredi tricks him into marrying the late king’s sister for the sake of public harmony. Sigismunda, believing herself betrayed, marries Osmond, the Lord Constable, who thinking himself cuckolded, though she is innocent, kills her, torn between two visions of love and duty. Siffredi early sets out one of the polarities of governance the play explores, the need for self-sacrifice for public order: Nor Interest nor Ambition shall seduce My fixt Resolve – perish the selfish Thought, Which our own Good prefers to that of Millions!44

He offers a version of an ideal social contract between ruler and people: He sought alone the Good of Those, for whom He was entrusted with the sovereign Power: Well knowing that a People in their Rights [. . .] Beneath the sacred Shelter of the Laws, [. . .] Are ne’er ungrateful.45

Sandro Jung argues against a reading of the play as having contemporary political force:

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Although Thomson’s story is situated within a partly authentic context of history, the poet’s prominent use of as modern a source as Gil Blas indicates that he was more concerned with the domestic theme of happiness and love than with finding a means of responding to the political situation of the day.46

But as Jacobite dynastic claims continued to threaten the British state and Hanoverian court politics disturbed political stability, when Scottish playwrights revisited themes of loyalty and betrayal, especially in a text dedicated to the alienated Prince of Wales, it is hard to see their work as anything but highly politically committed, whatever concurrent emotional forces or domestic themes they engaged. For the Hanoverian royal family at this time, the personal was deeply political. Thomson and Mallet used historical or mythical figures to comment covertly on current political issues even after the June 1737 Theatre Licensing Act – passed by Walpole’s government to suppress political comment – obliged plays to obtain the Lord Chamberlain’s licence. Another Scottish writer, Tobias Smollett, meantime arrived in London in 1739 with The Regicide, a play about James I’s death. He was unsuccessful in placing it with a theatre, but, after the success of Roderick Random (1748), published it in 1749. David Garrick presented Smollett’s 1757 comedy, The Reprisal, drawing on his ship’s surgeon experience, at Drury Lane. Writers like Mallet, Thomson and Smollett represent a strand of eighteenth-century Scottish drama – Scottish consciousness on the London stage, often, though not always, commenting on matters of national governance – not to be neglected. Meantime, the Edinburgh Players lost their patent, folding in 1736. Ramsay obtained the Carrubber’s Close theatre, established in 1715 as a musical, acrobatic and comedy venue, to be home for his own permanent company, which included some Edinburgh Players.47 Its foundation as a venue for popular theatre segued into its role as a home for elite drama. It opened in November 1736, the prologue proclaiming, ‘Long has it been the business of the stage / To mend our manners, and reform the age.’ The claim marked Ramsay’s defence of theatre’s moral value; the opening seemed to fulfil Ramsay’s entrepreneurial dramatic ambitions – for seven months, till the Theatre Licensing Act forbade buildings to present spoken drama without a royal patent approved by parliament. Ramsay’s theatre had to close and, perhaps because of magistrates’ nervousness of public gatherings following the 1736 Porteous Riots, attempts to reopen it in 1738 and 1739 failed. Yet, just as legal action closed theatre, a legal quibble allowed its reopening. In December 1739 after a concert of music, The Provok’d Husband was played gratis as an afterpiece. Two years later, in December, the precedent being established, Thomas Este began presenting, under the patronage of the

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Duke of Hamilton, concerts-and-plays in Taylor’s Hall. In his memoirs, John Jackson, reports: [Lord Somerville] informed me, that, in order to protect the performers from the violent measures adopted against them [presumably by the 1737 Act which declared those not settled to be rogues and vagabonds], some of the nobility were under the necessity of nominally announcing them as their menial servants: That a principal one had been received into his house as his butler; where, after performing King Richard the Third upon the stage, he disdained not to enact the part of Scrub, by drawing a cork at his Lordship’s side-table.48

Elite patronage remained key for support of professional theatre and on 16 November 1747 a new custom-built theatre opened, called, following the established ruse, the Canongate Concert Hall. In 1751 it became openly the Canongate Theatre under Lord Elibank’s aegis, another lawyer (although he did not practise) who supported theatre. The theatre was small, offered only two or three performances a week in a short season of a few months and its economics were problematic. Elite venture it might be, but in 1760 some Highland sedan-chair carriers, allowed in free with their employers, took offence at slights to servants in James Townley’s High Life Below Stairs and initiated the Footmen’s Riot until the City Guard evicted them.49 The magistrates’ anxiety about even elite theatre’s potential threat to civic order was not idle. In this theatre, however, on 14 December 1756, a dramatic breakthrough took place. As Richard B. Sher observes, ‘Fiction and antiquarianism were perhaps the only important fields of polite literature in which the Scottish clergy had little to say.’50 John Home, the socially well-connected minister of Athelstaneford, submitted his first ‘patriotic tragedy’ Agis (1746) to Garrick ‘who refused to produce the drama about an obscure ancient monarch’.51 When he wrote Douglas, Garrick also turned it down. Home was a member of the Kirk’s relatively cosmopolitan Moderate wing, alongside Church, university and Enlightenment luminaries like William Robertson, Hugh Blair and Alexander ‘Jupiter’ Carlyle. Ian Clark observes: The driving force in Moderatism was a mood of cultural liberation and optimism which made the Moderate clergy aspire to play not merely a national but a European role [. . . they] were ‘world-affirming’ by nature, and had no desire to see the Church of Scotland drawn aside by a narrow and sectarian spirit from the mainstream of Scottish life [by Popular, Evangelical or ‘Wild’ opponents drawn to a theocratic past].52

As has already been noted, the Kirk was in some limited ways a democratic voice for a Scotland under, like England, oligarchic civil rule. Despite

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the Kirk’s later reputation, the desire for ‘progress’ – often described as ‘Improvement’ – in Scottish economics, society and agriculture was to be found largely, though not exclusively, in its ranks. Certainly the Moderates were identified with landed proprietors and in time their Evangelical opponents were to assert people’s rights in the 1843 Disruption, but 1750s Moderate objectives appeared progressive, in 1756 defeating the Evangelical attempt to excommunicate David Hume. Hume meantime played Glenalvon in a rehearsal of his kinsman’s play, Robertson reading Randolph, Carlyle Old Norval, Home Douglas, Adam Ferguson Lady Randolph and Hugh Blair Anna. Of that cast only Hume was not a minister. The invited audience included the law lords Kames, Milton and Monboddo and the territorial noble, Lord Elibank. A decade after Culloden, Douglas explores the tragic results of civil conflict and hidden identity. Its bravura roles include Lady Randolph, first played to great effect by Sarah Ward and later by Sarah Siddons. Norval, the lost son of her secret marriage to Lord Douglas, returns heroically to the Scottish army and his identity is revealed. He is killed, trying to protect her from her second husband’s jealousy and his aide Glenalvon’s scheming, and she plunges from a precipice. Scullion notes that both the mother and long-lost son were ‘appealing and demanding roles and the piece entered the standard repertoire’,53 but Douglas has importance beyond theatre in marking a crucial challenge to older ways of thinking. The local Presbytery responded by censuring ministers, including Carlyle, who attended the play and approving on 5 January 1757 an Admonition and Exhortation declaring playhouses immoral. Those censured mostly apologised, but stayed in post, generally seen in a sympathetic light, while the Admonition had little impact. The Evangelicals were in retreat, while Home resigned his charge in June, heading off any discipline he faced and south to London where Garrick presented Douglas to great acclaim and thereafter many of his subsequent plays. Douglas became a century-long hit. In 1739 Lord Glenorchy had introduced a Bill to establish a patent theatre in Edinburgh, but withdrawn it, given resistance from magistracy, university and Kirk. Now Robertson, minister and principal of the university, had supported the theatre and Home was a hit playwright. It seemed only a matter of time before an Edinburgh patent theatre was approved. Rising young lawyers and intellectuals supported drama. When Eleonore Cathcart, Lady Houston’s play The Coquettes, a version of Thomas Corneille’s drama, opened and failed on 10 February 1759, so that she refused to acknowledge it, her cousin James Boswell, having seen the play through rehearsals, took responsibility for it. He is credited with A View of the Edinburgh Theatre during the Summer Season, 1759.54 This reviewed three performances a week of two plays, a full-length and a one-act play, the programme changing from night to night, from

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Wednesday June 20 until Monday August 20. Jean Marishall’s novel The History of Miss Clarinda Cathcart and Miss Fanny Renton (1766) reinforces the sense that playgoing was then a well-established elite pursuit in Edinburgh. Her heroine writes, having just arrived in Edinburgh, ‘Wednesday we were at the play’ (II: p. 162) and within four pages is off out to the play again. From this more fruitful ground, new Scottish plays emerged. Patriotism (1763) by advocate John (James?) Baillie is a political farce in support of Prime Minister Bute. Andrew Erskine’s She’s Not Him, and He’s Not Her (1764) is a crossdressing love farce. John Wilson’s Earl Douglas; or, Generosity Betray’d (1764) mines Scottish history to feature the 1440 Black Dinner where during James II’s minority his advisers/captors assassinated the 6th Earl of Douglas and his brother, despite a safe-conduct. This version exculpates James, royalty being innocent victim, like the Douglases, of scheming politicians: Chancellor Crichton and Regent Livingston oppose the nobles who embody Scotland’s liberties. By the time Edinburgh’s expansion was planned, it seemed logical the newly-aggrandised city should have its Theatre Royal. The 1767 Act granting Edinburgh Corporation powers to build the New Town included a clause ‘to enable His Majesty to grant Letters Patent for establishing a Theatre in the City of Edinburgh, or suburbs thereof’.55 The Canongate Theatre, severely damaged in January in the Stayley Riot caused by the popular George Stayley’s not being cast, became pro tem the Theatre Royal. According to Jackson, James Boswell wrote the prologue to the opening of the patented house, celebrating loyalty to the Hanoverian settlement, Enlightenment and drama’s ‘new’ status: This night lov’d GEORGE’s free enlighten’d age, Bids Royal Favour shield the SCOTTISH STAGE; His Royal Favour ev’ry bosom cheers; The Drama now with dignity appears.56

The North Bridge to the New Town opened in 1768;57 the new Theatre Royal at its north end opened on 9 January 1769; on 8 March 1773, its first play by a Scot, Henry Mackenzie’s The Prince of Tunis, opened. Blair had seen a 1771 draft of this; he reacted favourably, particularly admiring the thirdact line, ‘Scaring the dimply cupids from their Seats’, enjoying the ‘good poetry’ and ‘animated and high style’.58 Mackenzie’s overwrought speechifying meant, in Tobin’s words, that ‘the tragedy resembles Shakespearean burlesque’.59 Nevertheless, the play also played London and Mackenzie, a successful novelist, went on to write for both Edinburgh and London stages, including The Shipwreck (1784) and Force of Fashion (1789), his first comedy. Around him flourished many plays by Scots, some romantic, some classical,

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some historical in theme, featuring figures like Mary, Queen of Scots and William Wallace, and some, in the new fashion, Ossianic. All was not straightforward, however. In 1762 some Glasgow gentlemen had set up a theatre in Alston Street, which was partially burned down on the eve of opening by religiose objectors. Nevertheless, the scheduled play, starring Mrs Bellamy, was performed on a temporary stage as Glasgow high society rallied round to provide costumes and props.60 Again the dynamic was in favour of theatre, and its popularity grew. In 1781 John Jackson became manager of the Edinburgh Theatre Royal and in 1782 opened a Glasgow Theatre Royal in Dunlop Street, the Alston Street building having finally burned down in 1780. The opening of patent theatres allowed greater exchange of actors and playwrights between Edinburgh and London, while touring continued to develop. Adrienne Scullion identifies evidence of a lively, if often rough, Scottish regional fit-up theatre culture.61 Alexander Wilson the Paisley radical poet, who left Scotland for America in 1794, offers in Scullion’s words, a ‘ribald account’ of touring players in his earlier poem, ‘The Spouter’: Where is the place that mair o’ life ye’ll learn Than ‘hint the scenes in some auld kintra barn, Where two-three hungry, ragged Spouter blades, [. . .] Mang kintra folk do ply their kittle trade? There ye may see a lang horn shottle chiel [shabby-like] [. . .] As Dick the Third shout for ‘a horse! a horse!’

The audience is raucous, heckling and chatting away, and the next day the players have absconded without paying the barn’s rent. A more sedate, sideways glance at such performances is found in John Galt’s Annals of the Parish (1821), set in rural Ayrshire where in August 1795, ‘a gang of playactors came, and hired Thomas Thacklan’s barn for their enactments’.62 They play first Douglas and The Gentle Shepherd, the century’s archetypal Scottish plays, then unrecognisable versions of classics like Macbeth. The minister is told (for he cannot possibly himself attend, though he permits his daughter) that ‘in their parts they laughed most heartily, but made others do the same’. Galt, sly as ever, in talking of laughter in relation to tragic performances is surely good-humouredly hinting something about performance quality. He also reports the rumour that one actor was a runaway ‘English lord’s son’, perhaps an indication, Scullion points out,63 that actors still tended to be English. As Alasdair Cameron notes, ‘Scots had little opportunity to train as actors [. . . when the repertoire] consisted of either declamatory tragedy or verbal comedy, both of which put the Scot, with distinctive speech patterns, at a

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considerable disadvantage’,64 though presumably Scots played those roles increasingly written in Scots. Cameron also points out that, beside school and village performance, amateur acting amongst the upper and professional classes was very widespread in the Lowlands in the eighteenth century. This ranged from the country-house performances of Charles Frank of Dughtrig [. . .] to benefits for deserving causes in the cities, and village entertainments [. . . Small touring companies] could call on local actors in most towns to perform parts in a play when, as often happened, there were not enough actors to fill all the roles.65

(The stock company acting system, of course, allowed for such drafting of locals to act with professionals.) By the 1790s, a Scottish actor like Henry Erskine Johnston (1775?–1845), ‘The Scottish Roscius’ – a magnificent portrait of whom, playing Douglas, still adorns the stairs of London’s Garrick Club – could be a star north and south of the Border. All of this indicates a generally active drama. John Finlayson’s The Marches Day, ‘As annually performed by the originals, at **********’ was published in 1771. Period manuscript notes in the National Library’s copy suggest the location was Linlithgow. It portrays the burgh’s trades in a lively entertainment with vivid Scots dialogue, much banter, local references and a celebration of the town’s annual festival. It may be that this text represents a pulling together of the hidden tradition of community, folk and school plays of local importance with the developing oeuvre of Scottish drama. Its preface says it was ‘originally compos’d for the entertainment of a few, who are perfectly acquainted with the predominant humour of each of the actors’.66 Its publication also reminds us of the importance of published and closet drama. Jane Mar(i)shall is mainly known for her novels, and Tobin observes that her Sir Harry Gaylove (1772), ‘like other novelistic British dramas of the day, manifests the influence of the incompatible form upon a theatrical work’.67 He is harsh: the first three acts flow well, the dialogue is individually characterised and any type-casting is no more pronounced than in other period plays. Gioia Angeletti sees Marshall’s rejection by theatre managements as more bound up with wider barriers facing women writers. She sees them as having to employ ‘masking strategies in order to come to terms with sexual, social and cultural marginalisation’: she notes Marshall published anonymously. Other strategies included male pseudonyms or ‘masquerading of controversial issues under the treatment of domestic or sentimental themes (for example the disguised topic of racial discrimination in [Christian] Carstair’s The HubbleShue)’.68 Sir Harry Gaylove presents a series of abrupt, but technically practical, scene changes at the end of which Ophelia Godfrey escapes abduction by the lecherous old Lord Evergreen with the help of his daughter Harriet and

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her beloved Sir Harry and is reunited with her own Belmour. Virtue – and its economic value in a bride – triumphs: the play resembles a dramatised novel. Angeletti argues, however, its central freedom/imprisonment leitmotif is not just a narrative expedient to render the intrigue more appealing and create coups de theatre. [. . . The play embodies Marshall’s criticism] of women’s virtual enslavement in contrived marriages and the false allure of safe domesticity, and [rejection of] the arrogance of patriarchal culture.69

Her play was not produced, but still became public. Drama in this period should not be confused simply with professionally produced plays. Tobin observes that there tended to be a ‘melodramatic morass of closet drama’. He also argues that closet plays like John Wood’s The Duke of Rothsay (1780), dealing with the Duke of Albany’s killing of the king’s eldest son, rose above that: ‘It is a sophisticated dramatic achievement. The characters’ motivation is psychologically oriented and remarkably complex.’70 Successful Scottish playwrights continued to emerge. Archibald Maclaren wrote, for example, perhaps nearly a hundred plays after The Conjurer; or, the Scotsman in London (1781). This, featuring regional types and a cunning Scot, was printed in Dundee and performed in Edinburgh in 1783. Tobin thinks it may have earlier been played on tour in other towns, like Montrose. In any case, Maclaren was not only prolific; his work’s appearances suggest the ways in which professional drama in Scotland had spread wings. The Coup de Main (1783), employing ‘the dialect comics, disguises, a letter and other devices [Maclaren] uses continually’,71 opened in Dundee and was printed in Perth in 1784. Interestingly, two of his plays use Gaelic. The Humours of Greenock Fair (1788) uses a little, almost at once translated. The Highland Drover, with dialogue whose humour depends on understanding what an English monoglot does not, requires audiences to understand Gaelic. Domhall speaks only Gaelic to Ramble, the lover he interrupts attempting elopement. Until the drover helps the lover succeed many jokes depend on linguistic misunderstanding: Domhall’s ‘Sas’nach’ sounds to the anglophone like ‘arsenick’.72 Set in Carlisle, this play is liminal in both location and language, though it opened in the Gàidhealtachd at Inverness and played Aberdeen, Perth, Dundee and Greenock, where it was published in 1790. In 1805 it reached London where the Gaelic was translated into Scots. Maclaren’s writing continued to challenge: in The Negro Slaves (1799), McSympathy speaks in Scots for humane values and against slavery’s cruelty. When the English slaveowner, Captain Racoon, accuses him of sentimental falsehood, he responds, ‘I wad na change my false humanity, for a’ your real barbarity.’73 With the new century Maclaren moved to London and wrote there until he died in

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1826. Meantime Joanna Baillie, whose work is dealt with in Barbara Bell’s chapter, had established herself as a major playwright. Since 1650, drama had gone through enormous change. School and popular drama continued and indeed strengthened, while rural theatre perhaps grew in sophistication: Pentland villagers came to present The Gentle Shepherd annually. The Kirk’s theatrical angst was modified, not least by the impact of Moderate ministers. While many forms of drama developed, Edinburgh theatre prices were for now such as excluded all but the welloff (and their servants until the Footmen’s Riot). The legal profession’s positive embrace of drama continued: Faculty of Advocates members were proprietor-shareholders in the Theatre Royal, Donald Mackenzie observing that ‘without the sympathy and support of the Faculty the theatre might never have survived into the 19th century’.74 In 1788, the Edinburgh patent trustees were the Duke of Hamilton and Henry Dundas, the Tory manager of Scotland: the oligarchy still had firm control of ‘legitimate’ theatre. The Lord Chamberlain censored performed plays. Yet, closet and community drama thrived and occasional public protest was still possible. A 1794 revival of Alexander Fyffe’s The Royal Martyr (1712 [opera – 1705]) presenting Charles I as a heroic victim caused riots at Edinburgh Theatre Royal when some prorevolutionary students cheered the tragedy’s democratic lines to Tory audience members’ umbrage. And theatre survived this student rebelliousness, where just under a century before Aikenhead had been executed. As Alasdair Cameron observes, in 1662 what we have called ‘professional’ theatre in Scotland was limited to short seasons at the Tennis Court Theatre in Edinburgh; it was patronised only by the aristocracy, dominated by English plays and players, and under frequent attack from the Church. By 1800, there were nine permanent theatres [Edinburgh (2), Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dundee, Dumfries, Paisley, Ayr, Greenock] spread throughout Scotland, the theatre was becoming the most popular form of organised entertainment in the country and there were the beginnings of an indigenous tradition of playwriting, acting and management, which paved the way for the ‘National Theatre’ at the Theatre Royal Edinburgh in the early nineteenth century.75

Scotland’s dramatic nature was varied and vibrant.76

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CHAP T E R T HR E E

Folk Drama in Gaelic Scotland Michael Newton

Folk drama has been amongst folklorists’ topics of study since the field’s inception. In reaction to overly general and expansive interpretations of the genre, in the last few decades scholars have subdivided this broad term into more nuanced and specific categories such as ritual enactments, proto-dramas and customary dramas.1 Nonetheless, the broader genre remains a useful starting point. Anne Burson observes: A folk drama is a mimetic performance whose text and style of performance are based on traditional models; it is presented by members of a group to other members of the same reference group. A specific inherited text is not the determining factor that makes an event folk drama; rather, it is the traditional pattern on which the event is based.2

Folk drama in Gaelic Scotland has not enjoyed sufficient attention from previous Scottish drama scholars nor from recent commentators on folk tradition in Gaelic Scotland.3 As this is a survey, rather than theoretical analysis, an inclusive interpretation of the definition of folk drama allows several of its key elements to be recognised in Gaelic Scotland’s oral traditions and folklore: • the proclivity to imitate the voices and assume animals’ personae; • the composition and performance of dialogues, in prose and poetry, representing multiple characters; • the dance-drama genre; • the dramatic aspect of rituals of social customs, especially wakes and calendar customs. A number of sayings are still active in Gaelic which imitate the sounds of animals, especially birds, the words themselves often describing that animal’s distinctive traits or habits. These sayings rely upon the natural speech rhythms of the Gaelic language – vowel length, cadence, syllabic emphasis,

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etc. – for some of their mimetic effect. Although the effect is languagespecific and cannot carry over properly in translation, one example in Gaelic and English translation will illustrate the nature of these verbal expressions: SMEÒRACH ISEAN SMEÒRACH ISEAN SMEÒRACH (THRUSH CHICK THRUSH CHICK THRUSH

Iain ‘ic ‘ille Mhoire bhig, thig dhachaig, thig dhachaig. Carson? Carson? Gu do dhìnnear, gu do dhìnnear. Dé an dìnnear? Aran cruaidh coirc, aran coirc, agus miùg leis, miùg leis. John son of little Gille Mhoire, come home, come home. Why? Why? For your supper, for your supper. What supper? Hard oatcake, oatcake, and whey with it, whey with it.)

Nobody who hears Alan Lomax’s 1951 recording of Annie Johnston of Barra imitating ten different kinds of birds (including the example above), can doubt that they are listening to a dramatic performance executed by a skilled and practised performer.4 Many storytellers recorded by John F. Campbell and his team of fieldworkers in the nineteenth century assumed the differentiated voices of human characters, birds and other animals in their performances. Alexander Carmichael noted of Janet Campbell, for example: The reciter had many beautiful songs and lullabies of the nursery, and many instructive sayings and fables of the animal world. These she sang and told in the most pleasing and natural manner, to the delight of her listeners. Birds and beasts, reptiles and insects, whales and fishes talked and acted through her in the most amusing manner, and in the most idiomatic Gaelic.5

Transformations between animal and human form in many wonder tales in Gaelic also reinforce the mutability of personae in oral tradition and folklore.6 Dialogues can be found in Gaelic prose and song-poetry going back to the early medieval period. Although we cannot now determine how common this practice was, there is evidence dialogues were sometimes performed by persons assuming appropriate voices and characters. Amongst these dialogue song-poems are some ‘Fenian lays’ or ‘Ossianic ballads’ attributed to Oisean (Macpherson’s Ossian). Such is implied in Walter Scott’s novel The Antiquary (Chapter 30) when Hector McIntyre is translating an Ossianic ballad into English and makes the comment: ‘but you should hear McAlpine sing the original. The speeches of Ossian come in upon a strong bass – those of Patrick are upon a tenor key’.7 Notwithstanding the Macphersonian red

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herrings, James Logan’s The Scottish Gaël has useful notes about folk drama recorded by previous witnesses: The ancient poems were repeated at entertainments and in those, where a dialogue occurs, the characters were represented by different bards, or other individuals. In the poem of Carrie thura, the parts of Vinvela and Shilric were represented by Cronnan and Minoria. Sir John Sinclair sketches, from the first book of Fingal, a dramatic scene, which, he believes, was acted by different persons. Clarke, who refuted the attack of Shaw, on the authenticity of the poems, declares that he went with Mac Pherson to late wakes in Badenoch, where they were so acted or represented. ‘The Highlanders, at their festivals and other public meetings, acted the poems of Ossian. Rude and simple as their manner of acting was, yet any brave or generous action, any injury or distress exhibited in the representation, had a surprising effect towards raising in them corresponding passions and sentiments.’8

As in Ireland,9 one of the primary occasions for folk dramas was the funeral wake. Thomas Pennant has a brief mention about this during his 1772 visit to the Hebrides: The late wakes or funerals, like those of the Romans, were attended with sports, and dramatic entertainments, composed of many parts, and the actors often changed their dresses suitable to their characters. The subject of the drama was historical and preserved by memory.10

The richest vein of folk drama in Gaelic Scotland probably lies at the intersection of drama and dance, two genres that are not clearly differentiated in most folk traditions: ‘It is very difficult to distinguish between drama and dance, so difficult indeed that the term dance-drama has been often substituted in academic discussions of this genre.’11 The Enlightenment philosopher Adam Smith took note of the dramatic dance performances of eighteenth-century Scotland: In the country it frequently happens, that a company of young people take a fancy to dance, though they have neither fiddler nor piper to dance to. A lady undertakes to sing while the rest of the company dance: in most cases she sings the notes only, without the words, and then the voice being little more than a musical instrument, the dance is performed in the usual way, without any imitation. But if she sings the words, and if in those words there happens to be somewhat more than ordinary spirit and humour, immediately all the company, especially all the best dancers, and all those who dance most at their ease, become more or less pantomimes, and by their gestures and motions express, as well as they can, the meaning and story of the song. This would be still more the case, if the same person both danced and sung.12

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The dance drama of greatest significance and widest currency in the recent past was called in the Hebrides and western Highlands ‘Cailleach an Dùdain’ (‘The Hag of the Mill-Dust’). It was performed as part of seasonal festivals, although accounts show that the date varied between Beltane, Michaelmas and Hogmanay, according to specific community traditions.13 A written account by ethnographer Father Allan MacDonald seems to describe the dance as performed in late nineteenth-century Eriskay: Two take part in the dance — an old man and an old trembling shivering hag (a man dressed in punch attire does her part). The old hag comes in trembling and quivering with a stick in her hand and her husband similarly armed. They fight with the sticks — dancing all the time. Finally the old man thrusts his stick into her body and she falls down dead. The old man beats his hands and howls most atrociously as it occurs to him that he has murdered the old woman. The sudden change from anger and animosity to broken-heartedness for the loss of his partner in life is ridiculous. He bends down over her only to find out more surely that she is dead. The lamentation is heart-rendering. Again and again he bends over her and again his sorrow is only intensified. He bends down and touches her boot and the foot rises a little and quivers away most singularly. The old man regains a little confidence. He bends down again and touches the other foot, and it too begins to shake incessantly. At these signs of returning life he bursts out into hysterical laughter. He touches the hands one by one. They too begin to quiver. The old carlin stretched out on the floor with her two feet and two hands quivering looks ridiculous to a degree and the spectators nearly drown the piper with their uproar. The old man then bends down and touches her hair and up she springs with renewed life and they both rush into each other’s arms most gleefully.14

This dance drama has elements in common with folk dramas widely dispersed in the British Isles (and beyond) categorised as the ‘life-cycle play’ by late nineteenth-century folklorists. They saw in this a ritual theatre where the ‘tradition-oriented peasantry once expressed its agrarian vision of the totality of man’s experience in the seasonal cycle and the interdependence of life and death’.15 Like mummers’ plays, the Padstow ’Obby ’Oss, the Irish Wrenboys and other such life-cycle plays, Cailleach an Dùdain features combat, death and resurrection and uses dance to heighten dramatic tension.16 Modern folklorists no longer interpret ‘life-cycle plays’ merely as degenerate fragments of a pre-Christian ritual concerned with fertility and the principles of death and rebirth. They are more concerned with the on-going dynamics of communal customs: ‘Traditional drama has a history: of continuity and change, of endings, as earlier traditions have died out, and of beginnings, as new traditions have emerged or been invented.’17 Although Scottish Gaelic records are quite sparse, there is similar evidence of hybridisation,

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reinterpretation and reinvention. In eastern Highland Perthshire the figure of the Cailleach in Cailleach an Dùdain was influenced by a local legendary figure. The dance drama there acquired an accompanying song in reel-time, for example, but a jig-time song was attached to it in the Hebrides, suggesting that the dance drama was still being actively developed in different Gaelic communities in the eighteenth century.18 Alexander Campbell, a native of Loch Lùbnaig, included some very important notes about dance drama forms in the appendix of his 1804 volume The Grampians Desolate. He classifies Gaelic dance traditions into ‘1. Dances of one performer. 2. Dances of two. 3. Dances of three or more. 4. Dances of character or dramatic cast.’ All of the dances he lists under solo dances, including Cailleach an Dùdain, are described in dramatic terms. He describes one called ‘Crait [sic] an Dreathan’ (‘The Wren’s Croft’) perhaps for ‘Croit an Droighinn’ (‘The Thorny Croft’). In it a farmer complains about the poor land he must plough, interspersing comments about his sexual exploits and his escape from forced recruitment in the Battle of Bothwell Bridge in 1679. Each stanza of monologue is concluded with the command ‘Séid suas!’ (‘Blow up!’), a command for the bagpiper to resume playing the tune to which the actor danced. This appears to have originated as a dance associated with the agricultural cycle that was refashioned in the late seventeenth century by the peasantry to mock the elite and their excessive demands. There are vestiges of other dance dramas associated with the agricultural cycle: ‘A’ Chreag Liath’ (‘The Grey Stone’), also recorded by Campbell, and a peat-cutting song-dance for two from Badenoch.19 Although most dance dramas seem to have had a set script and accompanying actions, at least one, ‘Marbhadh na Béiste Duibhe’ (‘The Killing of the Otter’), appears to have been largely improvisational in character. Joan and Tom Flett describe it as ‘a short mime, of rather a “slapstick” type’.20 An imitative bear-dance was created and is still performed in Nova Scotia, demonstrating that the mimetic impulse was strong amongst immigrant Gaels who left their home-lands in the nineteenth century.21 It appears that Gaelic folk drama was being rapidly lost in the late eighteenth century, along with other aspects of folk tradition, for reasons explained elsewhere.22 In the mid-nineteenth century Alexander Stewart (using his pen-name ‘Nether Lochaber’) described a dance drama that may be derived from medieval religious dramas: A parish clergyman in the North was kind enough to send us, some time ago, a small manuscript volume containing many curious old songs, and fragments of what in their entirety must certainly have been ‘dramas’ in the true sense of the term [. . .] Our extract would seem from internal evidence to be part of a ‘moral’ drama – a sort of composition in which our Celtic forefathers largely indulged, and which, in the shape of ‘holy masks’ and ‘mysteries’, was common all over Europe in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

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m ichae l n ewt o n In the drama a hooded crow speaks to a speckled pyet and describes a number of animals which would be found around a battlefield in the aftermath of slaughter. The final stanza, in an omniscient third-person voice, begins by stating ‘In the name of the Virgin Mother, know . . .’. All of this would have lent itself well to dramatic interpretation, although no record of the nature of the performance seems to have been preserved.23

It may be that Duncan McRae of Isle Ewe modelled his composition ‘Òran na Feannaige’ (‘Song of the Crow’) on this drama. Duncan accompanied Prince Charles Stewart after the battle of Culloden and aided his escape. The three surviving verses of his dialogue-song between Duncan and a crow surveying the Highlands from above suggests that the bird intimated the cultural oppression of the Gaels in the aftermath of Culloden.24 Folk drama seems to have become largely moribund by the early twentieth century in Scottish Gaeldom and the textual record is likely to be incomplete. Nonetheless, this brief survey demonstrates that folk drama was indeed amongst the traditional expressions of Gaelic communities and that a great deal of basic scholarship remains to be done on it.

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CHAP T E R FO U R

The National Drama and the Nineteenth Century Barbara Bell

[This chapter mentions a number of stage adaptations of work from other media. In order to avoid confusion between characters, novels/poems and stage works all sharing the same name, source works appear in italics, adaptations between single quotation marks and characters’ names in plain text, for example, the novel of Guy Mannering, the play called ‘Guy Mannering’ and the character known as Guy Mannering.] At the beginning of the nineteenth century in Scotland a moment occurred when political, economic, social and cultural factors came together to create something very rare indeed in nineteenth-century theatre, a type of drama and an idea of how that drama related to the generality of society, the legacies of which are still seen in Scotland’s theatres. It is to the nineteenth-century Scottish theatre that one should look for the emergence of much of what arguably remains particularly Scottish about Scottish theatre. Modern audience tastes like attachment to an oral tradition of story-telling, ease with performers who move between forms, a porous ‘fourth wall’, love of music onstage, can all be found within the National Drama, a repertoire addressing, directly and through its usage by audience and theatre artists, what it was then to be Scottish. The government strategy after the Jacobite rising of prohibiting or appropriating Scottish cultural symbols, seeking to erase ‘Scotland’ in an effort to establish ‘North Britain,’ had proved ineffective and in the cultural arena Scottish identity continued to assert itself. However, the theatre industry at the beginning of the period was severely constrained. The patent system, whereby ‘legitimate’ drama was by law the province of the Theatres Royal, leaving other theatres and companies to work with less prestigious ‘illegitimate’ forms like burletta, melodrama and pantomime, weakened it, stifling expansion and discouraging innovation. Yet, as Ian Brown’s chapter shows, a significant and vibrant body of eighteenth-century Scottish playwriting both Scotland- and London-based provided an underpinning for later developments. At this time, nonetheless, the repertoire of allowable ‘Scottish’ plays

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was relatively small, comprising a handful of full-length works, including Macbeth, Schiller’s Mary Stuart, Home’s Douglas, Ramsay’s The Gentle Shepherd and some ballets, like Donald and Moggy, or Highland Revels! There were also pieces, best termed Covent Garden Caledonian, originating outwith Scotland, which dressed dramatic clichés in tartan. Finally, a few individual Scottish characters, comic grotesques or Romantic stereotypes, were played by actors who were mostly incomers, performers struggling with unfamiliar accents. Yet, the Scottish stage was potentially a powerful arena. In an era before the Reform Act, opportunities for public assembly were rare and usually tightly controlled; theatrical performances offered a meeting place for large numbers across social classes and theatre audiences became adept at reading contemporary commentary into what they saw. In 1821 The Scotsman reported that a performance of Henri Quatre in Edinburgh had been read by the audience for comment about the ongoing revolt in Naples, resulting in some disturbance (3 March 1821). The Lord Chamberlain’s Office in London, to whom scripts were submitted for licensing, unsurprisingly distrusted work that it felt might offer an actor, by word or gesture, the opportunity to stir up a crowd against authority. In such a climate the limited selection of Scottish plays suited government very well. Thus in 1819 they refused the Edinburgh Theatre Royal a licence for Duval’s The Wanderer; or, the Rights of Hospitality about the flight of Bonnie Prince Charlie, insisting it be set in another time and place. However, the Agrarian and burgeoning Industrial Revolutions were creating ever-larger markets for entertainment: workers with money wages to spend and an appetite for Scottish material and voices. Initially, the industry turned to its audience to fill the gap. The Gentle Shepherd and Douglas had long become mainstays of the Scottish amateur stage and professional theatres endeavoured to meet growing audience expectations by inviting local amateurs to take on roles. On New Year’s Day 1811, the Edinburgh Theatre Royal performed ‘favourite scenes’ from The Gentle Shepherd, ‘Patie and Roger by gentlemen, natives of the city’, in a bill alongside the ‘tragedy’ of Douglas, or The Noble Shepherd and the ‘interlude’ of Hooly and Fairly [ed. or, the Highland Lad and Lowland Lassie]. The date is significant, indicating that this was a special occasion and those ‘native’ voices a holiday treat. Alongside growing audiences for drama, Scotland also enjoyed another advantage during this period, in a group of artists who took an active interest in the fate of Scottish drama. Foremost amongst these were the playwright Joanna Baillie (1762–1851) and Walter Scott (1771–1832). Both understood the challenges facing the drama, railing, for example, against the large theatres that they felt coarsened acting styles. Baillie has attracted much scholarship over the last ten years, in good part because of the paradox whereby she was widely celebrated as a playwright during her lifetime, yet rarely saw

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her pieces performed. Recent reassessments of Romantic theatre, the closet form and the work of women on the Romantic stage1 provide a richness of argument and reflection from which it is possible to conclude that Baillie was ahead of her time, writing works the Regency theatre was ill-equipped to produce. The weight of her achievements lies in the way her plays and detailed plans for their writing were supported by rigorous analyses of drama as an art-form and the mechanics of audience reception. She set out with a plan to write, in a variety of dramatic formats, a series of plays examining the operation of the Human Passions. The first three, two tragedies De Monfort and Count Basil and the comedy The Tryal, were published as Plays on the Passions in 1789. De Monfort appeared successfully at Drury Lane, before the author was known and contemporary prejudice against women writing serious drama took a grip on her fortunes. Yet, during her lifetime, volumes of Baillie’s plays were eagerly awaited, as much for the detailed prefaces as for the plays themselves. Her prefaces analysed the dynamics behind audience responses to emotional displays, the impact of stage lighting, the power of picturisation and performance style. Plays flowing from her pen following her theories demanded precisely those conditions – for example, intimate theatre spaces and naturalistic ensemble acting – whose absence on the contemporary stage she bemoaned. Penelope Cole’s 2007 analysis of Scott’s production of Baillie’s The Family Legend (1810)2 sees Scott’s efforts to fit the piece for performance at Edinburgh Theatre Royal as blurring the complexity of Baillie’s writing. Characters adding depth to the script are diminished by weak casting; by choosing to highlight those elements with visual appeal, for example, the heroine’s rescue from peril, Scott skewed Baillie’s overall argument around Scottish identity. Walter Scott was already a successful poet, whose Lady of the Lake (1810) would shortly be turned into a ‘musical drama’ entitled ‘The Knight of Snowdoun’ for Covent Garden. When Scott came to produce The Family Legend he took great care to research and costume the piece appropriately, but found the overall process frustrating. It was his only substantial foray into production. Scott, alongside sensible advice to aspiring playwrights evident from his correspondence, wrote an ‘Essay on the Drama’ for the Encyclopaedia Britannica laying the blame for its weakened state squarely at the feet of the licensing system. Interestingly his warmest praise, in terms of playwriting, was for a ‘closet’ play, The Mysterious Mother by Horace Walpole, written to be read because its subject matter would never have passed the censor. Whilst numerous playwrights looked to the closet play form to provide a permissible creative space, the novel allowed Scott to explore characters and situations in ways barred the playwright. His few original plays were not particularly successful. As a creator of character and dialogue, however, Scott had a greater impact on the theatre of his day than any professional playwright.

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Indeed when the patent system was finally abolished in 1843, many theatre professionals credited Scott with hastening its demise. The issue of the dialogue form in a literary context is one not to be ignored when considering Scotland’s relationship to theatre. Penny Fielding has pointed out3 early nineteenth-century Scotland’s unique combination of widespread literacy with sophisticated university-led philosophical discourse and an active oral tradition. In his chapter in this volume Michael Newton draws attention to the remarkable complementary vitality of the Gaelic oral tradition. Analysing the way writing was consciously combined with a continuing valuing of an oral tradition, Fielding concludes that ‘Scotland’s construction of a national identity [. . . was] inextricably bound up in the means of its own transmission’ (p. 19). In fact the dialogue form was widely used in literary ‘performances’. There were ballads or songs with embedded character voices and closet poems that contained conventional performance dialogue structures. The performance texts were printed to become closet pieces, while avowedly closet plays were sometimes performed. Closet dialogues/scenes also appeared in newspapers and magazines, which were unlikely to be performed but still borrowed heavily from theatrical convention. Above all, this would be an era when novels transferred their dialogue to the stage, leading inevitably to the chapbook of the play of the novel. Walter Scott treated Scotland’s history as worthy of depiction, portraying the fate of ordinary characters caught up in extraordinary events. He created a wide range of Scottish characters, particularly serious characters speaking Scots, like James VI (Fortunes of Nigel), one of his finest portraits. The most crucial factor in the impact of Scott’s contribution to the National Drama was that – before copyright legislation – plotlines, characters and dialogue were freely available, directly from the novels. Even when Edinburgh Theatre Royal, claiming exclusive rights to play the National Drama, secured an injunction against Corbet Ryder, a celebrated Rob Roy and manager, his immediate response was to play the ‘independent national melo-drama’ of Robert the Bruce, or Liberty Restored and to prepare a ‘new’ adaptation of Rob Roy. Of this, Edinburgh Dramatic Review (30 March 1825) reported the language was ‘almost verbatim from the novel’ and quite different from the licensed versions in those places ‘where the incidents require to be filled up’. The patent thus actively encouraged companies towards National Dramas customised to their situations. Scott’s Waverley Novels provided hundreds of stage adaptations, played wherever the novels were read or the Scottish diaspora settled. The sourceworks were considered to have more substance than novels generally and their adaptations brought into the theatre groups and individuals who had never ventured there before. On Scottish stages, scenery and costumes became consciously more authentic in an effort to mirror the originals and

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Scottish scene painting contributed significantly to the eventual emergence of European Naturalism.4 But government actions meant that for Scots these first National Dramas were not simply well-researched historical pieces, they helped reassert a Scottish identity. In this climate, theatre began to be regarded as a space where Scottish audiences should expect to see their history and culture depicted with some degree of truth: in 1820 Edinburgh Theatre Royal playbills apologised for a foreign playwright’s setting his piece ‘on the barren island of Staffa’. The general success of Scott adaptations in Scotland cast a mantle of respectability over the National Drama as a whole, gradually allowing some relaxation in censorship. Potentially political comment became more readily accepted. In Gilderoy (1827) Walter Logan, facing a firing squad, declares that ‘“Scotland may be the friend of England, but will never be her slave!” ’ (Act II, scene iii). By 1828 Edinburgh Theatre Royal could advertise a piece about Flora Macdonald written by her son, whilst in 1847 the Adelphi Theatre, Glasgow commissioned a new act drop depicting ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Entry into Edinburgh’. The National Drama comprised adaptations of Scott, the major older works and some additional pieces, for example, Cramond Brig and Gilderoy by W. H. Murray (1790–1852). Just as the novels were thought a cut above the usual, so national dramas were carefully differentiated from the illegitimate forms usually played by the minor theatres whose managements knew, if they told their audience a ‘new National Drama’ was in preparation, they were understood. At last, the minors had a repertoire with which to compete with patent houses and audiences soon demonstrated they preferred their uncomplicated story-telling approach. The years 1810–1900 saw the National Drama go through a process whereby pieces initially appeared in minor theatres, were picked up by patent houses, became the repertoire’s core – playing one night in three, as many as nine different pieces in a week – brought a much wider audience into the theatre, were used for important occasions such as benefits, and saw their characters and scenes decorating Scottish theatres on curtains, fixtures and fittings. Later in the century, managements used them less often, but for best effect by, for example, balancing Christmas pantomimes with summer seasons of national pieces. When programmes replaced handbills, some theatres used images of Scott or Rob Roy on the cover, according the National Drama equal status with Comedy, Tragedy, Opera and Farce ‘all the year round’. Mid-century onwards saw a growing split in treatments. The major theatres, aspiring to the ‘legitimate’ stage (socalled decades after the abolition of the patent itself), increasingly wanted to produce National Dramas in runs and long tours of elaborate new versions. The popular theatre retained a more fluid use of the materials: accounts of Scottish Fairs regularly mention the tented ‘geggies’ where the old plays survived.

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Scholars may have under-estimated music’s importance on the nineteenth-century Scottish stage because of the over-arching nineteenthcentury issue of Melodrama. For National Drama what mattered was not any musical accompaniment to the acting, but the range of choruses, national medley overtures and, above all, Scots song. The ‘singing roles’ of the National Drama, like Francis Osbaldistone from ‘Rob Roy’, attracted celebrated guest vocalists and critical acclaim for simple renditions of traditional music, appropriate to the characters. Gradually, the overtures expanded from their original pieces to accompany other national dramas, whilst full-length works might be ‘compressed’ with the loss of only one song. As late as 1896 Cramond Brig was turned into ‘A New Scottish Opera’ entitled ‘Holyrood’ for the Royal Princess’s Theatre, Glasgow. The Era (10 October 1896) complained that Murray’s play had been plundered wholesale, the composer’s music had ‘no claim to be considered Scotch’ and the orchestrations detracted ‘from the simplicity of the melody’. Viewed in its entirety, the engagement of nineteenth-century Scottish audiences with dramas about their lives and themselves was active, complex and widespread; there has never been a time, before or since, when so many Scots enjoyed live performances of the same pieces. The shared playfulness of the artists’ and audiences’ approaches to form and theatrical convention can be seen clearly in the careers of two favourite characters, Bailie Nicol Jarvie from Rob Roy and Meg Dods from St Ronan’s Well, and the genesis of a Montrose play, ‘John O’ Arnha’’ adapted from George Beattie’s poem of the same name. Plays taken from Rob Roy became so important to the industry that the saying arose ‘When in doubt, play “Rob Roy”.’ It was a production of Pocock’s ‘Rob Roy’ that saved the Edinburgh Theatre Royal from bankruptcy in 1819, it appeared regularly thereafter and in 1892 The Quiz declared that it retained ‘its ancient popularity with almost unabated vigour’ (8 December 1892). Rob Roy plays were done everywhere. The first productions seen in Scotland were by travelling companies. These ranged from modest family groups tramping between rural engagements, performing in barns and rooms in inns, where Francis Osbaldistone was often played by a woman for lack of a ballad tenor, to Corbet Ryder’s company of forty, working a circuit of northern patent houses, including Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth and Inverness, and various minor theatres. ‘Rob Roy’ was regularly used, as late as the 1890s, as the first production of a theatre under new management, when the newcomers would demonstrate their fitness for the job by producing ‘the’ play of the nineteenthcentury Scottish theatre. Most nineteenth-century accounts of the Scottish stage include a list of the author’s favourite Rob Roys. For much of the period, however, one of the principal draws for ‘Rob Roy’ throughout Scotland was the character of Bailie Nicol Jarvie, the Glasgow merchant who becomes

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Francis’ doughty travelling companion, and his guide to the Highlands. The Bailie of the novel is the voice of reasonable modernity, who tries to persuade his kinsman, Rob, to give up his outmoded way of life and take up the yoke of respectable trade. In the play, the character is a pivotal comedic role, his good sense and kind heart a focus of the audience’s enjoyment. The Bailie’s varied career shows him a precursor to the Scottish characters that would become a feature of the variety stage, acquiring a life beyond the world of the play. The most celebrated was Charles Mackay (1787–1857), the ‘real’ Mackay, often thought to be so called for his natural acting style, who first played the part for Corbet Ryder, but found his way to the Edinburgh Theatre Royal under Murray, remaining with that company for many years. In 1819 Mackay began to perform, as a separate turn, a song ‘written by a gentleman of Edinburgh’ entitled ‘Bailie Nicol Jarvie’s Journey to Aberfoil’.5 In 1822, taking the Bailie out of both novel and stage, an acquisitive journalist for the Tory Glasgow Sentinel published dialogue scenes, entitled ‘Lanarkshire Chit-Chat’, featuring caustic portraits of local politicians, and employing the Bailie as a figure of moderate good sense, pointing out the supposed corruption of the Whigs.6 In May 1831 Mackay played a ‘Glasgow Baillie [sic] (in the Upper Boxes)’7 added to the regular cast of the Interlude of The Manager in Distress, whilst in August 1831 in Ord’s Royal Amphitheatre ‘front of the Green, Glasgow’ the equestrian actor, Mr Ord, appeared ‘in his New Character of Bailie Nicol Jarvie, on Horseback!’8 Latterly Mackay toured Scotland continually, performing week-long seasons of his bestknown National Drama roles, including Richie Moniplies (Fortunes of Nigel), Peter Peebles (Redgauntlet), Caleb Balderstone (Bride of Lammermoor), Dumbiedykes (Heart of Mid-Lothian), Meg Dods (St Ronan’s Well) and Sandy Macfarlane, who was added to Murray’s adaptation of The Abbot, ‘Mary, Queen of Scots’, because the novel contained no part for him. All the while, Mackay was performing in ‘Rob Roy’, said in February 1852 to be playing the Bailie for the 1,134th time. Audiences came to know the work so well it could be ‘compressed into 2 acts retaining all of the Bailie’s scenes’.9 Meg Dods also outgrew her original setting. In 1824 Walter Scott wrote his single best piece for the stage, an Epilogue to ‘St Ronan’s Well’ for Mackay to deliver, in character, as the formidable landlady of the Cleikum Inn. Scott plays with stage conventions and audience expectations, allowing Meg to tease the house with their knowledge of the actor and the actor’s other roles, ending with the trump card that if she meets with any incivility she’ll ‘tell the Bailie’. When Meg says that she is ‘in the public line’ Scott combines in one neat phrase, her profession, her recent history as a character upon the stage and the audience’s knowledge of the actor playing her.10

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Plays from St Ronan’s Well were not often revived, but Meg was a role Mackay performed regularly thereafter in an Interlude entitled ‘The Cleikum Inn’, receiving plaudits for the realism of his acting style; and in Meg we see, arguably, one of the origins of the Scottish pantomime dame. The ability of audiences to appreciate works so cut down applied to Shakespeare and to the National Drama. It was not unusual for a main piece, after its initial run, to be ‘compressed’ into a supporting piece. Plays from the National Drama, however, could rely on a familiarity that allowed managements to play Act I and Act III, or begin at Act II. Critics might complain that they would be booed off ‘were it not from their causing a running commentary to fill the mind as we witness them’ (Glasgow Dramatic Review, 1844, p. 26), but popular audiences clearly enjoyed those favourite scenes and could readily place them within a shared knowledge of the whole. Audiences became familiar with individual characters and pieces emerging from Scottish history and legend’s common fund. The playbills, however, are also littered with instances of dramas apparently introduced only to disappear, never to be seen again. They were not published and licences were not sought for them so that they appear as brief glimpses of the theatre’s working life. Many might have failed in performance; however, evidence from those instances of texts that survive suggests that some dramas ‘written’ with and for nineteenth-century Scottish audiences were tailored specifically to their usage in ways that effectively limited their repetition elsewhere. The first and most obvious examples were works in which language did not travel beyond a particular audience group. The soldier, actor and playwright, Archibald Maclaren (1755–1826), discussed in Ian Brown’s chapter, is beginning to receive critical attention for his writing’s range and topicality.11 Working for small travelling companies and minor theatres, Maclaren wrote on and around topics and events as varied as the slave trade, George IV’s visit to Edinburgh, the United Irishmen and amateur theatricals, close to 100 pieces. His plays are rare examples of the mass of unlicensed works written for the minor theatres. Amongst them he wrote at least two, The Humours of Greenock Fair (1788) and The Highland Drover (1790), discussed by Brown, which seamlessly mixed Gaelic with English, in the case of the second in a way that only bilingual audiences could have fully appreciated. A second group comprised those instances where there was an overt and immediate communal ownership of the localised source material as in the case of ‘John O’ Arnha’’. In 1815 George Beattie (1786–1823), a Montrose lawyer, had a short poem ‘John O’ Arnha’’ published in the Montrose Review. The hero of Beattie’s poem was his contemporary, John Finlay, a Montrose Burgh officer celebrated for his ‘tall tales’. Beattie had long been an admirer of Burns and when that poem attracted considerable praise, he expanded it, almost quadrupling its length, for publication as a response to Tam O’Shanter.

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Written in Doric Scots, John O’ Arnha’, tells of John’s encounter with supernatural beings on the way home from the fair after a day’s drinking and fighting with another local worthy John Fraser, called ‘Horner’. The longer version is notable on two counts. Firstly, it is genuinely funny, employing both horror and dextrous use of the language. Beattie enjoys subverting poetic conventions with dramatic devices. He breaks off a description of John’s fight with Horner to insert a sonnet on a bonnet, as he says in a footnote ‘at the end of an act’ in order to enable one of his characters to get his breath back. He also lampoons Macbeth with a witches cauldron scene, written in dialogue form, combining literary jokes with cookery advice. Secondly, it was published with hand-coloured plates. These would go on to provide the basis for some of the visual impact of the stage version. When Charles Bass, an experienced actor/manager and an able adapter of Scott novels, arrived as lessee of the Theatre Royal, Montrose in April 1826 he looked around for some local material to adapt as a draw. Beattie had died in 1823, but John Finlay was alive as were several others mentioned in the original poem. Bass collaborated on the adaptation with James Bowick, poet, author of Montrose Characters and editor of the Montrose Review, reshaping the narrative and recasting some of Beattie’s political views. Local scenery, including the central scene of the High Street on the day of the Rood Fair, was prepared and rehearsals went ahead for an opening on 19 June.12 In this particular adaptation, audience and professionals demonstrate a sophisticated approach to theatrical conventions applied to the uncanny elements of the plot. An enduring characteristic of Scottish drama has been the use of fantasy, the uncanny and the weird. Scottish writers of the period seemed, initially, drawn towards closet Gothic dramas either because they could thereby avoid stage censorship’s dead hand or because the reader’s imagination could outstrip the range of stage machinery then available. Scott, Galt, Hogg and Baillie all wrote dramas, as did the ‘peasant poet’ and playwright, William Harriston, which contained ghosts and apparitions. It is, however, interesting to note that they were often fake ghosts or, as in Baillie’s Witchcraft, the imaginings of deluded characters, reflecting the Romantic Era’s widespread interest in psychopathology. In ‘John O’ Arnha’’ Bass combines spectacle with a metadialogue about the theatrical fantastic conducted with the audience. Tam O’ Shanter adaptations usually follow the scenario of Burns’s poem; Bass’ play, however, places Beattie’s narrative within a framing context, adding another layer of performed reality. In the poem, John meets the demons from his tales, is tortured by them and only saved by the coming of daybreak. In the play Horner, after his defeat at John’s hands, recruits the townsfolk whose market-day the brawl has disrupted, to dress up as the demons John claims to have slain, in order to waylay him on his journey home and catch him out in his bragging. Expectations of reality become negotiable.

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The actors, in the characters of the townsfolk, approach the ‘players’ for help in playing supernatural characters. They shape their ‘revenge’ in theatrical terms, solicit a loan of costumes from Macbeth, beg the help of the stage carpenter and mention the need for a storm ‘effect’ to support the impact of the fake witches. HORNER

ROB MCINTOSH

The Manager, as sure as death, Will lend what they use in Macbeth; The cauldron and the witches’ dresses, Wi’ a’ their ragged claes and’ tresses; [. . .] But where can we raise up the thunder To fill the carl wi’ fear and wonder? A witch’s auld and ugly form Is naething, man, without a storm. (Act I, scene 3)

The script expects audience members to read supernatural stage effects as stage effects because of their use here within an acknowledged piece of trickery – indeed there is overt acknowledgement of their limitations in complaints about the stage thunder, which drowns out the actors’ voices. Bass has solved the problem of staging Gothic horrors by acknowledging the revealed mechanisms, but the involvement of the community within the production and the way conventions such as the use of the stage-traps, through which the townspeople/demons pass without any basis in ‘reality’ beyond ‘John’s’ experience, are inserted into the action is evidence of the ease with which audiences read forms and stage practices. There is an almost seamless connection between the community and the drama. The finished production emerges directly out of the community’s lived experience. The scenery shows locations literally around the theatre, the characters include individuals sitting in the audience, and some local characters who appear in the poem play themselves in the crowd scenes. Finally, John Finlay was persuaded to lend his clothes for Bass to wear as his created persona, John O’Arnha’. The final scene and epilogue are ambiguous. The play ends with the usual appeal to the audience but it is for John O’Arnha’ as an individual and as a stage character, rather than for the company, that goodwill appears to be sought. The sanctioned fantasists, the players, are exorcising the troublesome spirit of the community’s relationship with John Finlay himself. The production was very successful, and Bass included it in seasons at the Theatre Royal, Dundee (1826) and at the Caledonian Theatre, Edinburgh (1829). The source of its success was widely recognised in ‘the localisation of the characters’ (Dundee Courier, 2 October 1885). There was, however, a distinct difference between work emerging out of a community’s shared cultural fund and work localising a conventional

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melodrama with superficial local trappings. In 1869, A. D. McNeill brought his piece ‘The Gloamin’ and the Mirk – a Tale of Juteopolis’, described by the Dundee Courier (14 September 1869) as a drama ‘of the steam engine class’ to the Theatre Royal, Dundee. In this the hero/heroine narrowly avoids death on the tracks, north from Edinburgh, ‘localised’ with scenery and place names. In 1886, his son took the same piece to Her Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen where the critic significantly thought it ‘local, too much local, and yet not local’ (Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 1 June 1886). Both productions, however, were popular with the gallery. Towards the century’s close Scottish drama, in terms of original playwriting, faced several obstacles. Firstly, the ‘industry’ had become industrial: chains of receiving houses, taking pieces already tried and tested, usually in London, had replaced most of the theatres with local managers and companies. While the spread of railways made touring an easier proposition for London companies, perhaps only The Quiz critic reviewing Glasgow’s theatres in 1893 could be enthusiastic over five productions of Hamlet in one season. Further, several influential Scots who sought to advance the drama in general had moved south. There William Sharp, author, playwright and activist; William Archer, critic, translator and pioneering champion of Ibsen; and the writer, J. M. Barrie, were exercised by new ideas and challenging texts coming from the Continent and from Ireland. The late nineteenth-century Celtic ‘renascence’, led in Scotland by figures such as Patrick Geddes, found a notable voice in the writings of Fiona Macleod. Her explorations of Celtic legend, heavily imbued with ritual and symbolism, were hugely popular. W. B. Yeats wrote to her, requesting an adaptation of Macleod’s short story ‘The Last Supper’ for the Irish Literary Theatre. Macleod was a controversial figure; the subject of intense press speculation over several years because ‘she’ was the secret alter-ego of the writer William Sharp (1855–1905), described by The Glasgow Herald (4 February 1899) as possibly ‘the first male writer of books to assume a feminine pseudonym’. At the beginning of the century, the pragmatic Archibald Maclaren had nodded towards the craze for Ossian with Celtic overtones to ‘Kenneth, King of Scots; or, the Female Archers’ (1807). Sharp, however, was both influenced by Belgian Symbolism and committed to a personal exploration of the mystical as a member, alongside Yeats, of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Plays filled with ritual and symbolic imagery but largely offstage action resulted. Like Joanna Baillie, Sharp planned a series of plays, The Nature of the Soul, as an exploration through ‘psychic drama’ of the human psyche. At the time of his death, Sharp had written two parts: The House of Usna and The Immortal Hour. The Preface to the latter declares that ‘what seems new may be the old become transparent only’. While Sharp experimented with Symbolism and Archer wrestled with a

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first British production of Ibsen’s Ghosts, the major Scottish theatres aimed to produce the National Drama’s principal works with the ‘completeness’ applied elsewhere to Shakespeare. The Era (5 June 1886) thought Edinburgh playgoers ‘singularly fortunate in seeing adequate representations of some of the best of our national dramas at least once a year [. . .]’. By this they meant productions of such as The Lady of the Lake, Rob Roy and Guy Mannering, suited to lavish staging. Little was new. Significantly, the gradual introduction of copyright from the 1840s onwards meant that, where once theatres could suit themselves and their audiences, the reworking of familiar material from other genres was now restricted to sanctioned adaptations. The touring process further narrowed the number of new pieces. Then, the early death of Scottish journalist and playwright Andrew Halliday (1830–1877), an able adapter of Scott and Dickens, robbed the stage of an emerging voice. Those Scottish authors adapting their own work for the stage found expectations were high. R. L. Stevenson’s ‘Deacon Brodie’ (1884) was universally damned. While J. M. Barrie’s original comedy Walker, London (1892) was thought ‘fresh and novel’, his adaptation, ‘The Little Minister’ (1897), a smash hit on both sides of the Atlantic, was considered a failure at home in Scotland, largely because fitting it for the American stage had entailed diluting the action’s cultural background. Moreover, towards the end of the nineteenth century, the issue of Scottish identity was now bound up with the evolving political system and the part played by Scots in the British Empire. While major theatres acknowledged the National Drama’s symbolic importance, a more contemporary approach to social commentary became the province of the variety stage and other popular forms, such as pantomime. Pantomime was evolving into something that would be largely recognisable today. The usual smattering of local comment included in any script was, however, given additional weight by actor and playwright, William Lowe, who crafted pieces for working-class theatres and music halls across Scotland. In 1865 Lowe’s pantomime for the Theatre Royal, Paisley, was ‘Watty and Meg!’ from the eponymous poem by Alexander Wilson. The immortals opening the piece, Fernlove and Caledonia, discuss recent events with an eye to the concerns of a Paisley audience. FERNLOVE CALEDONIA

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Other lands as well as ours Have had their warring, sorrowing hours. You mean our transatlantic friends. Heaven has its strange and certain ends; [. . .] Let’s trust the blessings now of peace, Will let our peaceful arts increase; May all our mills be crammed with cotton, Distress in plenty be forgotten,

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May every hand that trade engages, Meet with an advance of wages.

The variety and concert-hall stages allowed performers the space to offer commentary on the realities of Scots lives in a way ‘legitimate’ stages would not. Actor and comedian, W. F. Frame, a performer who moved easily between stage and concert platform and an active worker for charity, wrote a bleak piece in the guise of a poor man at Christmas.13 In oor hotel the moochers sit, An’ silent curse their case, There’s hunger aboot in plenty, Starvation on every face. An’ the preacher at the corner Prates about peace and love, Where angels flee on wings o’ gold, In the beautiful hame above; Where the wicked cease from troublin’, Where nae discomfort’s near; But what aboot the beautiful love In oor beautiful hame doon here. Death is the foe the rich man fears, The grimest [sic] foe he’s got; Death is the frien’ the poor man has, The one frien’ o’ the lot.

In 1887 the critic in The Chiel commented (3 September 1887, p. 14) that as was ‘usual in all tastes theatrical’ the growing demand for a blend of drama and variety had ‘come upward from the masses’. It was clear, he felt, that ‘[t]he music-hall is always taking something from the theatre, and the theatre from the music-hall’. The National Drama had fostered and maintained performance techniques and audience tastes: the use of music, love of storytelling, relish for the fantastic, the porous fourth wall, actors and characters moving easily between settings. At its best, it provided an exploration of what being Scottish meant, not through one company or single National Theatre, but as a shared repertoire, played across the country in theatres and performance-spaces large and small. Its variety underpinned Scottish drama’s diversity as it entered the twentieth century.

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CHAP T E R F IVE

Twentieth-Century Popular Theatre Paul Maloney

Early 1900s music hall in Scotland was a rich vernacular popular theatre. Within its cosmopolitan format, home-grown stars performed songs, sketches and patter reflecting contemporary life and culture and by the 1930s, in the form of the Scottish variety theatre, vernacular comedy projected a view of Scottish life embodying urban working-class values and lifestyles. Following (and perhaps despite) Harry Lauder’s international success, a golden generation of Scottish performers – from Tommy Lorne, Dave Willis and Will Fyffe to Harry Gordon, Tommy Morgan and Alec Finlay – were employed yearround almost exclusively within Scotland’s domestic entertainment market in a continuous cycle of variety, summer season and pantomime. Comic sketches and patter dealt with everyday scenes of urban living – the ‘buroo’ (the unemployment exchange), the steamie (public wash-house), football rivalries and a raft of routines involving trams, subways and buses – in ways simultaneously celebrating and mythologising working-class society. The variety formula had several strands. One key element was the use of vernacular speech, and performers’ and audiences’ delight in dialect and linguistic wordplay, particularly in respect of Glasgow humour. A second strand involved older cultural traditions – Scottish songs, Highland music and dancing and tartanry – repertoire and iconography that, although analogous to kailyard, was often, in this context, transformed into confident assertion of national identity, as much to do with urban present as rural past. The synthesis of these elements proved extremely successful. The variety shows of the 1940s and 1950s, combining traditional music and Highland dancing with fast-paced urban humour, celebrated both contributions to modern Scottish identity. In Wha’s Like Us? (1951) at the Glasgow Metropole, ‘the accent [was] on tartan and songs of Scotland’, with comic Pete Martin ‘fill[ing] his Highland dress amply [. . .] with his own brand of Glasgow humour’, in a sketch which saw him ‘having fun at the waxworks with Prince Charlie and Rob Roy’; double act Grace Clark and Colin Murray ‘argue amusingly at a bus stop’, while ‘the Cycling Astons raise a miniature Hampden roar with their Rangers v. Celtic match on wheels’. And ‘topping everything off’,

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alongside the Caledonian Ladies’ Pipe Band, was ‘the “Falls o’ Ben Lomond” finale, with thousands of gallons of water rushing down through a setting of Highland scenery’.1 The more absurdist kitsch elements can also be taken to show a cultural confidence perfectly comfortable burlesquing nationalist themes and imagery. Contiguous with Scottish variety’s highpoint was a distinctive musichall/pantomime tradition developing from pre-World War One. Arising from the need to streamline pantomime formats to allow twice-nightly performances, this tradition simplified the narrative and restricted scenic spectacle in favour of variety’s strong suits, broader comedy and entertainment values. As variety provided the bulk of Scotland’s pantomime stars, this robust format consolidated its influence and, when in the late 1950s variety waned, pantomime emerged as its clear successor genre. Long pantomime seasons in relation to diminishing variety and summer season engagements reinforced the impression they now offered the most important showcases for leading stars like Rikki Fulton, Stanley Baxter, Jimmy Logan and Duncan Macrae. Since the 1970s music hall, perhaps benefiting from retrospective glow, has been identified as increasingly significant and formative in Scottish theatre culture. This is due partly to new critical interest in recovering the indigenous dramatic canon, largely marginalised after the nineteenth century, and partly to perceptions of Scottish theatre’s development as characteristically popular in terms of audiences, performing techniques and styles of address. Femi Folorunso argues music hall’s part in a distinctively Scottish theatrical lineage: ‘the music hall occupied the middle space in a direct line from seventeenth-century popular entertainment to contemporary drama in Scotland’, constituting ‘a repository of what may be described as the Scottish tradition’.2 Another aspect of music hall’s appeal lies in its perceived social authenticity: Michael Coveney has termed Glaswegian music hall ‘one of the greatest undocumented cultural phenomena of these islands.’3 Underlying this is a notion of ‘people’s theatre’: after visiting Glasgow’s Britannia music hall, Andrew O’Hagan wrote: When I began learning about the kinds of shows and the kinds of audiences that came to the Britannia, I understood that something strangely democratic had occurred there, and that large investments of common feeling must constitute a sort of political power.4

Yet music hall was a commercial entertainment, rather than naturally evolved theatre genre. From its 1850s emergence managers controlled music hall, dictating its format, public relations strategies and ticket pricing structures. The 1890s rebranding as variety was similarly commercially

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instigated, reassuring middle classes of its propriety, while passing control from individual managers to new investor syndicates, whose approach to engaging top performers on exclusive contracts arose from the need to secure their considerable capital investments in new venues. But, though managers controlled the format, the participatory, interactive nature of the performance meant that the audience, in the form of the gallery, was king. Entertainment often drew extensively on older amusements and folk traditions, offering strong elements of continuity with pre-industrial entertainment traditions. Performances were local and regional in emphasis. Above all, in its songs and sketches and the relationship between audience and favourite ‘stars’, music hall was regarded as a people’s format, in a sense that gave ownership to its working-class constituency. From the 1930s a number of political theatre groups seeking to engage in a dialogue with Scottish audiences were heavily influenced by the Scottish variety theatre. Some groups sought to address variety theatre’s predominantly working-class audiences by playing its network of venues. In other cases popular dramatists adopted music hall’s performing techniques, in particular its use of audience participation, and integral use of music, comedy and direct address, as a way of making political theatre that was also entertaining. Yet, while music hall’s methods were admired, groups sometimes had problems with aspects of its social conservatism. This chapter examines the influence of music hall and variety theatre on the work of three Scottish theatre companies – Glasgow Unity, 7:84 (Scotland) and Wildcat – to explore the extent to which they might represent a defining characteristic of Scottish theatre as popular and vernacular. Glasgow Unity Theatre took its name from the Unity Theatre movement in England. Formed in 1940, it combined in wartime five amateur groups: the Glasgow Workers’ Theatre Group, the Clarion Players, the Jewish Institute Players, the Glasgow Players (itself formed from the Scottish Labour College Players) and the Glasgow Transport Players.5 While these groups, which shared broadly socialist or left-leaning political perspectives, brought a range of different stylistic approaches, Unity became associated with a style of social realism that aimed to depict ‘real life’. The new organisation continued on an amateur basis throughout the war, before establishing a professional company in 1945, under Robert Mitchell’s direction, though retaining a parallel amateur company. Unity’s magazine expressed the heart of the company’s approach: [Unity] has always been a hundred percent people’s theatre [. . .] It is also by policy a native theatre, deliberately rejecting the accent of the London West End Stage and reaching for an independent technique which, far from trying to root out and replace the local speech and characters of its artists, seeks to

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present them on the stage as effectively as possible, and in so doing evolves a distinct, truly Scottish medium.6

Unity’s mission to discover new Scottish plays and writers, and through them a distinct Scottish voice, had several aspects. Firstly, the work of Sean O’Casey, whose The Plough and Stars received a Unity production, provided inspiration that ‘A Scots theatre will grow to maturity, and a Scots O’Casey will write great plays for it, [. . .] fusing a faith in the Scottish idiom with a faith in the Scottish common people.’7 The development of a true people’s theatre, closely linked to the establishment of a vernacular style of performance, did not preclude commitment to an international repertoire. One of Unity’s first experiments in Scots vernacular performance was Mitchell’s adaptation of Maxim Gorki’s The Lower Depths, played at the Athenaeum Theatre in Glasgow in April 1945, and revived with great success for the first Edinburgh International Festival ‘Fringe’ in 1947.8 Unity’s predecessor groups had produced work in such experimental and non-naturalistic styles as ‘living newspapers’, masques, pageants, mass declamations and documentary forms, with music and dance featuring prominently. But while Unity continued to work in various styles, including concert parties and political revues, its post-war success depended on the use of vernacular speech and subjects depicting real life, most notably in work by Ena Lamont Stewart, Robert McLeish, George Munro and Benedick Scott. The most representative examples of Unity’s style of social realism were The Gorbals Story by Robert McLeish, by far the company’s biggest commercial success, and Ena Lamont Stewart’s Men Should Weep, critically the most highly regarded of its plays. The Gorbals Story began life as a short play before being produced in expanded form at the Little Theatre in the Pleasance in Edinburgh in August 1946, and then at the Queen’s Theatre, a working-class variety theatre in Glasgow, from September. An immediate success, it went on to tour throughout Scotland, before opening the first of several London seasons at the Garrick in February 1948. It received over 600 performances between 1946 and 1949, became a film, and was still in Unity’s repertoire when the company closed in 1951. Set in a crowded eight-apartment lodging house in the Gorbals district of Glasgow, it followed the occupants’ lives and concerns, representing a cross section of urban working-class society: Hector, a baker, originally from the Highlands; Peggie, a young woman without regular work, and her friend Magdalene, a cinema cleaner; Jean and Wullie Mutrie, an older couple, once with a house of their own but now, like the others, living in a Gorbals room; Ahmed, an Indian peddler, a visitor to the house; Peter Reilly, an Irish labourer and his wife and daughter, Nora; and Johnnie Martin, a newsboy dreaming of one day being a newspaper cartoonist.

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The play addresses an immediate political issue: Glasgow’s chronic postwar housing shortage and its destructive impact on lives. (The opening night performance at the Queen’s Theatre was preceded by a local squatters’ spokesman’s impassioned speech from the stage to an audience including the lord provost and other dignitaries.) But its wider themes concerned the social injustice of economic conditions; post-war disillusionment (‘A’ this talk about a new world an’ people canna get a place tae sleep’ (p. 30));9 the effects of racism and sectarianism pervading Scottish society; and grinding poverty’s destructive and undignified effects (Peggie says, ‘Poor people having weans is the saddest thing in the world’ (p. 30)). When Hector, the baker from the Highlands, complains Scotland’s huge land resources, which could feed its hungry city workers, are instead exploited by businessmen, he invokes an underlying sense of historic injustice, collective memories of people’s past uprooting from the land. But while others long for open space and fresh air, Peggie’s detachment from the countryside (‘Ach, Scotland doesna mean much tae Glesca folk, Hector – yon pictures they print on boxes o’ shortbread – big blue hills and coos that need a haircut’ (p. 5)) serves to emphasise the urban/rural divide, the sense of dislocation and alienation felt by many city folk. Ena Lamont Stewart’s Man Should Weep (1947) addresses similar themes, but more sharply and in a more urgent scenario. Set in a flat in Glasgow’s East End, it follows Maggie Morrison and her family – sometime teetotal husband John, Granny and children Alex, Jenny, Edie, Ernest, Marina, Christopher and Bertie – in their struggle against poverty and malnutrition. The Gorbals Story is about space; the overriding concern here is the constant, gnawing hunger stalking the characters’ waking hours, from children longing for a ‘bit breid and jeely’, to adults unable to resist breaking into a gifted can of baked beans. Events centre on Maggie, striving to care for both her younger son Bertie, soon hospitalised with TB, and the older teenage siblings – weakwilled Alex, whose infatuation with the capricious Isa ends in disaster, and daughter Jenny, who leaves home and subsequently falls into destitution. Both plays explore the destructive effect poverty has on relations between men and women, and particularly the demoralising impact of unemployment on men, when male roles are largely socially defined by their breadwinning status. Men are portrayed as weak and prone to alcoholism, gambling and moral temptation. More resolute and resourceful, women are left to shoulder the burden of family life while taking the role of economic provider. In The Gorbals Story, the loveable but largely indolent Willie Mutrie, more often on the Panel (unemployment benefit) than off it, is indulged almost to infantilism by his doting wife Jean, who darns his socks, brings him tea in bed and dispenses the odd shilling for the pub. Wullie is not bad – the couple’s affectionate relationship clearly works on its own terms – but his inability to

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secure a job has resolved into a creeping loss of dignity evident in his continual sponging (Johnnie asks at one point, ‘Wullie, do you never get tired tappin?’ (p. 12)). The sense of hopelessness reaches its apogee when, at the play’s close, Wullie wins the football pools but has not posted his coupon, having spent the money on a fish supper for Jean. The dignity with which the company, led by Jean, accept what has happened and move on, reflects the compassion and humanity characterising McLeish’s community view. In The Gorbals Story criticism of male roles is implicit, softened by Willie’s relationship with the long-suffering Jean, and devices like a drunk scene – straight out of a music-hall sketch – where Wullie, arriving home from the pub with Hector, sings ‘The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond’, normalising male behaviour through the domestic tropes of music-hall entertainment. Men Should Weep presents male shortcomings in sharper relief, particularly as articulated by Lily, Maggie’s spinster sister, who bears outspoken witness to the men’s failure to support Maggie. Both plays are shot through with music-hall patter rhythms. In The Gorbals Story, which begins with ‘I Belong to Glasgow’ playing ironically, the suggestion of a dance-hall trip provokes Johnnie to re-enact his chat-up lines, redolent of numerous sketches about ‘the jiggin’. But while the humour reflects wartime stoicism, determination to smile through and put a brave face on adversity, its celebration of working-class Glasgow sometimes threatens to distract from social criticism. Later Unity revivals were accused of overplaying the comic surface. Lamont Stewart’s use of a bantering style familiar from sketch-based comedy has a sharper, blacker edge. This allows terser exchanges which, ironically, have the feel of genuine punch-lines (‘Hev ye nae elastic in yer breeks?’; ‘I’ve nae breeks’); but it also sees home truths dispensed with a bluntness reflecting her drama’s higher pitch. Lily, berating Maggie for her disastrous cycle of pregnancies, remarks, ‘It’s jist as weel hauf yer weans didnae live’ (pp. 61, 65). While such directness eschews the sentimentality threatening to cloud The Gorbals Story, it allows discussion and confrontation of uncomfortable subjects, like the domestic abuse experienced by Mrs Bone, the upstairs neighbour constantly knocked about by her husband. Counterpointing men’s failure are women’s roles and the heavy price they pay for living in poverty, not only in physical health – issues range from domestic abuse to death from childbirth complications, as befalls Maggie – but in social and economic status. In The Gorbals Story, Peggie, at thirty-something, unmarried and ‘on the shelf’, is considered by other women economically compromised without a man to provide for her, and therefore morally vulnerable. Her friend Magdalene’s relief at becoming engaged to Ahmed, the Indian peddler, reflects the economic security the marriage will provide. (Casual prostitution is never far from the speculations attached to young single women like Peggie and Kate McShane in Benedick

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Scott’s The Lambs of God (1948).) The fact Johnnie spends the night with Peggie at the end of Act III no doubt reinforced in audiences of the time the sense her actions were in some way a measure of desperation. In Men Should Weep, the moral threat becomes real when Maggie’s teenage daughter Jenny leaves home, taking up with a man who subsequently abandons her. Her disappearance is literal and metaphorical, as allusions to sightings of her by other women in the close imply that she has become a streetwalker. Yet her eventual reappearance – exhausted and starved – is the cue for another important theme, the forgiveness and compassion both authors see marking such working-class community living, when, on Lily’s realising how ill Jenny is, all past transgressions are forgotten (‘Bygones is bygones in this hoose’ (p. 116)). Reflecting this humanity, both plays’ wider message is that poverty’s economic circumstances destroy relationships: as Isa remarks of the idea of love, ‘There’s nae sich a thing. There’s wantin tae sleep wi someone, or wantin someone tae pay for your clothes and feed ye, but there’s nae love. No in this pairt o’ the toon’ (p. 93). As Maggie expresses it, ‘Ye cannae be gentle and loving and kind when ye’re worried oot o’ yer wits for yer rent and yer food and yer claes, year in year out’ (p. 111). As originally performed, Men Should Weep had an unrelentingly bleak conclusion: John falls off the wagon; Granny is sent to the poorhouse; Alex kills Isa; Bertie succumbs to TB; Maggie herself, having been warned of the fatal dangers of another pregnancy, dies in childbirth. However the revised version,10 performed by 7:84 (Scotland) in 1982, features a more positive ending, allowing Maggie to survive. In an act of assertiveness reflecting more recent gender politics, she confronts John over his refusal of Jenny’s offer of money towards the cost of moving to better accommodation – which he derisively calls ‘whore’s winnings’. She denounces his hypocrisy, challenging him over the extent to which his own insistent sexual demands have contributed to their economic plight. Having shamed him before Lily and his own daughter, she dismissively concludes, ‘Dinna fret yersel, Jenny, I can manage him . . . I can aye manage him’ (1982 version, p. 96). Unity’s repertoire, political and social objectives, and democratic working methods all offered a model and inspiration to later generations of Scottish theatre-makers. Its development of a social realist style, where vernacular speech was an essential part of the convincing depiction of working people’s experience of life, built on the work of the Fife miner playwright Joe Corrie in the 1920s, marking a milestone in Scottish theatre. Use of vernacular speech lent veracity to Unity playwrights’ depiction of conditions and narratives, confirming that – as Lamont Stewart intended – events reflected real life as experienced by real people. It also allowed, by tapping into Scottish music hall’s common legacy with its associations of fellow feeling and social coherence, the broaching of socially difficult subjects.

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7:84 Theatre Company (Scotland) was established in 1973 by John McGrath and a small group of colleagues from the English 7:84, which he had founded in 1971.11 The link between Unity dramatists and 7:84’s work, which was stylistically quite different, lay in perceptions of a working-class drama tradition within which both were situated. The revival of interest in Unity that resulted from 7:84’s Clydebuilt season therefore served an important political function for the later company’s sense of direction and purpose. Unity, however, was essentially urban and focused its activities in Scotland’s towns and cities. Its socialist successor concentrated on work aimed at quite different scales and types of activity. It drew in the process on different precedents in earlier popular theatre and entertainment traditions. Its opening production, The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil, was about the Highlands from the Clearances to the present day and designed specifically to engage contemporary audiences with the history and its legacy. McGrath intended to develop a new, vibrant popular theatre addressing working-class audiences in their own language. Seeking to define ‘conventions of entertainment and theatre-making that were working class rather than middle class’, McGrath included directness, community, music, emotion, variety, effect, immediacy and localism, features containing ‘within them the seeds of a revitalised, new kind of theatre, capable of expressing the complexity and richness of working class life today’.12 Part of this process involved rediscovering working-class entertainment traditions and practices that had often been overlooked or ignored. While McGrath regarded popular forms like music hall and pantomime as central influences, he had no illusions about working-class entertainment culture’s pitfalls. His A Good Night Out observes that a typical working men’s club evening in Chorlton-cum-Hardy – strippers, wrestling and misogyny – bears all the marks of the suffering of the urban industrial working class of the North of England – the brutality, the violence, the drunkenness, the sexism, the authoritarianism that have been part of its life since the Industrial Revolution.13

Yet McGrath is also open to the freedom of variety form per se, and the sophisticated extent to which working-class audiences distinguish ephemeral material from narrative content. His Scottish initiative followed The Great Northern Welly Boot Show, an example of effective political musical theatre whose writing was led by Tom Buchan with lyrics by Billy Connolly and musical direction by Tom McGrath. First produced at the Clyde Fair International in Glasgow in 1972, it was written in support of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders work-in. Its story transposed real-life events to a fictional Wellington boot factory under threat and combined direct address with

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songs and a politically-engaged narrative in a style that clearly influenced McGrath, who recruited three members of its cast – Alex Norton, John Bett and Bill Paterson – for his new company. Building on this and his experience of writing popular music theatre pieces for the Liverpool Everyman, where the amalgam of music, comedy, song and local audience engagement had encouraging results,14 McGrath and his multi-talented team of eight actor-musicians produced a fast-paced drama structured around the indigenous entertainment form, the ceilidh. McGrath later wrote, ‘I wanted to keep this form – an assembly of songs, stories, scenes, talk, music and general entertainment – and to tell through it the story of what had happened and is now happening to the people.’15 The politicocultural subject, interactive relationship with the audience – beginning from the show’s opening with the audience’s joining in singing ‘These Are My Mountains’, with lyrics written on a panto-style songsheet held up by the cast – inclusion of fiddle music and Gaelic songs sung by Dolina Maclennan, all represented a new direction in popular theatre. Performances finished with a dance, when the company performed as a ceilidh band, the ‘Force Ten Gaels’. The show proved a huge success with audiences at community venues across the Highlands, and subsequently toured extensively, taking in Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre and the Royal Lyceum Edinburgh. Following this success, 7:84’s subsequent activity was split between further Highland tours on The Cheviot model, and productions aimed at urban Lowland audiences. A third strand, developed later in the early 1980s, involved more conventional main-scale productions conceived for larger theatres. The company’s method of working and collective responsibility for its output, were, however, always identified with the small-scale touring model pioneered by The Cheviot, even though the intense pressure this placed on company members resulted in the original core company fragmenting by the mid-1970s. Further, the string of plays McGrath produced in the company’s first five years inevitably led to its identification with his own output as a writer. As with The Cheviot, the form and structure of his work became inseparable from the themes and subjects it addressed. These included the history of Scottish socialism and Red Clydeside, women’s role in the struggle to improve working people’s conditions and a range of contemporary Scottish social issues, from sectarianism and racial prejudice to alcoholism and the need to engage workers in political processes. McGrath believed passionately in the entertainment values of music hall, and its vital blend of music and comedy. Yet, in The Cheviot, very much 7:84 (Scotland)’s signature piece, the broad satirical sketches and outsize visual presentation of characters like Lady Phosphate of Runcorn, a Highland landowner, and Andy McChuckemup, a Glasgow developer’s man, owed more to agit-prop than music hall. Despite his admiration for music hall as a working-

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class form, McGrath, mindful of its reactionary associations, sometimes also used its presence – as cloying sentimentality represented by the tartan show – to signify commercial mass culture’s corrupt face. The Game’s a Bogey (1974), following The Cheviot’s focus on the Highlands, was conceived for Lowland urban audiences. Here McGrath played to the entertainment conventions of the intended venues – working-men’s clubs and union halls – by adopting the format of ‘A fun-loving all-Scottish variety show’.16 He juxtaposed a biography of the martyred early twentieth-century Glasgow socialist leader John MacLean with episodes in the life of Geordie and Ina, a young couple struggling to stay afloat. Forced to live with Ina’s mother, and battling depression, addiction to prescription medication, domestic abuse and racism, McGrath illustrates the pair’s predicament and that of others like them through a rigged television game show sketch, ‘Beat the System’. Meanwhile the musichall comic song trope is employed to satirise sectarianism and racial prejudice in a football song, (‘Oh, the Oranges and the Green’) involving Italian Celtic supporters and Pakistani Rangers fans. McGrath’s sometime predilection for traditional music and songs suggests a belief in their cultural authenticity. Blood Red Roses (1980)17 follows the journey of Bessie McGuigan, Communist Party activist and women’s shop steward at the SAM electronics factory in East Kilbride, fighting against male-dominated trades unions, successive Conservative and Labour governments and international capitalism to defend her members’ rights to something approaching decent wages and conditions. The narrative is punctuated throughout with songs and ballads commenting on events set to traditional tunes like ‘Charlie, oh Charlie’, ‘Donald McGillvray’ and ‘Loch Duich’, placing Bessie’s dogged determination to win through in the broader sociocultural and national context of the people’s struggle. At the play’s climax – Bessie wins a famous victory over the multi-national corporation that owns the factory by co-ordinating industrial action with workers in other countries, a short-lived triumph – the celebration with family and friends in her kitchen culminates with her playing the accordion as her father sings ‘Dark Lochnagar’.18 The 7:84 company’s rediscovery of earlier socialist drama movements’ legacy echoed the theme of Blood Red Roses – the determination to continue the struggle against social injustice, even faced by the 1979 election of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government. A combination of funding circumstances and the permanent company’s loss, and with it collective leadership, meant that The Catch (1981) was the last production produced by the original collective principle. The year 1982 brought a new impetus to 7:84’s development through the Clydebuilt season. The idea for this came from older audience members attending 7:84 performances, who remembered the working-class theatre groups of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. Intended to

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investigate the legacy of this earlier generation, the season proved a critical and popular revelation. The plays, produced at Glasgow’s Mitchell Theatre over five months from January 1982, included George Munro’s Gold in his Boots (1947), premièred by Glasgow Unity, Ewan MacColl’s ‘musical-poetical narrative ballad’, Johnny Noble (1945), written for Theatre Workshop and Harry Trott’s UAB Scotland (1940). Generally well-received, the season’s undoubted successes were Joe Corrie’s In Time of Strife (1927)19 about the General Strike’s effects, originally performed by Bowhill Players, and, above all, Ena Lamont Stewart’s Men Should Weep, which, after Giles Havergal’s production, was acclaimed as a classic of twentieth-century Scottish – indeed world – drama. Clydebuilt allowed audiences and critics to rediscover the vibrant working-class drama of the pre- and immediate post-war period. It also located 7:84 and its offshoot Wildcat within a working-class political theatre tradition, a lineage with strong political and cultural implications. As Bill Findlay wrote, not only were 7:84 arguing that their own work be seen in the larger context of a continuation of that tradition. But, that aside, they were also demonstrating the existence of a theatrical tradition in twentieth century Scotland which represented an implicit challenge to the established view held by many critics that insofar as any twentieth-century Scottish theatrical tradition could be said to exist, it was synonymous with James Bridie and/or with a corpus of historical plays written in a literary Scots by writers such as Robert McLellan, Robert Kemp and Alexander Reid.20

Clydebuilt reinvigorated 7:84, influenced subsequent Scottish theatre-makers and revived interest in the plays of Corrie, Glasgow Unity and other socialist theatre companies. One outcome of the focus on Glasgow Unity has been, as Adrienne Scullion observes, the development of ‘a critical orthodoxy within Scottish theatre studies that prefers a history of working class and broadly naturalistic drama and theatre’.21 Nonetheless, other groups – and Unity itself – explored a wider range of stylistic approaches far beyond naturalism. One legacy of the season’s rediscovery of this popular theatre heritage is the range of styles of work available to modern successors. The issue of music and its role was the main reason for the emergence of Wildcat Stage Productions, a new music theatre company founded in 1978 by three 7:84 members – David MacLennan, Dave Anderson and Feri Lean. Speaking of the reasons for the new company’s formation, MacLennan subsequently explained: We wanted to develop a musical theatre which treated music as part of the work of equal importance to any other part. Music with us isn’t just a dramatic

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device. It’s absolutely integral to the work, and it was becoming increasingly difficult for 7:84 to contain the people who wanted to do this work.22

Sharing 7:84’s commitment to working-class audiences, Wildcat visited community venues across the country with a series of high-energy productions that combined songs and rock music with its own brand of knockabout political satire. Written by MacLennan and music director Anderson, often in collaboration with David McNiven, its exuberant agit-prop-style pieces confronted a range of issues facing working people as Thatcher’s Britain emerged. The Painted Bird (1978) addressed mental health; Blooter (1979) unemployment; Confessin’ the Blues (1981) sexual politics; Bed Pan Alley (1984) the National Health Service; Dead Liberty (1984) the then-current miners’ strike. While Wildcat shared 7:84’s socialist politics and became strongly identified with support for trades unions and popular campaigns against government policies, its approach was less didactic, more rooted in music hall and pantomime’s legacy. Noting the debt to McGrath, Anderson wrote, What The Cheviot did was to take the spirit of variety, music hall, and infuse it with an analysis and a certain amount of objectivity, which had been a missing ingredient in variety. That’s where I think we, Wildcat, are at our best, when it’s like a variety show, but there’s an argument there [. . .] that develops, rather than a static situation.23

In Wildcat’s case the argument was conveyed through songs and musical numbers: Edwin Morgan observed, ‘Wildcat’s purpose, as far as their whole deployment of music, lyrics and dialogue is concerned, has been to develop a “language” that a popular and largely working-class audience will accept and enjoy.’24 MacLennan and Anderson championed internationalism and a range of human rights causes through productions like 1982 or Any Minute Now (1983), which warns against nuclear arms proliferation, and Business in the Back Yard (1985), about the struggle for freedom in Nicaragua. The company also cast a wry satirical eye on cultural relations nearer home. Wildcat’s satirical explorations of Scottish identity and cultural relations with the United States – in burlesques like Heather Up Your Kilt (1986) – returned to former musical styles and idioms, and what the founders confessed was ‘an obsession with the mass media’. John McGrath’s Border Warfare (1989) was an ambitious promenade production at the Tramway, surveying Scotland’s fractious relationship with England. A key strand of Wildcat’s work celebrated Scottish working-class identity through popular culture, in ways that, connecting with music hall and pantomime’s legacy, made a cultural

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as much as political statement. One of its greatest successes in this respect, Tony Roper’s The Steamie (1987), although not originally commissioned by Wildcat but brought to its attention by Elaine C. Smith and adapted with songs by Anderson, perfectly embodied its ethos. Set in a Glasgow steamie, or public wash-house, where five women are doing their laundry on a 1950s Hogmanay, Roper combines stories, jokes, songs and reminiscences to explore the dreams and aspirations of the women characters. Its style, although sentimentalised, nevertheless celebrates a vanishing way of life and sense of community, in a way that proved hugely resonant for Scottish audiences.25 The heart of the play, the characters’ rich use of language – of patter – reaffirms how much this style of popular drama overlaps with music hall, which, Femi Folorunso has suggested, ‘became an agent for coalescing and transforming the diffuse elements of popular arts’.26 Folorunso’s suggestion that ‘as theatre, [Scottish music hall’s] core was the spontaneous recreation of popular experience and reality’27 seems to correspond exactly to the deadpan of Magrit’s ‘Isn’t it wonderful tae be a woman?’ speech. There she describes the unremitting cycle of cooking, washing, cleaning and work that makes up the life of a working mother. Such continuities confirm the sense of shared cultural rootedness that links Scottish music hall of the pre-war period with the working-class drama of the 1940s and the Scottish theatre groups of the 1970s and 80s. The committed socialism of companies like Wildcat – which, like 7:84, is now itself part of Scottish popular theatre history – had its basis in a set of shared cultural references, what Randall Stevenson terms ‘a community of language and experience’.28 This, for all its play on shifting musical genres and mass media, was rooted in the celebration of Scottish working-class culture and identity: Here we are in Govanhill with Uncle Bill and Uncle Harry We’re as happy as Larry So we are Granpa plays the songs he knows From minstrel shows And G. H. Elliott We huvnae got a telly – it Disnae matter.29

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CHAP T E R S IX

Drama, Language and Late TwentiethCentury Literary Revival Randall Stevenson

The Airchbishop – can get stuffed! [. . .] Bluidy man, he can take a runnin fuck at hissel! And I’ll tell him that when I see him anaa, you see if I dinna! Jesus Bluidy Christ, he’s aff his fuckin heid! [. . .] Twa men – twa men. A hauf-airsed wee laddie and a buggered auld man, no even twa real men tae tak a prisoner through thon rammy! Wullie, the man’s a heid-case!1

The 1976 Fringe production of Donald Campbell’s The Jesuit had barely begun before audiences were assailed by speeches such as the above. One of the play’s ordinary soldiers, Andrew – charged with protecting the Jesuit of the title – is nothing if not vehement about arrangements for his job. For spectators in 1976 – watching the play in the Bedlam Theatre, the Traverse’s overspill venue in Forrest Road – a number of newish and startling features compounded this vehemence. One of these was simply the scale of its profanity. By the time ‘fuck’ figured in the speech above, it had already been used three times, in a variety of grammatical functions, in a play barely half a minute old, while Christ’s name was being invoked for the fifth time. The Bedlam was formerly a church, converted for theatre use by Edinburgh University and at the time usually still called ‘the Old Chaplaincy Centre’. Scottish theatre in the 1970s was moving confidently in several ways – imaginative as well as physical – into spaces the church had recently vacated. Even so, audiences might have wondered if such profanity might not provoke residual Kirkish spirits to return vengefully from the old building’s shadowy vaults. Profane and blasphemous freedoms were after all still fairly new on British stages: the lord chamberlain and stage censorship had been retired from duty only fairly recently, in 1968. There had been outstanding opportunities, though, in intervening years, for local audiences to adjust to these new freedoms. Profanity could hardly have been freer than in Roddy McMillan’s The Bevellers, staged at the Royal Lyceum in 1973. McMillan’s characters swear so freely and vehemently – even joyously – they regularly have to amend long-established oaths or coin altogether fresh ones. ‘Diabastric’, ‘blohoorable’, ‘bastrified’ and

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‘concrapsulated’ figure in this way in an expletive inventiveness sometimes tending towards the baroque.2 It added further, at any rate, to the colourful, vigorous Glasgow vernacular McMillan had earlier developed for his first play, All in Good Faith, staged at the Citizens in 1954. Nearly twenty years had nevertheless elapsed before McMillan wrote for the stage again, a long silence usually explained as a response to criticism All in Good Faith provoked when first produced. McMillan’s portrayal of a dysfunctional family, unable to deal with either poverty or wealth, provoked some strong reactions at the time among press and public, often hostile to what they saw as an overly-negative view of Glasgow life. Yet McMillan’s long delay is also worth considering in relation to the wider development – or lack of it – in Scottish theatre in the 1950s and 1960s. Writing about Scottish drama in 1967, Edwin Morgan commented on its ‘slow, broken, and disturbed development’ – attributable, he considered, ‘to a complex of historical circumstances’.3 There were pressing reasons for his pessimism. Fracture and deceleration had seemed unusually evident in Scottish theatre over the previous twenty years, particularly disappointingly after the promise of the late 1940s. At that time, Glasgow Unity had established a theatre briskly progressive in its aims and thoroughly popular in its support. Plays such as Robert McLeish’s The Gorbals Story (1946), Ena Lamont Stewart’s Men Should Weep (1947) and George Munro’s Gold in his Boots (1947) directly tackled the pressing problems of the post-war years, urban poverty and poor housing particularly. They also drew their audiences – and their performers, including Roddy McMillan – from the communities whose life and difficulties the plays addressed. A communal outlook, shared between stage and audience, was further consolidated by a shared language – a contemporary, street-wise Glaswegian dialect of Scots, instantly familiar to spectators, who turned up in huge numbers for Unity’s productions. The Gorbals Story was seen by more than 100,000 people in its first six months alone. Unfortunately, the company eventually became almost a victim of this success. Scarcely supported by the fledgling Arts Council, they had to rely more and more on money-spinning but steadily-staling revivals of The Gorbals Story, and even these could not prevent final financial failure in 1951. No other theatre emerged to take over Unity’s role, nor any playwrights, apart from Roddy McMillan, to develop further the realistic, contemporary urban idiom the company had developed. Instead, when Scots was used on stage at all over the next couple of decades, it was usually in semi-archaic forms appropriate to the kind of historical interests Robert McLellan had established in Jamie the Saxt, first produced in 1937 and revived in 1953 and 1956. Further incentives for this kind of writing appeared in the celebrated revival, at the second Edinburgh Festival in 1948, of Sir David Lyndsay’s Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis, first performed in the mid-sixteenth century. Witty,

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lexically rich and highly varied in register, Lyndsay’s language was a revelation to Scottish audiences, actors and dramatists at the time. Not surprisingly, in the following years Scots continued to be used widely in various archaic forms in plays – such as R. S. Silver’s The Bruce (1951), Alexander Reid’s The Warld’s Wonder (1953) or Sidney Goodsir Smith’s The Wallace (1960) – set in distant historical periods, or in Reid’s case, half-mythic ones. Though equally historically inclined, other dramatists were less fully committed to the use of Scots. Robert Kemp’s Master John Knox (1960) and his earlier play about Bruce, The King of Scots (1951), both seemed to follow instead recent developments in verse drama introduced by T. S. Eliot and Christopher Fry, or to attempt a pseudo-Shakespearean elevated English. Kemp had adapted Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis for Tyrone Guthrie’s 1948 revival, and he also used Scots in translations of Molière’s L’École des Femmes (Let Wives Tak Tent, 1948) and L’Avare (The Laird o’Grippy, 1958). In language and setting, though, these translations did not greatly alter the seventeenth-century context of their originals. Like McLellan, or the other dramatists who followed his example, Kemp left Scots sounding remote from contemporary life, and not always entirely intelligible to a modern ear. Historical circumstances in the 1950s and 1960s threatened, much more generally, to make Scots fade out of earshot. Throughout Britain, Standard English gained in influence probably as rapidly, during those decades, as at any time in its earlier history. This was the result of a huge expansion in the powers of centralised, London-based media, originating at the very beginning of the new Elizabethan era in 1953. On 2 June that year, coverage of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation was seen by 20 million people, many of whom had never previously watched a full television programme. A long and ever-more crowded street led on from that 1950s moment. Rapid sales of television sets soon followed. By the time ITV began broadcasting in England in 1955, licence numbers had doubled, to 5.5 million. STV was launched in Scotland in 1957 and by the end of the 1950s, there were more than 10 million licences. By 1962 around 90 per cent of the UK population were viewers, for an average of two and a half hours per day. With the advent of BBC2 in 1964, and colour broadcasting three years later, these figures increased still further. There was regular speculation at the time that neither cinema, theatre, nor perhaps even private reading, would survive competition from the new medium. All did, more or less; some forms of theatre adapting to the new influences and even turning them to their advantage. Following the opening of the Traverse in Edinburgh in 1963, studio spaces ensured that theatre was able to offer audiences some of the close-up immediacy and intimate acting style television had made familiar. The survival of Scots language sometimes seemed less certain. In its early days especially, television offered scope for Scots

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life and language so scanty as to seem close to deliberate suppression. In the 1950s and 1960s, programmes usually designed in London for a British audience restricted representation of Scottish experience mostly to stereotypical forms, such as figured in Doctor Finlay’s Casebook (1962–71). Restriction of Scots voices was still more thorough. Ironically, it was often Scots themselves – like Lord Reith at the BBC – who had originally imposed Received Pronunciation so firmly on broadcast media. Even on BBC Scotland or STV, strongly class-marked or Scottish accents were still unusual in the 1960s, at any rate beyond the confines of football commentary, some comedy, or the occasional serial such as This Man Craig (1966–7). Faring little better on the radio and in film, Scots seemed to have been reduced to the role Tom Leonard’s poem ‘Unrelated Incidents’ suggests: as ‘awright fur / funny stuff / ur / Stanley Bax-/ ter’, but not much else.4 Scots might have been expected to wither altogether in this new welter of cathode rays. By the late 1960s, there were theatre directors who thought it had, or at any rate that it had grown unusable in forms recent dramatists had preserved. The director of the Royal Lyceum, Clive Perry, remarked in an interview in 1968 that he considered the public no longer willing to sit through a play whose vocabulary they don’t understand. As regards the future of Scottish theatre, it may be that there is no such thing as a totally individual Scots language left. National drama with a tongue of its own is not for the future. Plays about contemporary Scotland will be in English with only a slight accent.5

As Bill Findlay explains in his Introduction to Scots Plays of the Seventies (2001), to his credit Perry remained entirely open to the very drama he thought surely doomed, especially after Bill Bryden joined him as a director at the Lyceum in 1971. Plays such as Stewart Conn’s The Burning, produced there in 1971, or Hector MacMillan’s The Rising, staged two years later at Dundee Rep, address the same kind of historical interests – and in Conn’s case, exactly the same period – as McLellan in Jamie the Saxt. Yet each play relents a good deal in its use of historical forms of Scots language. These are employed only intermittently and indicatively: both Conn and MacMillan suggest historical period through combining a measure of archaism with forms of Scots generally much more accessible to the modern ear. Bryden demonstrated the potential of a more thoroughly modern Scots himself in his play for the Lyceum, Willie Rough (1972), set in the Red Clydeside period of World War One, with Roddy McMillan in a central role. In bringing the theatre still further up to date in The Bevellers, McMillan used the most firmly contemporary accents of all, complete with the pungent profanity mentioned earlier. This recreated for the Lyceum in the 1970s an even more powerful

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version of the idiom McMillan knew from his work with Glasgow Unity in the 1940s. It once again brought to the stage the kind of language, urban and unrestrained, that might have been heard in the streets around the theatre – or at any rate widely throughout central Scotland, if not always in the relatively genteel Edinburgh precincts of the Royal Lyceum itself. By the mid-1970s, in other words, the dramatists mentioned had quickly reinstated Scots into the theatrical idioms in which it had figured successfully around mid-century – in representing earlier historical periods, and in staging contemporary urban life. On this evidence, concerns about the survival of Scots in a televisual age might seem to have been exaggerated. Scots, after all, had probably endured worse crises. As many critics of Scottish literature have pointed out, it had survived – even thrived – in a state of semi-crisis ever since the Scottish court moved to London, on the accession of James VI and I in 1603. Its difficulties at that time were further compounded by the new king’s demand for an authorised translation of the Bible into Standard English, and – a century or so later – by the demise of a separate Scottish parliament. Scots has endured ever since a subsidiary, extra-official existence, in the shadows of a bureaucracy, judiciary, Church, education system – state organisation generally – which has come to conduct its affairs in (Scottish) Standard English. Preferences among 1950s and 1960s Scottish dramatists for historical settings – usually pre-seventeenth-century – might be seen as a form of nostalgia for periods in which Scots remained fully empowered as a language of court and state. Yet as critics have also often indicated, the extraofficial existence of Scots has not been exclusively disempowering. Instead, it has generally strengthened its engagement with other areas of life – often communal or emotional experience, as Chris Guthrie indicates in reflecting on the complementary qualities of Scots and English in Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Sunset Song (1932): Two Chrisses there were that fought for her heart and tormented her. You hated the land and the coarse speak of the folk and learning was brave and fine one day; and the next [. . .] You saw their faces in firelight, father’s and mother’s and the neighbours’ [. . .] faces dear and close to you, you wanted the words they’d known and used [. . .] Scots words to tell to your heart, how they wrung it and held it [. . .] And the next minute that passed from you, you were English, back to the English words so sharp and clean and true – for a while, for a while, till they slid so smooth from your throat you knew they could never say anything that was worth the saying at all.6

‘Words to tell to your heart’ might have been more than powerful enough to survive a televisual age unaided. They might even have made Scots language all the more cussedly, reciprocally resilient at a time when media-based anglophone influences were so obviously strengthening. In any case, new

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factors emerging in the politics of the 1960s and 1970s helped to ensure that Scots continued, often with renewed force, to wring the heart and hold the attention of theatre audiences. Though television in the 1950s and 1960s generally tended to unify speech-habits, it was within a ‘United’ Kingdom showing distinct signs of disunity. Solidarities entrenched during World War Two were dwindling in force. The early-1960s liberation of many foreign colonies, long held as British imperial dominions, may have offered an example to peripheral nations within the United Kingdom. At any rate, the Scottish Nationalist Party significantly strengthened its role the 1964 General Election. Enthusiasms for a separate Scotland were further fuelled, almost literally, by the discovery of oil in the North Sea later in the 1960s. By the early 1970s, Scottish National Party slogans were confidently claiming ‘It’s Scotland’s Oil’. As the playwright Tom Gallacher recalled, the burgeoning riches of oil off the Scottish coast accomplished a sea change in the Arts as well. The public [. . .] became aware that Scottishness was an asset, not a liability. The pride of self-sufficiency showed at the box-office [. . .]7

The identity and culture of Scotland seemed in the 1970s matters of renewed promise, even profit – once again empowering, and with political purpose, Scottish theatre’s interest both in the nation’s past and in its contemporary life. Scottish history offered more than just colourful, dramatic episodes for the stage. Like W. B. Yeats – exploring the Irish past in plays and poetry in the opening years of the twentieth century – Scottish dramatists sought roots and antecedents for independent identity in earlier parts of Scotland’s history. Hector MacMillan’s story in The Rising (1974) of attempts to set up a Scottish assembly in Edinburgh in 1820, for example, could hardly fail to resonate with 1970s nationalist sentiments. Portrayals of contemporary life were in other ways equally politicised. In a country which had suffered the effects of Industrial Revolution and capitalist work practices so early, so profoundly, and for so long, Scottish audiences were especially sensitive to portrayals of factory work and the divided society it creates, such as Roddy McMillan’s in The Bevellers. ‘They’re up there, an’ you’re doon here, an’ even if ye wer grindin yur guts tae get up therr amongst it, next year when they go by you’ll still be doon here, like the rest o us’, one of McMillan’s bevellers explains to a fellow worker (p. 308). Similarly oppressed conditions also figured – though presented in comic mode – in John Byrne’s play of West of Scotland factory work, The Slab Boys, produced at the Traverse in 1978. Each play carried implications for a specifically Scottish socialism as strong as those of The Rising in favour of Scottish nationalism. The 1970s stage offered an exceptional opportunity for exploring these implications, and the experiences, historical or contemporary, on which they

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were based – ones still much less likely to interest a London-centred media. In directing historical awareness toward analysis of contemporary political conditions, John McGrath created in The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil (1973) probably the decade’s most influential play – one which did reach a UK-wide television audience, as a BBC1 ‘Play for Today’ in 1974. Yet such exposure for Scottish theatre, or for Scottish issues generally, remained rare on television, even north of the Border. At the time, the theatre was almost the only space in which the nation could talk about renewed interests in its present and past – publicly, imaginatively and entirely in its own voice. Though Scots language continued to figure in poetry and the novel, each genre offered an essentially private experience, shared only between reader and text. In the theatre, Scots worked in a public space in which ‘words to tell to [the] heart’ could create a powerful sense of community, shared between performers and audience – often providing, as Glasgow Unity had discovered, a solid base on which to build a collective political outlook. This sense of community could even work partly independently of complete understanding of the language involved, dispelling concerns of the kind Clive Perry expressed about the accessibility of Scots for modern audiences. Writing in the 1920s, Hugh MacDiarmid demanded of Scottish theatre ‘a distinctively Scottish form, the dramatic equivalent of the differentia of Scots psychology’. He also suggested in his poem ‘Gairmscoile’ (1926) how the prime differentium of Scots language might work: It’s soon’, no’ sense, that faddoms the herts o’ men [. . .] the rouch auld Scots I ken E’en herts that ha’e nae Scots’ll dirl rich thro’ As nocht else could [. . .]8

Even audiences wi nae Scots, MacDiarmid suggests – or gae little understanding of Scots in historical forms – could appreciate the plays of the 1970s, or earlier ones such as Jamie the Saxt, simply on the grounds of the differentia or distinctiveness their language offered. For audiences newly interested in independence, cultural or political, Scots offered in itself – even apart from what it was used to say – an independent language with a certain hold on their hearts and loyalties. Scots dramatic language achieved even more, in this way, than the ‘return to meaning and sincerity [. . .] our own roots’ that Alexander Reid had recommended in his Introduction to Two Scots Plays (1958).9 In addition to ‘meaning and sincerity’, the return to Scots in the 1970s contained an immediate, highly-charged political relevance. Evident in all the writers mentioned, this was perhaps at its most persuasive – or most explosive – in The Jesuit and The Bevellers. Those profuse profanities at the start of The Jesuit, and throughout McMillan’s play, rediscovered Scots in

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all its gallus raunchiness – all its alternative, adversarial, extra-official, even delinquent energy. This rediscovery offered a freedom not only from censorship, or the long grey influence of the Church, but from the long-standing constraints of Standard English, and by extension the systems of power on which these depended. Those opening moments of The Jesuit also thoroughly resolved a difficulty Alexander Reid had foreseen in wondering ‘whether a Scottish National Drama, if it comes to birth, will be written in Braid Scots or the speech, redeemed for literary purposes, of Argyle Street, Glasgow, or the Kirkgate, Leith’.10 Audiences of The Jesuit were immediately startled not only by the vigorous profanity of its opening speeches, but by the use of such up-to-date language in a play set in 1614 and apparently faithful to that period in its costumes, décor and story. By exempting his soldiers’ language from any such faithfulness, Campbell straightforwardly avoided the problems Reid mentions, rejecting historical registers of Braid Scots almost altogether in favour of the contemporary dialect of urban central Scotland. The Jesuit represented in this way a further empowerment of ordinary 1970s Scots speech – one which also looked forward to a still more relaxed approach to language-use in later Scottish theatre. Liz Lochhead, for example, described the language employed in her 1986 translation of Molière’s Tartuffe as a totally invented [. . .] theatrical Scots, full of anachronisms, demotic speech from various eras and areas; it’s proverbial, slangy, couthy, clichéd, catchphrasey, and vulgar; it’s based on Byron, Burns, Stanley Holloway, Ogden Nash and George Formby, as well as the sharp tongue of my granny; it’s deliberately varied in register – most of the characters [. . .] are at least bilingual and consequently more or less ‘two-faced’.11

Lochhead’s relaxed, slangy and cheerfully anachronistic language helped to make her Tartuffe more popular and accessible than Kemp’s translations of Molière thirty or forty years previously. On the evidence of her work, particularities of register, era and area might be thought to have grown almost immaterial to dramatists, able in the later twentieth century to use Scots, in any of its forms, to open the hearts and secure the attention of their audiences. Yet most playwrights, Lochhead and Campbell included, worked in ways more subtle and still more productive than that conclusion suggests. In any form, Scots language exercised a hold on audiences’ outlook and affections simply on the grounds of its differences from Standard English. But the language’s many dialects and registers could also be used to differentiate a much wider range of attitudes, social strata, ‘eras and areas’. In The Jesuit, the contemporary urban Scots the soldiers speak differs very markedly from the ‘English with an officer-class accent’ which Campbell’s stage directions

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specify for the martyr Ogilvie, but also from the restrained tones – though still Scots ones – employed by the Airchbishop. Dialect and register are still more diverse in Tartuffe. Lochhead’s highly variable tongues and tones differentiate not only between characters, but sometimes within the individual idiolects each employs. As Lochhead suggests, most of her characters are ‘at least bilingual’, enabling them to express themselves differently according to context or mood. Elmire, for example, is described in Lochhead’s introductory stage directions as ‘Bearsden voiced’, and ‘a whole generation more bourgeois, glossy and lazy than her husband’ (p. 2). But she remains posh and anglified only until knocked off her rhetorical perch by strong emotion or irritation. When terminally exasperated by Tartuffe, she lapses momentarily into the lexis of less Bearsden-voiced areas of Glasgow in remarking that ‘the man’s a mere balloon!’ (p. 55). At such moments, fine gradations of register redirect Scots language’s strong hold on audiences towards more specific sympathies, and towards critical discrimination of the competing social strata the play explores. Elmire is more sympathetic in her baser ‘balloon’-tones than in her elevated Bearsden voice, and audiences’ feelings for her can shift accordingly even within the single sentence quoted above. A still firmer inversion of hierarchies operates throughout The Jesuit. Andrew offers another version of McMillan’s view of characters trapped ‘doon here’ and ‘grindin [their] guts’ when he points out to a fellow soldier that it’s aye the same – the meenisters and the priests and the high-heid anes’ll dae the argyin and the stirring up – but [. . .] it’ll no be the meenisters that’ll dae the fechtin or the killin or the deein – it’ll be you and me [. . .] (pp. 248–9)

Long before he offers this conclusion, a language close in era and area to the audience’s own ensures that its sympathies lie with characters ‘doon here’ – with the common soldiers, and not the more mellifluously voiced ‘high-heid anes’. Gradations of register – so useful in challenging or inverting hierarchies –within Scots speech, and in contrast with Standard English, suggest that Scots may be a more than usually carnivalised language. In terms popularised by the Soviet theorist Mikhail Bakhtin, all language is to an extent dialogic. It is always a contested domain, in which various voices and registers – and the attitudes each implies – fret, collide or coalesce, and in the process ‘mutually and ideologically interanimate each other’.12 Within this constant contestation, Bakhtin suggests, there is much scope for subversion of established hierarchies, rather as there was in medieval carnival – for the displacement of standard forms of language by marginalised ones, and for reordering systems of power encoded in each. Even the brief outline of language-use, above, should be enough to suggest the particular relevance of such thinking

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to a vernacular-rich Scottish context. Yet Bakhtin’s views have, of course, been applied more often and perhaps more legitimately to the novel. Drama, obviously, is dialogic literally rather than metaphorically, and often defined, as a genre, in terms of conflict and contestation. This conflict need not be confined to attitudes subtly encoded in specific language forms, but can occur entirely explicitly, between characters who embody and exhibit diverse world views, or social positions, just as much as differences in individual temperament or psychology. Scottish drama nevertheless remains unusually close to Bakhtin’s interests, and perhaps unusual in world drama, in the extent to which differences of outlook are highlighted not only by what characters say or stand for, but by the way they speak. Audiences of The Jesuit waiting for Andrew to tell the Airchbishop to ‘take a runnin fuck at hissel’ are disappointed. His promised invective is not delivered when they meet. But it scarcely needs to be: their relations and respective outlooks have already been so clearly defined, and audiences’ sympathies so clearly directed, by the speech-forms each character employs. This definition and direction, moreover, has been established almost independently of the audience’s conscious discrimination. Though the language of The Jesuit is so striking from the play’s opening moments, audiences scarcely need to settle down deliberately to decipher its implications. Instead, in The Jesuit and many other late twentieth-century Scottish plays, sympathies and discriminations are directed, eloquently but implicitly, through the careful distinctions in register dramatists establish between, and sometimes within, their characters’ patterns of speech. The richly various ‘soons’ of Scots, as much as its sense, regularly feddom the herts and dirl the sympathies of listeners, in this way, from the first speech of plays to their last. Dramatists continued to develop these potentials of Scots language later in the twentieth century and beyond. This has contributed to what is now recognised as a real advance on the generally slow, disturbed development of Scottish theatre Edwin Morgan defined at the end of the 1960s. Yet this advance has rarely been related to the wider revival in Scottish literature usually held to originate around 1980, and to be more evident in fiction and poetry. The dating of this renaissance – or second renaissance, following the work of MacDiarmid, Grassic Gibbon and others in the 1920s and 1930s – seems natural enough. What history refuses, culture provides. After the failure of the Devolution Bill in 1979, Scottish self-governance, refused politically, expressed itself culturally instead. Writers sought to redefine or reimagine Scotland, sometimes quite explicitly. In Lanark (1981) – often considered a foundation text of this renaissance – Alasdair Gray suggested of Glasgow that in a city which ‘hasn’t been used by an artist not even the inhabitants live there imaginatively’, a problem redressed through the profligate imagination of his novel itself.13 In terms of imagining not only how Glaswegians

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live generally, but in particular how they talk and think, Gray’s initiative was further advanced by the work of James Kelman in novels such as The Busconductor Hines (1984) and A Disaffection (1989). Kelman’s deployment of Glaswegian vernaculars can best be illustrated from the opening paragraph How Late It Was, How Late (1995): Ye wake in a corner and stay there hoping yer body will disappear, the thoughts smothering ye; these thoughts; but ye want to remember and face up to things, just something keeps ye from doing it, why can ye no do it; the words filling yer head; then the other words; there’s something wrong; there’s something far far wrong; ye’re no a good man, ye’re just no a good man [. . .] here, slumped in this corner, with these thoughts filling ye. And oh christ his back was sore; stiff, and the head pounding [. . .] Where in the name of fuck . . .

Kelman’s extraordinary styles and strategies inevitably challenge critical definition. In Cairns Craig’s view, movements ‘back and forth between third person narrative, free indirect discourse, dialogue and interior monologue’ create ‘an indeterminate linguistic world’ – one in which it is almost impossible to decide whose words are being read, or whose head they may fill.14’ [Y]er head’ could belong to character, narrator, even the reader. Or, in the view of another critic, Aaron Kelly, maybe not too securely to any of these. Instead, Kelly suggests that ‘continual collision [of] differing registers of subject position’ leaves ‘no free-flowing subject able to coincide purely with itself and represent the world in its own terms [. . . as] the private property of a subjective autonomy’.15 In this view, Kelman uses the kind of flexible bilingualism, or multilingualism, Scottish dramatists exploit to make a more disturbing political point. Multiplicities of words and registers filling his characters’ heads do not facilitate renegotiation or inversion of the social hierarchy. Instead, they consolidate entrapment within it – within layered discourses which allow little opportunity for coherent self-understanding or to ‘face up to things’ independently of pre-established orders of ‘up therr’ and ‘doon here’. Though Kelman’s political vision is exceptionally uncompromising in this way, and his style unusually complex, comparable ‘collisions of register’ figure widely in late-twentieth-century Scottish fiction – in the work of authors as otherwise diverse as Irvine Welsh, Janice Galloway and Ron Butlin. Like Aaron Kelly, Gavin Wallace sees these collisions contributing to ‘struggles to articulate an adequate sense of self-identity’ – a principal preoccupation, he suggests, of Scottish fiction after the 1970s, and part of its determination to make readers ‘face up to things’ fundamental in the nation’s life. As he goes on to consider in his essay ‘Voices in Empty Houses: The Novel of Damaged Identity’, this preoccupation has been productive as well as painful. It sustains into late twentieth-century fiction long-standing concerns with ‘duality, division

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and fracture’ which Scottish writers find fascinating as much as troubling; problematic but essential to political and moral vision.16 Such concerns with voice and identity – with ‘an indeterminate linguistic world’ – can be traced all the way back to the conditions imposed on Scotland in the early seventeenth century. As suggested above, they can also be followed through the work of earlier twentieth-century novelists such as Lewis Grassic Gibbon. In the particular and often politicised forms in which they reappeared in the later twentieth century, though, they probably owed a good deal to the drama of the 1970s. No other medium, at that time, showed so clearly the implication of Scots language and its diverse vernacular forms within the nation’s society, culture and politics, nor how crucially this language’s flexible, conflictual, vibrant energies could contribute to national self-understanding and literary imagination. The legacies of this period for Scottish theatre have been well charted. Their implications for all genres of Scottish writing are worth registering more vigorously.

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CHAPT ER S E VE N

History in Contemporary Scottish Theatre David Archibald

History is the study of the past, but it is not simply the accumulation and laying out of historical evidence. Historians’ explanatory attempts change over time, to account for why one particular set of circumstances gives rise to a particular outcome. Why, for instance, was Scotland’s attempt to colonise parts of Central America in the seventeenth century such an abject failure? Or why did the Highland Clearances take place a century later? History, however, is not simply there, waiting to be uncovered; on the contrary, human agency is central to the construction of historical narratives and it is called, or written, into existence by actors operating in the present. That does not mean that historians can say or write whatever they want: there are limitations on what can be legitimately told about the past. History, then, is not a neutral endeavour, and debates about the past, or, more precisely, debates about interpretations of the past, are commonplace in both the academy and in popular culture. We might think of history books as the primary source through which we encounter authoritative historical accounts. Art and literature, however, although almost always fictive constructs, combining elements of fact and fiction free from historiographical rules, also play an important role in shaping understanding of the past. This chapter explores ways the past has been represented in Scottish theatre since the 1970s. Firstly, an overview of work from the 1970s and 1980s focuses, primarily, on the way theatre practitioners then visited the past in an attempt to intervene politically in their present. Secondly, the chapter considers some recent wider political events and philosophical and historical debates, which affected the production of theatre generally. Finally, it examines their specific impact on both the content and form of plays and performances that have brought the past to Scottish stages more recently.

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The ‘Seventies and Eighties’: Political Appropriation of the Past This overview of history in 1970s and 1980s Scottish theatre begins by referencing an Englishman’s work. In 1963, the Marxist historian, E. P. Thompson, published The Making of the English Working Class. This ground-breaking book focuses on working people’s lives, the voices of whom had, at least until that time, largely been omitted from dominant historical narratives. Thompson’s account of the formative years of the English working class was influential widely, for both its content and its methodology. His history ‘from below’ or ‘from the bottom up’ approach affected both the study of the past – in 1969 T. C. Smout published A History of the Scottish People – and popular culture. Coterminous with a growing tendency to uncover the history of working people, and other marginalised groups, was a move in theatre to place the working class, its history and its struggles, centre stage. In Scotland this is most clearly expressed in the work of the Irish-Liverpudlian writer, John McGrath. Working primarily with the socialist theatre companies 7:84 (England) and 7:84 (Scotland),1 McGrath, as Paul Maloney’s chapter outlines, authored a number of hard-hitting theatre shows. These combined elements of music hall and comedy and fused fact and fiction, the dramatic and the didactic, to create formally innovative productions informed by Marxist historical analyses. This was achieved most famously, and successfully, in The Cheviot, the Stag, and the Black, Black Oil (1973),2 presenting Scottish history, from the Highland Clearances to the 1970s discovery of North Sea oil, as marked by exploitation and struggle. McGrath examined both social and national exploitation and, although supportive of Scottish independence, his attitude towards the national question is perhaps best encapsulated in a speech delivered at the end of the play: ‘Nationalism is not enough. The enemy of the Scottish people is Scottish capital, as much as the foreign exploiter’ (p. 66). McGrath’s work also covered other aspects of Scottish history: social and industrial unrest in early twentieth-century Glasgow (the Red Clydeside period) and the Glasgow Marxist John McLean’s life (The Game’s A Bogey, 1974), working-class women’s exploitation in post-war Britain (Red, Red Roses, 1985) and Scottish nationalism’s history (Border Warfare, 1989). Of McGrath’s work, Drew Milne notes that it responds to the weight of history not with tragic lamentation, but with comic historical sketches and direct political address. The political context may be farcical, but his theatrical forms mix entertainment with didactic content so as to encourage audience confidence and solidarity.3

McGrath and 7:84 concentrated mainly on new work, but this sense of confidence and solidarity was also fostered in the company’s celebrated 1982

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‘Clydebuilt’ season, also discussed by Paul Maloney. This comprised older radical plays about working-class life in Scotland, including Joe Corrie’s In Time of Strife (1927),4 Ewan McColl’s Johnny Noble (1945) and Ena Lamont Stewart’s Men Should Weep (1947). So, in addition to resurrecting histories of working-class struggle, McGrath also strove to uncover the radical political strand of Scottish theatre, which he regarded as both marginalised and neglected.5 McGrath stands out for both the quality and quantity of his output, but he is only one of a number of writers in Scotland who turned to the past in this period, although certainly not all of them shared his Marxist approach. It is impossible here to do service to the rich diversity of theatre in Scotland of the period engaging with the past. Notable examples, however, include Hector MacMillan’s The Rising (1973), an account of the betrayal of the Scottish Insurrection or Radical War of 1820, a period also covered in James Kelman’s Hardie and Baird: The Last Days (1990); Bill Bryden’s focusing on Red Clydeside in Willie Rough (1972) and dramatising the life of Scotland’s first World Boxing Champion, Benny Lynch (1975), a figure also the subject of Peter Arnott’s The Boxer Benny Lynch (1985); John and Willy Maley’s From the Calton to Catalonia (1990) dealing with Scots travelling to Spain to fight fascism during the Spanish Civil War; and John Byrne’s trilogy, The Slab Boys (1978), Cuttin’ A Rug (1979) and Still Life (1982), based on young, working-class, male carpet-factory workers’ experiences between 1957 and 1972. The dominant subject matter of much work in this period focuses on working-class men, but not simply that. Tony Roper’s The Steamie (1987), set in 1950s Glasgow on Hogmanay, is a popular, and somewhat sentimental account of working-class women’s lives. Chris Hannan’s exploration of Red Clydeside in Elizabeth Gordon Quinn (1985) is filtered through the perspective of a female outsider, seemingly more interested in her piano than in protest. In addition, Liz Lochhead dramatised the relationship between Elizabeth I and her cousin, Mary, in Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off (1987), subject matter covered in Ian Brown’s Mary (1977) as well. Brown’s Mary also exemplifies a strand of history plays that did not just explore the past for political purposes but also to highlight the ways in which the past is utilised as a myth-making machine, a process also at work in his Carnegie (1973), Stewart Conn’s Thistlewood (1975), which deals with the Cato Street conspiracy and Hector MacMillan’s The Royal Visit (1974). This is only a short selection of the rich theatrical fare emerging in the period as Scottish theatre-makers mined the past’s rich seams. What is evident, though, is a clear tendency to return to the past for political ends, a process that witnesses a change in ensuing decades, brought on, at least in part, by events within, and beyond, Scotland’s borders.

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The ‘Nineties and Noughties’: The End of History? The End of Plays? Throughout the 1990s, there are remnants of the tradition of previous decades, exemplified by Bill Bryden’s site-specific spectacle, The Big Picnic (1994), a promenade production set on the site of a former shipyard in Govan, focusing on members of the local community who had fought, and died, in World War One. Other notable plays about recent history include Mike Cullen’s debut, The Cut (1995), dealing with the fall-out of the 1984/5 British Miners’ Strike; Hector MacMillan’s A Greater Tomorrow (1996), another dramatic encounter with Scots and the Spanish Civil War; and John and Willy Maley’s No Mean Fighter (1992), focusing on John MacLean’s time in prison and, in turn, creating parallels with contemporary Scottish prison life. Sue Glover’s Bondagers (1991) explored the social and working conditions facing nineteenth-century female farm-workers in the Scottish Borders. As the decade drew to a close, and debates around the Scottish Parliament’s establishment in 1999 gained prominence in Scottish political and cultural life, a number of plays focusing more closely on national identity, but without overtly drawing on the past, emerged, for example, David Greig’s Caledonia Dreaming (1999), written during and about the 1999 elections. Meanwhile, a number of writers turned to more contemporary political concerns in plays such as Stephen Greenhorn’s Dissent (1998), which focused on corruption in Scottish politics. There is, then, a relative decline in the number of radical history plays compared to previous decades. This, however, is only partly accounted for by the increase in debates over Scotland’s relationship within the Union. In order to understand the numerical decline in theatrical representations of the past in Scottish theatre, it is necessary to detour into wider political and philosophical terrain. The collapse of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 triggered the demise of the Soviet system in the USSR and its Eastern Bloc satellites. These events, which took place as right-wing, free market ideas appeared to have the upper hand in both the UK and the USA, had a significant ideological impact internationally and, for some commentators at least, represented the end of the struggle between capitalism and socialism. In 1989, Frances Fukuyama published what was to become an influential essay entitled ‘The End of History’. Fukuyama suggests that the world can be viewed as akin to a wagon train, with individual countries all moving slowly to their ultimate goal of capitalist democracy, which, he argues, represents the pinnacle of human development and, thus, the end of history. Fukuyama states, What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is,

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the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.6

Although Fukuyama’s thesis has been widely rejected, it added to the voices already problematising the notion of historical progress, on all sides of the political spectrum. Moreover, the USSR’s collapse signified the apparent absence of any actually existing alternative to capitalism and had a dispiriting impact on many radical artists and writers. These events, moreover, strengthened the position of commentators who had previously critiqued what they regarded as totalising accounts of historical development.7 Famously, for instance, Francois Lyotard defined postmodernism as ‘an incredulity towards meta-narratives’.8 These meta- or grand-narratives included Enlightenment views of progress, but also Marxist accounts of the past, evident, for instance, in The Cheviot, which identified two centuries of Scottish history as a period of continuous class conflict. It would be a mistake to be too mechanical here: the relationship between theatre and society is complex. Nevertheless, there are political processes underpinning the shifting nature of Scottish theatre’s representations of the past. Further insights in relation to the specific world of theatre can be gained through the work of Hans-Thies Lehmann. Lehmann, who coined the term ‘post-dramatic theatre’, suggests that the idea of progress in history finds a parallel in classical drama and its basis in the dialectic of conflict and subsequent resolution. He argues, however, that the traumatic events of the twentieth century, not least two world wars and the Holocaust, have problematised the concept of continued historical progress. Consequently, he suggests that this has affected the use of narrative in theatre; as an example, Lehmann notes that writers such as Samuel Beckett, ‘avoided the dramatic form not least of all because of its implied teleology’.9 This shift away from narrative is also highlighted by Patrice Pavis who notes that ‘(authors) and directors have tried to denarrativize their productions, to eliminate every narrative point of reference which could allow for the construction of plot’.10 Glasgow’s Tramway, which opened in 1988, and the Edinburgh International Festival have both played an important role in programming post-dramatic theatre in recent years. Companies like La Fura del Baus, Forced Entertainment and Goat Island have regularly visited Scotland over the last two decades and influenced theatre-makers, who have moved away from traditional narrativebased theatre. Of course, venues like Edinburgh’s Traverse, which describes itself as ‘Scotland’s new writing theatre’, still produces and stages many new plays, but plays in Scotland overall are being produced in decreasing numbers: noticeably, Glasgow’s The Arches, one of Scotland’s most dynamic theatre venues, rarely programmes traditional text-based plays. In this postmodern and/or postdramatic shift away from narrative in favour

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of devised collaborative projects, the text is only one component of what becomes the ultimate performance. In this work, the use of historical settings is notable by its relative absence. Suspect Culture, which worked regularly with David Greig as writer and dramaturg, was Scotland’s leading performance company throughout the 1990s. Although its debut production, One Way Street (1995), explores the impact of the past on the present, much of its work, for instance, Timeless (1997), Airport (1998) and Mainstream (1999) is rooted in the present. Notably, Suspect Culture also staged Futurology (2007), which looked to the implications of current environmental practices on future global societies. Vanishing Point, one of the most celebrated 2000s Scottish performance companies, has produced a combination of devised pieces, like The Lost Ones (2004) where the central character’s past returns to haunt him, and adaptations. However, even when established texts are used as a starting point, they are deployed far from conventionally. Vanishing Point’s adaptation of Stephen Hawkins’ A Brief History of Time (2002) consisted of a series of performances and installations spread geographically across Tramway. Its 2009 version of John Gay’s 1728 satirical The Beggar’s Opera, famously rewritten by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill as The Threepenny Opera in 1928, is located in a post-apocalyptic future. The absence of geographical or temporal specificity is a recurring feature in their work, for instance, in the adaptation of Jan Sˇvankmajer’s surrealist Czech film, Little Otik (2008). A certain trend can also be detected in contemporary performance in Scotland in which the past becomes a burden from which it is necessary to break free, as expressed, for instance, in Reeling and Writhing’s Otter Pie (2006), a very loose adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s classic novel, Sunset Song. There is one moment when the actor playing Jean Guthrie (the mother of the central character, Chris) says, ‘The past is nothing. It is a fabrication best forgotten. Leave it behind. Stop. Forget Sunset Song. Forget me.’11 As increasing numbers of Scottish productions are located in an atemporal present, the past emerges increasingly through the personal and the autobiographical. For instance, in Pauline Goldsmith’s Bright Colours Only (2001), the personal memories of the author’s father’s death are intertwined with her recollections of the killing of two British soldiers at a Republican funeral in the north of Ireland in 1987, which occurred on the same day. There is, therefore, a tendency for post-dramatic theatre to limit its engagement with the past to relatively recent events, in contrast to the more traditional work of playwrights who draw more widely on the past.

The Thread of History Despite this shift from traditional playmaking, the past has still proved useful to some of Scotland’s most notable writers, albeit in decreasing number. It is

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possible, moreover, to locate the themes outlined in the end of history debate in Gregory Burke’s debut play Gagarin Way (2001), which takes its name from the street in West Fife named after the Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin. In the play, the two central characters, Gary and Eddie, kidnap a business executive with the intention of raising a ransom. Both characters’ grandfathers were political – Gary’s was a communist from Fife who had fought in the Spanish Civil War, while Eddie’s was from ‘(t)he Soviet Socialist Republic ay Lumphinnans’,12 the village in which Gagarin Way is located. Gary retains a radical political perspective and attempts to construct his own grand narrative of Scottish labour-movement history from the 1921 lockout of the pits to the 1926 General Strike, however, Eddie interrupts, ‘That shite’s all dead and buried. It’s no the fucking twenties anymore’ (p. 69). Later Eddie adds, ‘There’s nothing tay fight against and this shite’s fucking over’ (p. 90), consigning, in the process, class politics to the proverbial dustbin of history. David Greig, Scotland’s most celebrated and prolific contemporary playwright, has also turned frequently to pasts both factual and fictional. The Cosmonaut’s Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union (1999), for instance, is set in the closing days of the former Soviet Union. In The Speculator (1999) he plays fast and loose with the actual events surrounding the life of Scots financier, John Law. Set in Paris in the spring and summer of 1720, the play turns to both the ancient world of feudal France and the New World in the United States. Greig states that he ‘borrowed very liberally from the bank of history’,13 although, in highlighting his approach towards the past, he also adds, ‘Some of what happens is true. The rest is merely speculation.’ In Victoria (2000), a one-act play set in the Highlands in 1936, 1976 and 1996, he reflects on the changing nature of politics, both local and global. Greig also touches on the question of memory in Pyrenees, a play in which the central character has seemingly lost his memory, and turns his attention to dramatic imaginings of eleventh-century Scotland in Dunsinane (2009), perhaps best described as a sequel to Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Other writers have certainly used the past in different ways: David Harrower’s Presence (2001) is a fictionalised account of The Beatles’ early years in Hamburg, while Dark Earth (2003), which is set in the present in the vicinity of the Roman-built Antonine Wall, explores the past’s impact on the present through an exploration of the influence of topography and landscape. Harrower’s most successful work to date, Blackbird (2005), a story of an exploitative sexual relationship, is also set in the present, but, again, the play explores the way that events from the past return to haunt the present. Historical events beyond Scotland’s borders have also been dramatised: Zinnie Harris’ Further than the Furthest Thing (2000) begins in 1961 in

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a remote island in the South Atlantic when a volcanic eruption forces the island’s inhabitants to be evacuated to Southampton, England, where the second Act takes place. Based on the author’s childhood experience, she comments ‘In many ways I stole the real Tristan de Cunha to feed my imagination, and emerged gorged, to write into existence a host of characters and events that never happened.’14 Nicola McCartney’s Heritage, set between 1914 and 1920 in the fictional township of Stanley in Saskatchewan, Canada, explores Irish sectarian conflict. At one point Michael, a thirdgeneration Canadian of Irish Catholic descent, states, ‘Each generation for the past three hundred years has risen up to free our land of the British. It’s tradition.’15 Earlier the perils of being locked into the traditions of the past are made explicit by Michael’s father, Peter, who states, ‘History’s more dangerous a friend than an enemy’ (p. 33). McCartney has also turned her attention to various historical events: the abuse of children in the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland, Laundry (1996); Britain during World War Two in a play for children about the lives of children, Lifeboat (2002); and in For What We Are About To Receive (2000), a three-act play dealing with familial conflict, which is set in the present, the 1980s and 1950s respectively. Other notable plays set in the past include the work of Theatre Babel who produced a series of plays from classical antiquity, but it is a body of work significantly different from the politicised engagement with the past in the plays of the 1970s and 1980s. Rona Munro’s The Last Witch (2009), a fictional exploration of the real-life story of Janet Horne, the last woman in Britain to be burnt as a witch, is set in the Highland town of Dornoch in 1727. Staged at Rosslyn Chapel, Douglas Maxwell’s verse drama, The Ballad of James II (2007), is set in 1452 and recounts the conflict between a young James II and his enemy, the Earl of Douglas, also touching on conflict within his family and his impending mental illness. Judy Steel’s The Journey of Jeannie Deans (2007) based on a section of Sir Walter Scott’s novel, The Heart of Midlothian, tells the fictional tale of the titular character who becomes embroiled in the notorious Porteous Riots in Edinburgh in 1736; this is only one of a number of adaptations of Scottish historical literary classics that she has written. There have also been English-language versions of work from other countries; for instance Chris Dolan’s adaptation of Bernard Schlink’s post-Holocaust drama novel, The Reader (2000), and Nilo Cruz and Catalina Botello’s adaptation of José Sanchis Sinisterra’s Spanish Civil War tragic-comedy, Ay Carmela! (2001). Notably, however, when the National of Theatre of Scotland (NTS) staged Rona Munro’s adaptation of Federico García Lorca’s The House of Bernada Alba (2009), the setting was moved from 1930s Spain to contemporary Scotland. In short, in recent decades the use of history, including personal history, has been as a means of exploring a wider range of contemporary issues than its predominantly political use in theatre in the

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1970s and 1980s. This is not to say that politics is neglected but that the use of history has become more complex. Matthew Zajac’s use of his father’s personal history in The Tailor of Inverness (2008), for example, explores the ambiguousness of his father’s war experience in Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Italy to examine the disruption and confusion of war and the hidden secrets of family life. One production that has pushed both the past and politics back to the centre of Scottish theatre is the NTS’s Black Watch by Gregory Burke, which is the most successful Scottish theatre production of recent years. Burke had previously written about the families of the British Army in The Straits (2002), which is set in Gibraltar during the Falklands War. Black Watch, however, is based on interviews with members of the eponymous Scottish army regiment in 2004, a time when it was still fighting in Iraq, and was also being forcibly integrated into the Royal Highland Regiment. In Black Watch the soldiers’ stories are collected, ordered and placed within a broader historical narrative, ‘The Golden Thread’, the regiment’s grand-narrative of their own 300-year history. In one scene the soldiers discuss the history that they are taught by the army: WRITER GRANTY ROSSCO CAMMY

So the history’s important? They drum it intay you fay the first day. Fucking non-fucking stop. That’s what a regiment is ay? It’s history. The Golden Thread. That’s what the old timers go on about. It’s what connects the past, the present, the future [. . .]16

In one beautifully choreographed sequence, a young soldier, Cammy, recites all of the countries to which the regiment toured, yet there is no mention of the regiment’s controversial tours of duty in Ireland. Indeed, the play, perhaps like the Golden Thread, is based on the erasure of the problematic aspects of the regiment’s imperial past. So, although highly critical of the Iraq war, the general thrust is one that is at ease with the official Golden Thread mythology. There are moments when this approach is disrupted: in one scene Lord Elgin appears, wielding the sword of Robert the Bruce, as the soldiers sit in the present in civilian clothes and he attempts to enlist them in World War One. The soldiers join up because, as they say, ‘the pits are fucked’, thus suggesting a reference not to 1914 when there were around one million miners, but to the defeat of the 1984/85 Miners Strike and the subsequent decimation of mining areas throughout Britain. This scene highlights the way that national myths are propagated; on the whole, however, Black Watch does not deconstruct the mythology promoted by the British Army, but develops and indeed builds on it. In the scale of its historical sweep and

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its innovative staging, Black Watch invites comparison with The Cheviot; its politics, however, are a world apart from McGrath’s radicalism.17 The National Theatre of Scotland, a significant success since its launch in 2006, has, in common with most Scottish contemporary theatre, placed more emphasis on grappling with present complexities than past. However, it also restaged Elizabeth Gordon Quinn in 2006 and commissioned Alistair Beaton to write Caledonia (2010), premièred at the 2010 Edinburgh International Festival. Set at the end of the seventeenth century, Caledonia is a political satire set during the spectacularly unsuccessful attempt to create a Scottish colony in Darien, Panama, whose failure was a key factor behind the 1707 Treaty of Union. Its production signifies a partial refocusing on the past in Scottish theatre.

Conclusion: The Future of the Past To conclude, it is possible to discern a tendency in Scottish theatre since the 1990s moving away from both plays and the past. Newer, younger writers with a political bent appear less inclined to visit the past as part of their political interventions and are more likely to engage with present-day politics. This is apparent, for instance, in Kieran Hurley’s autobiographical performance Hitch (2009), charting his personal journey hitchhiking to the 2008 G8 protests in Genoa and, in the process, exploring what it means to be politically engaged in the twenty-first century. Yet it is possible to detect a new re-engagement with history in Scottish culture. More generally this is exemplified by the popularity of the BBC television ten-part documentary series, A History of Scotland (BBC Scotland: 2008–9), apparently embodying a desire for a greater understanding of Scotland’s past in popular culture, evidenced in Scottish theatre by the success of Black Watch.18 Writing of 1970s and 1980s theatre-makers, Ian Brown notes that ‘[t]he concern with history shown by contemporary Scottish playwrights is absolutely rooted in their concern with the present and developing state of their nation’.19 In the long shadow cast by the 2008 economic crisis, and as debates continue over Scotland’s constitutional relationship with the UK under a newly-elected right-wing British government, it will be no surprise if Scottish theatre practitioners return to history in increasing number as they attempt to find episodes and stories from the past that resonate in the present.20

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CHAPT ER E IG H T

Translated Drama in Scotland John Corbett

Translation destabilises the certainties of Scottish literary studies, not least when those studies are intent on celebrating or interrogating national cultural traditions. ‘English’ literature, of course, is notoriously omnivorous: American, African, Australasian, Caribbean, Indian, Irish and a host of other national traditions fall into its cavernous maw, alongside alternative literary configurations defined by genre, theme or social group. Indeed, literatures in ‘minority’ languages like Yiddish and Gaelic have a much greater anglophone audience than they would have for work in their original tongues, and so are often seamlessly assimilated into the ‘English’ literary canon. The relationship that Gaelic drama enters into with English is therefore ambivalent: the possibility of anglophone performance, in whole or in part, potentially increases the audience for Gaelic drama but diminishes its reason for being. Plays like Roghainn na Daoine (2010), devised by Theatre Hebrides, are performed in larger venues such as the Eden Court in Inverness, with simultaneous translation through headphones. Given the limited funding available for Gaelic drama and the mission of companies like Theatre Hebrides to represent and serve the Gaelic-speaking community, performances tend to focus on newly-commissioned work drawn from local traditions and concerns. Roghainn na Daoine, for example, is set in the 1840s, and portrays an island woman’s struggle with the conflicting demands of religious faith and personal aspiration. That said, some translated drama does exist; for example, Tosg produced An t-Àite ‘s Àille (2006) a version of a short, comic piece for children, The Perfect Spot, originally performed in English by Arts in Motion. Even so, we await a sustained tradition of canonical drama translated into Gaelic, and translation out of Gaelic remains reliant on cumbersome practices involving subtitles or headphones, and raises issues that are politically sensitive. Political issues are endemic to any more general discussion of translation and Scottish literature. How, for example, does Scottish drama engage with translated work that is by its very nature ‘un-Scottish’? If native drama affords the opportunity for the ethos of a community to be represented, positively

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or negatively, on stage, then translated drama gives an audience the chance to encounter ‘otherness’. Admittedly, Scottish drama is and always has been a mongrel art, drawing its plots and characters from the wider repertoire of European and, later, world theatre. Sir David Lyndsay of the Mount used his knowledge of French farces for several of the episodes in Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis,1 and the early, anonymous comedy Philotus appropriated its plot from a tale published in England in 1581, and its stock characters from classical sources such as Terence and Plautus alongside more contemporary Italianate comedies.2 The earliest extant Scottish play translation, Pamphilus, speakand of lufe by John Burel, survives in an edition published around 1590. Burel’s source is an influential Latin comedy, Pamphilus, de amore, written around the beginning of the twelfth century and used subsequently as a school text throughout Europe.3 Burel’s Preface acknowledges that his translation aims for accessibility rather than high-flown rhetoric, and his straightforward Scots dialogue has found a modern champion in Jamie Reid Baxter, who has edited the text, organised non-professional productions and researched Burel’s oeuvre.4 Nevertheless, as Findlay notes, the length of the monologues and dialogues suggests that Burel originally intended the play as a closet drama, for reading rather than production.5 The Latin source, its popularity as a school text, and the likely court associations of Burel, who dedicated the text to the Duke of Lennox, link this translation to that of Gavin Douglas’ Aeneid, some eighty years earlier. Douglas, too, produced an earthy, Scots version of a Latin classic, with one eye at least on its use in ‘grammar schules’. The stuttering germination and late blossoming of drama in Scotland between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries found an increasing number of occasions for native audiences to encounter ‘otherness’ in a variety of guises. In the absence of a continuous native tradition in earlier centuries, the ecology of translated drama in Scotland must admit English productions of European dramas, transported north and presented for local consumption. The suppression of much Scottish theatre in the seventeenth and even the early eighteenth centuries, described in Ian Brown’s chapter in the present volume, means that most Scottish dramatists who prospered did so in London, while fewer ventured into the field of translation, and even fewer records of their efforts survive. Adrienne Scullion records that in 1759 Eleonore Cathcart, Lady Houston, wrote The Coquettes; or, the Gallant in the Closet, based on a play by Thomas Corneille, brother of the more famous Pierre, an episode discussed by Ian Brown.6 Thanks to the efforts of her cousin, James Boswell, the play enjoyed a production; however, its reception was poor. A taste for francophone work in translation is, nonetheless, clearly evident in plays produced in the nineteenth century, as recorded in the Scottish Theatre Archive.7 There, we find English versions of Armand

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D’Artois’ Angeline, ou La Champenoise, Augustin Eugène Scribe’s comedy Bertrand et Suzette, ou Le Mariage de Raison and Tartuffe, ou L’ imposteur, by Molière, all produced at the Edinburgh Theatre Royal in 1828. Again in 1827–8, there are performances at the Theatre Royal in Edinburgh of a play, or plays, variously referred to as Der Freischultz, or the Spectre Huntsman of Bavaria; Der Freischutz; and Der Fryshot – all apparently based on the German romantic opera by Carl von Weber, premièred in 1821. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, further adaptations from French and German sources are evident in the Scottish Theatre Archive records. In 1886, the St James Theatre Company of London produced an adaptation by Ernest Warren of Antoinette Rigaud, a comedy by Raymond Deslandes, at the Royal Lyceum. Eugène Scribe’s work appears regularly in Scotland, for example in an English-language production, at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum in 1884, of a play, Little Fra Diavolo, derived from an opera, Fra Diavolo, composed by Daniel Auber with a libretto by Scribe, and in 1885 in an adaptation of Adrienne Lecouvreur, a play co-written with Ernest Legouvé. Overall, the translations and adaptations that appear on the nineteenth-century Scottish stage show a nation that is connected, often via travelling companies, to the fashions and tastes of the European and North American theatre-going bourgeoisie. The fashion was for romantic comedies, or equally romantic tragedies, tales of distant heroism and passionate derring-do. The works themselves have seldom survived into the theatrical canon of later centuries, the early translation of Molière being a notable exception. In the nineteenth century, then, Scottish involvement in translated drama seems to have been largely restricted to consumption by audiences rather than production by dramatists. As Scottish theatrical companies became more established in the twentieth century, we see a more consistent and adventurous engagement of Scottish directors and dramatists with their older and contemporary counterparts in other cultures. At the same time, productions staged in Scotland by touring companies became more challenging: in 1910 Alexandre Bisson’s melodrama Madame X was performed in English at the Royal Lyceum, in the same year that Sarah Bernhardt performed it in Paris and New York, and in 1922 Mrs Patrick Campbell’s Theatre Company produced Hedda Gabler, again at the Royal Lyceum, in Sir Edmund Gosse’s translation, with Mrs Campbell in the lead role. The Curtain Theatre Company, an amateur group founded in 1933 with the express purpose of encouraging Scottish playwrights, also produced a version of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler in 1938, at the Lyric Theatre in Glasgow, with Duncan Macrae directing. By the time of the formation of the left-wing Unity Theatre Company in 1941, translation of the contemporary canon of politically provocative drama was an essential part of a dramatic project that embraced native playwrights. As Cordelia Oliver records:

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john cor b et t Gorky, Ibsen, Lorca, O’Casey, Lope de Vega kept company in the Unity repertoire with local writers like Robert McLellan, Ena Lamont Stewart and Benedick Scott. Here, if anywhere, would seem to have been the potential source of a strong indigenous theatre, but relating itself more to Europe than the south of England.8

The late 1940s also bore witness to a surge in translation of drama into Scots, an option that few translators had previously taken, although in 1935 the Scottish National Players did present, in theatres from Lossiemouth to Dollar, a Scotticised version of Emlyn Williams’ The Late Christopher Bean, a translation of René Fauchois’ recent three-act comedy Prenez garde à la peinture. On a more sombre note, Robert Mitchell of Glasgow Unity Theatre produced a Scots version of Maxim Gorky’s The Lower Depths, first performed in 1945 and revived in 1947. However, the trigger for the later expansion of drama translation into Scots was the success of Robert Kemp’s joyous prose adaptation of Molière’s L’École des femmes, rendered as Let Wives Tak Tent and produced by the Gateway Theatre in 1948 with Duncan Macrae in the lead role. Inspired by Louis Jouvet’s Edinburgh Festival production in 1947, Kemp’s script has become the most-produced of Scots drama translations9 and the cycle of ‘MacMolières’ that it inspired came full circle in 2008 with the retranslation of L’École des femmes into rhyming Scots by Liz Lochhead. This adaptation, Educating Agnes, with its nod to Willy Russell, was produced by Theatre Babel, a Glasgow-based company founded in 1994 with the express purpose of reinterpreting the canon of world theatre. In between the two L’Écoles des femmes came a gaggle of other Molière translations.10 The reasons for the success of Molière in Scots have been much rehearsed: the seventeenth-century settings allow the audience to accept a rich Scots stage dialect; the larger-than-life characters and farcical commedia-derived elements align neatly with a Scottish love of pantomime; the come-uppance of hypocritical, miserly, misanthropic or hypochondriac authority figures plays well to an audience drawn from a wider range of social classes; and the plays have been well served by adept translators such as Robert Kemp, Victor Carin, Hector Macmillan and Liz Lochhead. Indeed, the treatment of Molière and his language varies considerably between his adapters, from the ‘stage Lallans’ of Kemp to the lightly-Scotticised urban demotic of Liz Lochhead’s Miseryguts (2002) discussed below. Translations of Molière’s prolific Italian follower, Goldoni, into Scots (as well as English) have followed in the wake of the Molière adaptations, with productions of Victor Carin’s A Servant o’ Twa Maisters (1965) and Antonia Sansica Stott and Marjorie Greig’s Weemen Strategem (1987) and Where Love Steps In (1990). The space opened up by the success of these translations afforded greater variety in the translators’ use of sources. Victor Carin, for example, enjoyed success

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not only with the Franco-Italian sources of Molière and Goldoni but also with translations of Heinrich von Kleist’s Der zerbrochene Krug (The Chippit Chantie, 1968) and Ludvig Holberg’s Den Sundesløse (A Muckle Steer, 1976). The twentieth-century, post-war ‘Lallans’ movement also produced translators with an interest in raising the prestige of Scots by adapting classical texts, beginning with Douglas Young’s adaptations, in 1958 and 1959 respectively, of The Puddocks and The Burdies, from the Aristophanic comedies, The Frogs and The Birds.11 The success of amateur productions of these two translations by St Andrews’ University’s ‘The Reid Gouns’ at the Byre Theatre led to a professional production of the latter at the Edinburgh Festival in 1966. Subsequent Scots versions of ‘classical’ texts include Ian Brown’s 1969 version of Antigone, after Sophocles and Jean Anouilh, and Bill Dunlop’s Klytemnestra’s Bairns (1993), from Aeschylus’ Oresteia. Latterly, Liz Lochhead has adapted Euripides’ Medea (2000) and combined Sophocles and Euripides’ Oedipus, Jokasta and Antigone as a single play, Thebans (2003). Lochhead’s ‘Greek’ adaptations are not as densely Scots as her versions of Molière, or even her reworking of Chekhov’s Three Sisters (2000). The Scots in the Greek plays is largely confined to occasional phrases or the dialogue of particular characters, such as the Guard in Thebans; however, the adaptations as performed achieve Theatre Babel’s aim to ‘rearticulate classical drama with a Scottish voice’.12 The translations of the classical canon in the second half of the twentieth century show a developing dialogue between classical Greece and contemporary Scotland. I have argued elsewhere, particularly with respect to translations into Scots, that the watershed of devolution marks a move away from the use of the classical canon to affirm the vibrancy of the language, towards a more critical mode. The shift in the nature of the ‘classical’ adaptations of drama into Scots in the years following Scottish devolution is consonant with a repositioning of Scotland, from an internally colonised nation on the periphery of European civilisation, to a reinstated nation, once more in control of its own, but still troubled destiny.13 Edwin Morgan’s densely Scots version of Jean Racine’s Phèdre, reimagined as Phaedra (2000) fits this pattern. In Medea and Phaedra, the millennium was marked by classicising translations that represent the nation-state as wracked by sexual tension, jealousy, ethnic prejudices and ultra-violence. The fashion for Scottish dramatists using Greek tragedy as a resource from which to confront sexual and political issues remains a constant fixture, abroad and at home, and began in the 1970s turmoil of identity politics. London-based Prospect Theatre Company toured Ian Brown’s 1971 English-language version, growing out of 1960s drug-based liberation and Dionysian politics, of Euripides’ The Bacchae throughout the UK. His revised version for Welsh company Dalier Sylw for a site-specific production, Bacchai, at the 1991 Cardiff Festival focused on women’s power. While the

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choruses were here played in the original Greek, Brown’s text alternated in performances with a Welsh version of the scenes. More recently, David Greig adapted The Bacchae for the National Theatre of Scotland, ‘from a literal translation’ by Ian Ruffell, a lecturer in Greek at Glasgow University (2007). This production was dominated by a star performance by Alan Cumming, whose extravagant costumes, ambivalent sexuality and teasing of the audience contributed to his reading of the role as a pantomime deity: For your benefit I appear, In human form. Like you. Fleshy. Man? Woman? It was a close-run thing. I chose man. What do you think?14

If the post-devolution years have been marked by notable translations of classical drama, by contrast the years leading up to devolution, from the 1970s onwards, were notable for translations of contemporary drama. In this period, drama translators recovered and renewed the spirit of Glasgow Unity, forming cultural alliances with foreign dramatists who shared their passionate interest in combining the personal and the political. The outstanding translators of this period are Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay, the latter also a distinguished commentator, editor and scholar of Scottish theatre history. In a survey of a quarter of a century of Scottish theatre translations, 1970–95, Findlay notes the importance of the Citizens’ Theatre in Glasgow and the Traverse in Edinburgh as receptive to translated drama, and suggests that the international reputation of each company during this period was in large part due to their openness to producing classic and contemporary theatre in translation. Findlay also celebrates a cultural confidence abroad in Scottish theatre – a confidence, he suggests, that grew with the establishment of a secure, indigenous dramatic tradition combined with ‘a wish to forge direct contact with contemporary happenings in foreign theatre’.15 Notable Scotslanguage translations of contemporary playwrights include Bowman and Findlay’s versions of the oeuvre of Québécois dramatist, Michel Tremblay, as well as work by other Franco-Canadian writers represented by JeanneMance Delisle’s The Reel of the Hanged Man (2000); Findlay’s own versions of Gerhart Hauptmann’s The Weavers (1997) and Raymond Cousse’s Bairn’s Bothers (2000, from Enfantillages); Stephen Mulrine’s translation of Cinzano (1989) by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya; and various plays by Dario Fo, whose anarchic political satires resonated with audiences in the climate of a rightwing Conservative party governing a resolutely left-leaning Scotland. One of the translations of Dario Fo, Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! (1990) by Alex Norton, spoke directly to Scotland’s resistance to the imposition in Scotland of a new and unpopular way of funding local government, the ‘community charge’ or

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‘poll tax’. Other Scottish versions of Fo are discussed by Joseph Farrell16 and Stuart Hood has also reflected on his own translation practice when adapting Fo’s Mistero Buffo into Scots.17 The use of translated drama as a distorting mirror in which to reflect the corruptions of Scottish local government was evident also in John Byrne’s version of Gogol’s The Government Inspector (1998). The geographical reach of the translations has always been notable – the sites of premières extend from the urban centres of Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh to the smaller theatrical centres of Mull, Perth, Pitlochry and St Andrews. Indeed, Byrne’s version of Gogol opened at the Almeida Theatre in London before touring in Scotland. In parallel with the strain of politically-charged, contemporary translations that Findlay clearly favoured was the continuing stream of rambunctious period comedies, often still deriving from Molière, the most successful of which was Liz Lochhead’s Scots language version of Tartuffe (1986). Benefiting from allusions that situate the central character as a French cousin to Burns’s Holy Willie, this is regularly revived. Sitting less easily alongside these identifiably Scottish translations is a substantial body of work by Scotland’s most prolific professional theatre translator, Robert David MacDonald, Citizens’ Theatre resident dramaturg and co-director from 1971 to 2003. In his own survey, Findlay acknowledges MacDonald’s achievement, while recognising that the consistent use of a form of Standard English that MacDonald himself termed ‘gutter mandarin’ distances his work from the Scots-language translations to which Findlay’s own work contributes.18 The sheer range and quantity of MacDonald’s output is astonishing: during his career, he translated over seventy plays and operas by Beaumarchais, Chekhov, Cocteau, Brecht, Genet, Goethe, Gogol, Goldoni, Hochhuth, Ibsen, Lorca, Molière, Pirandello, Racine, Schiller and Wedekind, often for the Citizens but also for other British and American companies. His Citizens translations cannot be considered outwith the context of his partnership with the iconoclastic Giles Havergal and Philip Prowse, his fellow directors for over thirty years. Together, they established a dramatic style that Liz Lochhead has described as both visually exciting and, for her, problematically ‘other’: these were guys, they were gay, they were designers, they were English, they were everything that theatre was, you know, and I didn’t mind paying my money and going to see it and I loved it, it was great.19

The ‘otherness’ of the Citizens’ triumvirate, or at least their perceived Englishness, is complicated by the fact that Havergal was born in Edinburgh and MacDonald in Elgin. Even so, Lochhead’s reminiscences of theatregoing as an art-school student in the 1970s offer a glimpse of the conditions

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in which MacDonald’s translations prospered and the exotic pleasures they afforded. The Citizens company mined European drama as a rich resource for striking camp, romantic attitudes – many of MacDonald’s heroes and heroines, whether Mary Stuart or Torquato Tasso, are self-destructive, artistic figures suffocated by the conventions of bourgeois society. The plays were often brilliantly designed and directed, and their accessibility was guaranteed by a cheap pricing policy that attracted a loyal student audience as well as locals willing to risk fifty pence on the chance of being provoked, titillated, outraged or bored. The theatre critic, Cordelia Oliver, testifies to the profound affection and distaste the Citizens’ output over this period aroused. In her history of the theatre, she records MacDonald’s own view of his translating practice: In the beginning you really do have to get down every single word in the original text. For anyone who is a professional linguist – and don’t forget I was trained on reports about the wheat yield in the Argentine where there is no ‘spirit’ and if you get the letter wrong you are in real trouble – there is a certain point d’honneur that you get it right. After that, of course, you can go back and tease out the web to make room for manoeuvring.20

MacDonald goes on to state that this ‘manoeuvring’ is primarily concerned with fitting a translated play to the talents of the cast, and ‘to see that the actor is presented to the audience in the most interesting, advantageous and accessible light possible’.21 In this respect, the role in the history of Scottish drama of the Citizens’ productions of European drama in the late twentieth century can be viewed as an extension of that of nineteenth-century visiting companies. They provided an arena where Scottish audiences (in this case, predominantly young Scottish audiences) could savour an engagement with another world. On the one hand, the encounter extends and makes exotic the aesthetic experience of the home-grown audience; on the other hand, many might have shared Liz Lochhead’s perception that ‘I didn’t think playwrights were Scottish.’22 Significantly, her own early attempts at playwriting, Blood and Ice (1982) and Dracula (1985) bear traces of the Citizens’ style, both in their doomed Gothic romanticism and their standard English diction. The gradual discovery of her Scots voice as a playwright she owes to seeing The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil (1973) and to working with fellow playwright and poet, Marcella Evaristi, on a joint revue, Sugar and Spite (1978). Lochhead’s ‘Scottish’ voice found full expression in her translation of Tartuffe (1986), closely followed by her original play, Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off (1987), which makes a fascinating companion piece to MacDonald’s English version of Schiller’s Mary Stuart (1986). The different translation strategies of MacDonald and Lochhead neatly

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illustrate the options open to the Scottish drama translator. The translator assumes the role of mediator, not only between languages but also between theatrical conventions and cultures. It is a truism of translation studies that, in this role, the translator may decide to produce a play-script that ‘domesticates’ the source text, drawing it into the ecosystem of the host culture. A bravura example of this strategy is Liz Lochhead’s Miseryguts (2002), which transforms the setting of Molière’s Le Misanthrope from seventeenth-century France to Scotland in the early years of devolutionary government under Labour. Molière’s central character, the aristocratic Alceste, becomes, in Lochhead’s adaptation, media commentator Alex Frew, whose professionally satirical perspective on subjects such as the new breed of MSPs has hardened into a jaundiced view of humankind in general. In the opening scene, for example, Philinte upbraids Alceste for his behaviour towards fellow courtiers. In Lochhead’s parallel universe, Phil’s similar argument with Alex makes thinly-veiled contemporary references to personalities like television news and current affairs presenters, Mary Marquis and Kirsty Wark: PHILINTE

Quoi? vous iriez dire à la vieille Émilie Qu’a son âge il sied mal de faire la jolie, Et que le blanc qu’elle a scandalise chacun? ALCESTE Sans doute. PHILINTE À Dorilas, qu’il est trop importun Et qu’il n’est, à la cour, oreille qu’il ne lasse À conter sa bravoure et l’éclat de sa race? ALCESTE Fort bien.23 (PHILINTE What? Would you tell old Emilie that at her age it ill suits her to play the beauty, and that the make-up she uses disgusts everyone? ALCESTE Without doubt. PHILINTE Or Dorilas that he is too tiresome, and that there is no-one, at court, who isn’t fed up hearing him boast of his courage or the brilliance of his ancestry?) PHIL

ALEX PHIL

ALEX

You told Darlinda Duke she trowels on the slap as thickly as the antique RP vowels and that she’s well past her sell-by date as a presenter? Yup! Yon new Holyrood correspondent, you’re his prime tormentor! Sure, the boy made an arse of it at first, eh? But did you have to call him the Anti-Kirsty? Absolutely.24

Domesticating drama translations offer their audiences a double perspective: here, Lochhead affords audiences the opportunity to glimpse the unfamiliar world of Molière’s back-biting courtier through the distorting lens of

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contemporary Scottish culture, whilst drawing inspiration from the plot, rhyme and wit of the original to satirise that very culture. Domesticating translations, then, at their most extreme, appropriate the source text, assimilating them into the host culture, and so mask their difference. Alternatively, ‘foreignising’ translations adopt a set of distancing strategies to remind audiences that what they are experiencing is the product of another culture. Venuti discusses some of the strategies that might be used in such translations, for example archaic or dialectal vocabulary, and untranslated names and other terms.25 In Robert David MacDonald’s The Battlefield (1980), a version of Goldoni’s La Guerra, the original setting of eighteenth-century Italy is maintained, and the foreignness of the source is marked in the characters’ names, their forms of address, oaths, occasional references to Italian material culture and the slightly mannered English dialogue: FERDINANDO CONTE

FERDINANDO CONTE FAUSTINO

Conte, how fares the game? Excellent well, my dear: I shall now proceed, with the blessing of Heaven, to break the bank. Wait! Double or quits on the king. Bravo! Corraggio! Let me risk two zecchini.26

This is a technique that MacDonald adopts in other translations, including Pirandello’s Enrico Four (1990). In a ‘Translator’s Note’ to the latter, he offers a succinct justification for the use of foreignising techniques: Enrico is a play that could not have been written about or by any but Italians, and I hope my leaving in Italian of forms of address, oaths, interjections and fillers, will be enough to nudge the reader occasionally back from a feeling that it is all taking place in the Home Counties.27

Thus, when viewing The Battlefield or Enrico Four the members of the audience can be in no doubt that they are witnessing events set in eighteenth- or twentieth-century Italy. Yet, of course, the verisimilitude is as much a theatrical illusion as the resetting of Molière’s courtly milieu to the shark-pool of Holyrood’s political and media salons. MacDonald acknowledges that while he begins each of his translations with a literal rendering of the source text, all play-scripts go through radical changes in the production process.28 The ‘foreignising’ of translated drama, then, is not to be regarded as a guarantee of fidelity to an ‘authentic’ original; rather it serves as a reminder that the experience being offered to the audience is, as MacDonald notes in the passage quoted above, an ‘exotic, alternative world’.29

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Scottish translations further complicate the already complex nature of ‘domesticating’ and ‘foreignising’ practices. On the Scottish stage, ‘dialect’ is usually a mode of domestication rather than foreignisation, though much depends on the dramatic medium employed. Scottish drama translations, then, blur the black-and-white distinction proposed by Venuti of ‘invisible’ English versus ‘visible’ dialect translations. Neither can we substitute for this distinction a ‘domestic’ Scots versus a ‘foreign’ English – as dramatic languages, Scots and English have histories that are too nuanced, polyphonous and contrary to yield easily to binary categorisations. The tension between domestication and foreignising and the way in which translators deal with this tension inform all Scottish drama translations. Some drama translators, such as Findlay and Bowman, insist on retaining a Québécois setting and francophone names in their broad Scots renderings of the plays of Michel Tremblay, in translations such as The Guid Sisters (1988), The Real Wurld (1991), The House Among the Stars (1992) and A Solemn Mass for a Full Moon in Summer (2000). The type of Scots used in these plays also varies. The Guid Sisters was performed (and published) in different versions that owe more to the regional varieties of West Fife and Glasgow, while The House Among the Stars differentiates between three different generations of the same family by rendering their speech as a ‘lyrical, rural’ Scots, an ‘urban-demotic’ Scots and a standard Scottish English respectively.30 In these plays, foreignness and domesticity are maintained in tension. Québécois society both is and is not equivalent to Scottish society: we see others as if they were ourselves, but one does not become the other. A similar tension is held in Peter Arnott’s lively, densely Scots version of Brecht’s Mr Puntila and His Man Matti (1999) and in Edwin Morgan’s celebrated version of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac (1992). The plight of the heroic but deformed outsider in Paris is discussed by Kinloch: It is easy enough to forget – until Cyrano reminds you – that, in standard English versions, Cyrano is a Gascon from Gascony and not Parisian. Morgan’s decision to let him speak mainly in Scots is tantamount to giving his Gascon identity and voice back to him. Much of the pleasure and shock we get from Rostand’s play comes from the pressure that Cyrano puts on standard French.31

Similarly, as Kinloch shows in detail, Morgan’s densely witty wordplay and extravagant flytings connect with a long Scots poetic tradition while putting pressure on Standard English. Scottish audiences look in the mirror of the play and, like Cyrano, find a distorted reflection of their self-image. More recent translations, for the National Theatre of Scotland, have found the tension between foreign and domestic difficult to negotiate. David Greig’s English adaptation of The Bacchae (2007), from a literal translation

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by Ian Ruffell, was most remarkable, as noted above, as a vehicle for its star, Alan Cumming, and, as such, recalled the camp, anglophone translations of Robert David MacDonald. Another star turn, by actress Siobhan Redmond, dominated Rona Munro’s version of Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba (2009). Munro’s version resituates the play in the east end of Glasgow, where Redmond’s matriarch lays down the law to her rebellious daughters. The result is an awkward amalgam of Mafia drama, Spanish lyricism and homeknit soap opera delivered in colloquial English laced with occasional Scots terms.32 Not all translations of masterpieces are masterpieces, just as not all productions of canonical dramas take your breath away. However, as this chapter has shown, the Scottish stage has at long last made ample space for encounters with world drama, and uses that space to invite reflection on the volatile nature of the native community, as well as on the mores of exotic others.

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CHAP T E R NIN E

J. M. Barrie R. D. S. Jack

No Scottish dramatist has enjoyed more success in his own day than J. M. Barrie. Born in a Kirriemuir tenement house in 1860 he was ninth child and third and youngest son of David Barrie, a handloom weaver and his wife Margaret. When he was buried in 1937, also in Kirrriemuir, it was as a literary baronet, whose services to literature had been marked by his succeeding Thomas Hardy as president of the Society of Authors. For decades his plays dominated the London West End. Indeed, in January 1923, five were simultaneously in production. But he also aimed at being a serious artist whose work would endure. His contemporaries generally accepted that view. William Archer even used it to avoid discussing his work at length, ‘I am content to treat him briefly because he raises no critical question [. . .] no rational [person] doubts that Sir James is a humourist of original and delightful genius.’1 Yet today the media and most biographers dare to be irrational. They find the Oedipal man more interesting than the writer and therefore concentrate on his early autobiographical prose instead of the later dramas on which his claim to fame rests. Peter Pan (1904) alone remains of interest but only as a sign of his artistic limitations in immaturity. Childishness and a mother-complex are unpromising grounds for literary genius and, as there is an additional, nationalist argument that condemns him as an escapist, uninterested in Scotland’s political needs, the reasons for these views need to be examined. George Blake and Harry Geduld are the major proponents of the OedipalEscapist argument.2 But a very different view of Barrie has also emerged. Held now by most literary critics, it is well defined by Peter Hollindale who calls Barrie ‘an elusive writer characteristically engaged in layered composition offsetting mode against mode, and genre against genre and one authorial persona against another in a complex game’.3 This chapter explains why, despite the attraction-in-simplicity of Barrie as ‘childish’ creator of the little boy who would not grow up, this more complex view is the only one to do Barrie justice. The narrow textual foundation on which the Oedipal-Escapist evidence is based is that case’s first weakness. Barrie’s own views on his

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writing and personality are readily available in his university lecture notes, his academic essays, in An Edinburgh Eleven (1889), in his journalism and, especially, in his late memoir of those years, The Greenwood Hat (1930). None of these sources plays a significant role in the reductive argument that still popularly ‘defines’ Barrie’s image today. The way the argument is conducted is also suspect. Geduld does cover all the later dramas. Unfortunately he establishes his Oedipal protoype on an eclectic account of the early prose alone. From then on, he advances only evidence sympathetic to his premises. For him, the early death of Barrie’s brother David is the trauma’s supposed root. Yet, if this is so, why does Barrie the writer refer to it in only two brief accounts? A few pages in A Window in Thrums (1889) and Margaret Ogilvy (1896) recount the story of a skating accident that causes death. Moreover, both cases are imagined differently, and neither accords with known facts. David did not die immediately but a week later from causes unrelated to the accident. What these episodes demonstrate is not the real world but the kind of imaginative sentimentalism that was Barrie’s forte at the time. Other pertinent questions are avoided. Jacqueline Rose’s detailed argument, that ‘it is virtually impossible to place Barrie in relationship to his text’ must also be countered.4 Further, few practitioners still believe in the Oedipal complex as such.5 Biographically, other questions are avoided. Why did this mother-obsessed boy leave home so regularly, even claiming his days at Dumfries Academy as the happiest of his life? Textually, why is it the mythological Pan as Goat God along with a group of female Cupids who originate the planning of the play in Barrie’s Notebooks?6 Or again, why did Barrie take the role of Hook’s predecessor, Captain Swarthy, in the games he played with the Llewelyn Davies children? As for the idea that mother-love defines his personality, one can more easily argue from Margaret Ogilvy, as well as the bachelor prose, that he has Whitman’s histrionic personality which ‘contains multitudes’. That is the personality of his major alter-ego Sentimental Tommy – ‘But if you had as many minds as I have’.7 And if further proof were needed, The Greenwood Hat opens with an account of Anon as child playing the role of a grieving friend by putting on his funereal garb and assuming his identity: ‘So I nobly exchanged clothing with him for an hour, and in mine he disported forgetfully while I sat on a stone in his and lamented with tears, though I knew not for whom.’8 An ideal mind for writing plays replaces one limited to self-analysis. Blake’s evidence is even less convincing. His remit is the prose but even there he analyses only the four works set in Thrums. That he omits the less overtly ‘Scottish’ bachelor novels as well as Barrie’s analytic account of the histrionic personality in Young Men I Have Met (1890) makes his case seem more convincing than it is. The possibility Barrie is aiming at ‘Scotch

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metaphysics’ as well as issues of the day does not occur either, although that is precisely what David Masson, Barrie’s literature professor at Edinburgh, urged on Scottish writers.9 Indeed, Blake’s entire argument amounts to blaming Barrie for doing badly what he was not trying to do. If he had been trying to write serious, political novels in realist vein, then he would rightly be dismissed. But this was the man who openly admitted in his letters and his academic essays that comedy and imagination were his strengths. It is in this upside-down world that Blake’s ‘worst’ writing – escaping frivolously into fancy and rustic retreats – was contrastively viewed as the ‘best’ kind of serious composition by both Masson and his Kirriemuir student. Referring to his idol Shakespeare and advocating the very form Barrie would later adopt for his most famous plays, Masson claims that works that examine this ‘intensely real world’ via an imaginative return to the simpler, rustic past stand at literary achievement’s apex.10 Given this, this chapter pays more attention than usual to the early drama for it was during his dramatic apprenticeship that Barrie worked out those strengths and structures that later characterise his most famous plays. The first principle revealed by the early Victorian plays is the wide modal range across which Barrie tested himself. Even his earliest dramas anticipate this. At Dumfries Academy in 1877 he wrote a melodrama, Bandalero the Bandit. This was followed at Edinburgh by a modernised ‘Pastoral Play’ called Bohemia (1880) and a ‘Commedietta’, Caught Napping (1883), composed when he was with The Nottingham Journal. If the three different modes represented look forward to the wide range of dramatic kinds he attempted, his Dumfries experience as actor-playwright taught him too that composing for the stage was not the same as writing novels. As author, he had given himself the ‘best’ role only to discover the many costume changes that made him choose it meant that he was forever rushing on and off stage! In future he would concentrate on the theatre’s unique potential. He also learned theatre meant teamwork. J. L. Toole, a London actor-manager, saw the Dumfries performance and later helped Barrie open his London career. An irony is that Toole later also taught Barrie how difficult ‘teamwork in action’ could be! Barrie’s preference for imaginative writing and comedy was also established early. His university literature course focused on Shakespeare and the Renaissance. Bohemia, the Edinburgh pastoral comedy he produced was, therefore, precisely the sort of play Masson advocated while the professor’s high opinion of comedy stemmed from his preference for artifice. On Platonic grounds he preferred comic humours as imitations of ‘kinds’ to naturalism’s presentation of individuals. Realism was not banished but subjugated to Idealism. Cervantes and Dickens, therefore, head his prose league of excellence, Shakespeare is their dramatic equivalent because he above

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all interwove realism and idealism seamlessly while using comic means for serious effects.11 Again a Kirriemuir student would follow his guidance. The Barrie who emerges from these early years away from home is very different from the assumed purveyor of work centred on his own maimed personality. This ‘other’ Barrie bravely left Kirriemuir to become a freelance in London in 1885. Already a Cowley quotation, heard as a child, had instilled in him the desire for eternal fame: ‘What can I do to be for ever known, / And make the age to come my own?’12 But his financial circumstances argued powerfully that the popular audience could not be ignored either. In his academic essays on Skelton and Nash, themselves intended for a monograph on British Satire, he argued a critical case for using that mode and its indirect, comic, approach as his best means of uniting transitory and universal, light, medium and serious message.13 Why are these academic influences on his prose and drama ignored? Crucially, Denis Mackail, the most reliable of the early biographers, underestimates the Edinburgh evidence. Using the image of university as prison he depicts Barrie as an unwilling student without admitting that the same man recorded his enthusiasm for Masson’s courses and still actively planned academic books and wrote academic articles many years afterwards.14 Of course, Barrie’s life threatens to be more dramatic than his art in the period 1891– 1900. Then his marriage to the actress Mary Ansell began and, in a sexual sense anyway, ended. His mother and his sister Jane Anne died while his infatuation with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and her boys had just begun. With all this going on, the plays of the time are understandably peripheralised. It is Barrie who dates his dramatic apprenticeship’s end at 1900 with the Ibsenite The Wedding Guest.15 But one should not forget it was his prose that kept him alive in earlier days. The Thrums tale collections Auld Licht Idylls (1888), A Window in Thrums and the memoir, Margaret Ogilvy (1896) do attract much more attention than their quality warrants because they feed into the life story. But five other, equally important, prose pieces not set in Thrums (and hardly ever mentioning mothers!) had all appeared before Toole’s Theatre opened its doors on Ibsen’s Ghost in 1891. There are financial reasons for this theatrical time gap. In a letter to Shakespeare in the Nottingham Journal, Barrie lamented the change from Renaissance days. Now, Shakespeare would have had his first play rejected as not ‘quite up to the mark of the Frivolity’. He would then have to turn to prose as the more financially rewarding mode.16 A year later, Walker, London opened. No Barrie play outdid the 511 performances of its opening run. For those performances he got £250. In the same year, his novel, The Little Minister, grossed £20,000. It is hard to be precise in estimating current values for such earnings, but the play in modern terms earned him approximately £21,000, while the novel earned the equivalent now of over £1.6 million. His

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theatre earnings seem astonishingly low for a West End hit and suggest an unfavourable contract. In any case, it was the novel that gave him financial independence to write those dramas characterising the next period in his artistic development. The two earliest dramas of 1891 confirm the range of modes he attempted. Ibsen’s Ghost is a burlesque, Richard Savage a tragical history. The year 1892 saw two comedies with markedly different structures: Walker, London and The Professor’s Love Story. Variety returned in 1893 with the opera, Jane Annie and the farce, Becky Sharp. More ambitious experimentation came in 1896 when he dramatised The Little Minister. This adds another dramatic ‘kind’ but also anticipates the Romance form of Peter Pan (1904) and Mary Rose (1920). These plays confirm he starts from the Renaissance ideas of a poetic drama based on the principles of imitation and invention. Indeed, only one of these can claim to be Barrie’s own ‘original’ work. Two were collaborations. His dramatisation of the tragic life of the eighteenth-century poet, Richard Savage, was composed with Marriott Watson. It lasted one matinée and was laughed offstage. Later Conan Doyle was called in to help a distraught Barrie complete his only D’Oyly Carte opera, Jane Annie. This venture, complete with early paparazzi clutching Brownie cameras and a golf course setting, was a moderate success. The remaining works, excepting The Wedding Guest, are all modal translations. The parodic effectiveness of Ibsen’s Ghost relies on detailed knowledge of The Doll’s House and The Wild Duck. From a foreign, theatrical influence and one act he turns to full-length comedy and his own prose for Walker, London. Set on a barge, this light comedy wittily explores the disturbing effects wrought on four young lovers by an amorous barber, who passes himself as an African adventurer. Appropriately for tone and topic Barrie lightly echoes sections of When A Man’s Single (1888), An Edinburgh Eleven (1889) and My Lady Nicotine (1890) in creating his play. The Professor’s Love Story has the same light tone but tells a more improbable story – that of a professor who manages to attract both Lucy Whyte, his sensible, down-toearth secretary and the decorative, if useless, Lady Gilding, despite knowing so little of love that he does not recognise its symptoms in his own case. Structurally, the play has a parallel, lower-class sub-plot. In providing this Barrie replaces the varied sources, briefly evoked, in Walker, London, with thorough echoing of a single chapter in Auld Licht Idylls. ‘The Courting of T’nowhead’s Bell’ thus becomes the entire sub-plot’s source. Characteristically, as Barrie moves towards ‘originality’ in The Wedding Guest, the translation tests become more ambitious. In Becky Sharp he unwisely tries to convert Thackeray’s mammoth novel into a one-act farce. He does focus on the final chapters and convey earlier knowledge economically, but the play won little critical favour. By contrast his equally ambitious

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stage translation of his own three-volume novel The Little Minister (1896) was judged a success and his skills as ‘translator’ widely appreciated. This was because he successfully reduced a multi-stranded narrative into dramatic myth’s simpler structures. He also introduced a mythic dimension in the mysterious character of his heroine and by centring the romance round bridges, wells and forests – all traditional portals to the otherworld. Throughout this period, his desire to highlight specifically theatrical strengths remains evident. The aural and visual powers of Walker, London and its complex (four-level) barge setting show just how ambitious even his earliest experiments on these lines were. Clement Scott singled out the sights and sounds (‘within earshot of the Cookham lasher’) for extended praise.17 Ibsen, whom Barrie described as ‘the greatest dramatist of our age’, also continues to influence him in his use of verbally reinforced symbols from the ‘cuckoo’ of that play onwards.18 As for theatrical teamwork, Barrie soon learned the difference between theory and practice. Toole, still seeing Barrie as a Dumfries schoolboy, simply took over Ibsen’s Ghost. He bullied and cajoled the young playwright into making changes that strengthened his own role. Indeed, the version of the burlesque the Lord Chamberlain received is in Toole’s hand and differs greatly from the acting texts used for early rehearsals. Immediately Barrie revised his teamwork theory. For Walker, London he took pre-emptive action, controlling casting and demanding his wife-to-be, Mary Ansell, have the role of Mary O’Brien. Barrie’s apprentice years end with a return to the primacy of the novel. The two largely autobiographical novels, Sentimental Tommy and Tommy and Grizel, appeared in 1896 and 1900 respectively. Dramatically, the duologue ‘A Platonic Friendship’ (1898) and his ‘problem play’ The Wedding Guest add two new experimental ‘kinds’ to his repertoire. Yet they exist in the shadow of prose works over which he had laboured for years. That he would shortly give up prose for drama is not as problematic as is supposed, however. His Notebooks show that ideas and the interlinked category of voices (narrative, lyrical and dramatic) mean that neat generic divisions do not much concern him. Peter Pan illustrates this very well. His appearance is prophesied in 1900 in Tommy and Grizel. Soon the ideas and characters of the Pan myth will appear variously as a photograph album of the games he played with the Llewelyn Davies boys, as an episode in a novel, as full-length and one-act play, as ballet, as children’s story, as film scenario, as short story and finally, in 1927, as Captain Hook’s speech to the First Hundred at Eton.19 Beside modal and structural variations Barrie is also developing a consistent, essentially mythic view of the world based on Darwinian conflict as it affected the battle between the sexes. Barrie’s Darwinism is in no doubt. It is stated directly in his leaders for the Nottingham Journal20 and his reviews of scholarly assessments in that paper. Indeed, he opens his first Thrums collec-

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tion, Auld Licht Idylls, by accepting, on behalf of those born in Thrums, both empirical acceptance of that view and reading of Darwin ‘in the bothy’.21 Barrie’s version of the ‘creation’ question is distinctive. First it is essentially feminist. For him, woman’s multi-faceted, ‘Russian doll’ mind meant she was not only equipped for natural creation but better adapted mentally for evolutionary advance. Rob Angus in When A Man’s Single leads the way when he vies with Mary Abinger, only to be crushed as father and artist by her greater powers as mother and novelist. Female power within the Darwinian gender battle is also a leitmotiv in Barrie’s early drama. Return to the bachelor plays and ask who are the more powerful catalysts of action in Barrie’s gender wars – Nanny and Bell or Andrew and Kit Upjohn in Walker, London? Lucy White or Goodwillie, Effie or Pete and Henders in The Professor’s Love Story? In Jane Annie, is it Janie and Babs or their naive paparazzi and soldier suitors? In Becky Sharp is it Becky or Jos Sedley? The women prove their superiority in each case while Babbie in The Little Minister and Mrs Ommaney in The Wedding Guest continue the feminist triumph. There is a further unusual constituent in Barrie’s imagined universe. Although he deals with ‘types’ of women on the surface, he is never content to keep either psychological or ethical contrasts clear. Jane Annie and Babs may be called the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ girl in the opera programme, but Jane proves even more devious than her rival. And although his Becky Sharp makes deception a fine art she is also the one who sees Dobbin’s qualities and enables Amelia to forgive him. The same passage from perfectionist purity to a more mature, humane vision is forged for the pure (pearl) Margaret of The Wedding Guest by the ‘bad’, mistress and single mother Mrs Ommaney. These characteristics provide a reliable introduction to the later canon – from the Ohio production of Quality Street in 1901 to The Boy David in 1936. If replacing an Oedipal with a histrionic personality is the first necessary revision implied, the second returns attention to his determined theatricality. Barrie writes for performance. The long explanations he provides in the drame de fauteuil editions of his collected plays remain a second best but are designed to enable internal visualisation. That is why performance records show Quality Street, The Admirable Crichton (1902), Peter Pan, Dear Brutus (1917) and Mary Rose (1920) still being regularly performed. An account of their plots will confirm that his apprenticeship’s major lessons carry through to these plays. All five have different but universally applicable themes. All are modernist variations on Masson’s ‘highest’ models for a playwright, Shakespearean Romance. All use extreme theatrical techniques while working poetically and symbolically. Variations on Darwin’s view of life as battle, imaginatively focused on natural and artistic creativity, define them all, while all but The Admirable Crichton depict woman’s superiority. Quality Street illustrates how these strengths may work in harmony.

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Victorian woman’s imprisonment in a benevolently paternalistic society, despite her greater potential for power, is visually and aurally underlined as the curtain rises. The blue and white room encages the Throssel sisters like the birds their names evoke. It shuts out all but the most oblique visions of an outside world where recruitment for the Napoleonic wars can be heard but only shadily viewed. Phoebe will have an equally hard fight to fulfil all the personalities within her and escape that social cage. The conventions of Shakespearean Romance allow her to do so in a modernisation of Cinderella’s Ball. In youthful disguise as her own niece she releases her personality’s aggressive and aggrieved sides which the street’s gentility suppresses. She tells all the men what fools they are and escapes on the arm of Valentine Brown, a man whose ordinariness she has already described to her sister, Susan. If this defines the accommodations she must make, the final cameo scene provides an example of Barrie’s subversive Imp using one level of perception to contradict the other. The play’s resourceful heroine has won her war. Why, then, do many come out of the theatre wondering why they are sad? The first answer to that lies in the wedding dress she wears. It belongs to her sister, Susan. She, like most in Quality Street, has lost her chance to escape. No words are needed. The physical signs of female hope and resignation have been established from the outset. Phoebe’s hair is in loose ringlets, Sophie’s hair is up and covered by a Quaker bonnet. And so we see Phoebe’s singular success against the quiet tragedies of the many who remain. We may also learn that Barrie’s comedies suggest more than they say. As master of variation, Barrie does not confine himself to the Romance pattern. Only considerations of space prevent discussion of more realistic dramas, like What Every Woman Knows (1908), whose combination of shrewd understanding of party realpolitik and the politics of sexual and marital love mark it as at least the equal of similar plays by Shaw or Granville Barker. Alice-Sit-By-The-Fire (1905), comically highlighting the distance between life and theatre, also warrants attention as does that eccentric wartime fairy-tale, A Kiss for Cinderella (1916). Barrie’s feminism ensures that The Boy David is not the only Legend in Barrie’s canon. His approach is modern, however, and covers both the moral range’s conventionally ‘good’ and ‘bad’ extremes. At the modern Madonna side of that scale is the outrageously complex Little Mary (1903) which uses ‘stomach’ as the key for a quintessential allegory appropriate to its alchemical focus. Her polar opposite in unprincipled manipulation of men is Leonora in The Adored One (1913). Unfortunately the conservative West End refused to accept her triumph and the darker implications of woman’s will to power it represented. The hypersentimental conclusion he at once composed in its place was applauded and so confirmed his low opinion of the ‘Frivolity’.22 Nonetheless, Barrie’s attempts to rival Shakespeare on Masson’s lower and

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higher levels of Romance must remain at the centre of his claims for genius. To Phoebe’s fairy-tale Ball, The Admirable Crichton, Peter Pan and Mary Rose add islands as their sites for fanciful recontemplation. Dear Brutus revives the wood of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The key allegorical distinction Masson made is structurally relevant here. Those Romances, like The Tempest, which raise ultimate questions, were distinguished from those whose universality was defined politically or sociologically. Only Pan and Mary Rose fulfil the higher aim; so only they offer variations on the underlying formula, which in its basic form first defines the topic, then examines it imaginatively and concludes by reconsidering it in the light of that fanciful translation. The early Romances illustrate the pattern at its simplest. As the study of Quality Street has demonstrated, they focus on current political issues. In The Admirable Crichton the topic for debate is whether Nature teaches hierarchy or democracy. It is wittily enacted by having Lord Loam champion the latter position and his butler the former. To these political romances, after a gap of fifteen years, Dear Brutus adds a philosophical dimension. Evoking Cassius in Julius Caesar he brings the perennial questions surrounding free will and determinism up to date. For these plays the trinal division is adequate. But Peter Pan and Mary Rose go beyond time to address the ultimate mysteries surrounding human life. The latter signs this by having a quintuple form. The opening and closing scenes featuring Mary’s son place the Island deeper within the drama’s time structure before it finally reclaims its own. Similarly, Never Land has the last word in Pan, leaving the audience beyond resolution, once more within the dream. These two dramas in different ways literally play out the basic problems of birth – copulation – death. Their hero and heroine are similar: one eternal boy, the other eternally young mother. In Pan the first three Acts represent a child’s vision of each. It opens with the Darling children playing at birth. Act II sees Wendy pierced with an arrow and then leaving the womb-house as ‘a Mother’. In the finale to Act III Peter plays at death too for, although he calls it a great adventure, he knows his weightlessness and timelessness make it doubly irrelevant for him. Meanwhile nature’s battles are fought out among the pirates and redskins of a child’s imagination until Wendy enacts both her artistic and natural superiority over Peter. She has ‘told’ her way onto the Island and now when Peter has failed the fatherhood test, she ‘tells’ her way back home, leaving Peter a ‘might have been’. The similarity of these two mysterious Romances can be proved in another way. In the manuscript of Mary Rose, when she passes into the otherworld, Mary Rose finds herself in the Never Land with Peter.23 All this evidence argues that Barrie’s place in the history of the theatre must be reassessed. Today we regard his plays as comfortably conventional. Yet in his own day, he was thought of as radical. His desire to stretch

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theatrical resources to extremes meant he pleased actors and frightened stage directors in equal measure. The fact the carpenters and lighting crew went on strike before The Admirable Crichton is one demonstration of those ambitious demands. When Peter Pan was offered, three London impresarios rejected it. Beerbohm Tree even wondered if Barrie had gone mad. Nor is it difficult to blame him when you think the original script demanded a cast of seventy, an additional harlequin scene and an array of giant animals on top of the ‘normal’ demands for ‘invisible’ flying and a fairy created from light and sound effects alone! Essentially, this chapter has been concerned to erase one set of critical questions and replace them with another, more in tune with available evidence. Questioning rather than answering is also Barrie’s way. Some playwrights, like Shaw, usually raise and answer questions, however Shaw often reflexively problematises his ‘answers’, but Barrie’s ‘Impish’ playing of one level against another often leaves his audiences with a mixed reaction. This practice is another consequence of his quest for an essentially theatrical drama. The play may end but the audience must continue to think beyond the curtain. Quality Street illustrates some of the ‘inconclusive’ skills, but a parallel study of the endings to The Admirable Crichton and Peter Pan demonstrates yet again his artistry’s range. The Admirable Crichton has a variety of endings, most merely offering variations on the butler’s somewhat anticlimactic decision to leave service. Barrie’s apparent indecision drew heavy criticism. But Crichton is both servant and supporter of natural hierarchy. This means he must wait on Nature as he waited on the Loams. Only when she introduces a new hierarchy may he fulfil his potential for active heroism. That is why the play is sub-titled, The Case is Altered. It is also why Crichton’s heroism is more darkly anticipated in the early 1902 New York production than the contemporary London version. Crichton not only believes that Nature dictates hierarchy but also the kind of hierarchy that defines society at any given time. Thus only audiences that have already undergone popular revolution – the New York audience of 1903 and the post-war London revivals of 1916 and 1920 – can return the butler to his heroic status on the island. America has had its revolution, its Crichtons are already free and with their voice the butler speaks. Only World War One brings about a similar situation in Britain. In the earlier London productions, the various ways in which he dissociates himself from the Loams and the inherited power they represent cannot involve him actively. 24 Even the challenge of active and free involvement pales before that proposed for Peter Pan. The distinguished actors who arrived for the first rehearsal received no cues, only their own words. This was because Barrie intended the play to be a metaphor for life and one has no cues in living situations. Similarly audiences were to imagine it running constantly in the theatre, with their attendance and the raising of the curtain

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marking one new, accidental experience after another. Barrie for his part rewrote the ending for each new production. Barrie makes it quite clear in all the sources cited above he is a complex author who must be assessed on those terms. The time has come to take him at his word despite the difficulty of the challenge he self-consciously poses. For, as Hugh Walpole perceptively noted: It has been in part his misfortune that so many people have taken him at his surface-word. The majority of us have no time, as regards other people, for more than surfaces. And so Barrie tricked nine-tenths of us, and knew well that he was tricking. He was his own murderer, murderee and detective in his own mystery story.25

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CHAP T E R T E N

The Mid-Century Dramatists Donald Smith

J. M. Barrie’s Mary Rose was premièred in London in 1920, running for 398 performances, touching the national mood with its eerie sense of another world where lost dear ones dwelt and whence they might return. A crucial link between the two worlds is Cameron, the Highland gillie and later minister, who though sympathetically portrayed is required to speak stage Highlandese – ‘That iss so, ma’m’. Stage Scotch was equally in Barrie’s repertoire and clearly expected in English theatre even when performed in Scotland. The achievement of the playwrights discussed here was radically to change that position socially and linguistically, lay the foundations of modern Scottish dramaturgy, and spawn new waves of playwriting talent and Scottish theatregoing that continue today. Far from being outdated, the playwrights of the mid-twentieth century remain a vital part of Scotland’s dramaturgical narrative. Joe Corrie (1894–1968) grew up in mining communities, gaining most of his education from the Workers Education Association and the Miners Welfare Institute Library. Having begun writing poetry, songs and short stories, the 1926 General Strike and Lockout turned his interest towards drama. His experience of theatre derived from popular travelling theatres or ‘penny geggies’ and short sketches that were incorporated in ‘free-and-easy’ concerts. He grasped the medium’s potential to raise morale and political consciousness. The events of 1926 inspired Corrie’s first full-length play, In Time o Strife (1927), touring to music halls throughout Scotland, performed by community actors from Bowhill in Fife. It evokes the crisis’ social and familial conflict with vivid energy, yet despite audiences of nearly a thousand each evening, Fife Miner Players could not survive professionally. Most of Corrie’s later work was written for amateur drama clubs. The plays are characterised by vigorous naturalism and earthy, colloquial and realistic Scots. Though often pushed towards comic treatments by his amateur constituency, Corrie’s best work, including In Time o Strife, Martha (1935) – his own version of the post-war ghost play – and Hewers of Coal (1937), has an

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emotional intensity that stirs sympathy and anger. The last of these three looks at a pit disaster from the trapped miners’ perspective. BOB SANDY BOB SANDY

PETER SANDY

BOB SANDY PETER

Can I have a few drops o’ water, Sandy? (Lifting the water can and shaking it at his ear) It can only be a drop or twa, Bob. I ken. The-day’ll finish it. (He hands the can to BOB. PETER rises to his knees looking on the scene with staring eyes. While BOB sips PETER crawls forward. SANDY watches him closely. BOB hands the can back to SANDY.) Can I wet my tongue, tae, Sandy? (After looking at Ned) I think we’ll have to keep the rest for Ned. I’m worried aboot him noo – he looks done. [. . .] It’s queer that the HUNGER has passed awa’ frae us, Sandy? Ay. It was hellish while it lasted, but there’s nae cravin’ noo for food – only water. (In a sudden outburst) I’m burnin’ inside like a fire! – roastin’! (He makes a quick attempt to get the water can. SANDY and BOB both defend the water can.) (Hysterically) Gi’e me that water! . . . Gie me that water, or I’ll kill ye!1

Corrie’s later full-length works like A Master of Men (1944) and Robert Burns (1958, developed from Robert Burns; or The Roving Boy, 1943) are well-made plays, but lack a convincing central character or consciousness. Corrie’s best instinct is for the social collective and the individual’s place within the communal struggle. Corrie opened a new social and artistic route into professional theatre, of which he himself could not take full advantage; later playwrights and audiences were to reap the benefits. The professional British theatre still prevailing in 1920s and early 1930s Scotland was not yet ready to accommodate and support drama by a political artist of Corrie’s origins and stature, leaving him isolated when his development needed the context of professional peers. The Scottish renaissance movement, inaugurated in the 1920s by Patrick Geddes and Hugh MacDiarmid (Christopher Grieve), was much less influential on Joe Corrie than his own immediate social and political experience. There is more of Keir Hardie in Corrie than of Christopher Grieve. In fact Corrie criticised the Scottish National Players, a direct product of the cultural renaissance, for favouring mythic and historical dramas in the Irish mode over the working-class realism of In Time o Strife. He preferred a ‘people’s theatres’ network over a national drama repertoire, pointing to Glasgow Unity Theatre’s later ethos rather than the repertory companies that became

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vehicles for Scottish theatre’s gradual professionalisation after the 1935 foundation of one in Perth Theatre. Robert McLellan (1907–1985) was by contrast a playwright of the cultural renaissance movement, and his career closely parallels professional repertory theatre companies’ emergence in Scotland. His early work reflects a rural background, and exhibits a fusion of the natural Clydesdale Scots idiom with the influence of past and present literary Scots. In McLellan’s hands history becomes a genuinely theatrical arena, where social, political and linguistic tensions are rehearsed. They deploy to comic effect in Torwatletie (1946), The Flouers o Edinburgh (1947) and Young Auchinleck (1962). These share an eighteenth-century setting, the period when issues of cultural, linguistic, social and political identity became intertwined for Scots following the 1707 Union of English and Scottish Parliaments. McLellan’s finest historical drama, though, is by common consent Jamie the Saxt (1937), featuring the build-up towards the 1603 Union of the Crowns. Restaging history continues as a Scottish theatre preoccupation into the twenty-first century, as David Archibald’s chapter explores; the ways Scottish plays as well as novels use historical situations as metaphor for contemporary identity conflicts owe much to McLellan. Jamie the Saxt stands out in McLellan’s oeuvre because of the complexity of its central character, the young King James. This is a convincing portrayal of a deeply intelligent yet neurotic man cast into ruling an unruly realm. For all his apparent desire to pursue literary and religious interests, James is a study in the exercise of power and its cunning retention at cost of personal dignity or even personal relationships. McLellan’s plays’ challenge to the contemporary ear is less his Scots, whose abundance is integral to his dramatic zest and characterisation, than the words’ overall weight in relation to dramatic action. At one point Duncan Macrae annoyed McLellan by uniformly topping and tailing the longer speeches in Jamie the Saxt. Nonetheless, sensitive internal editing can make McLellan move and sing for contemporary stage conditions. Many passages in Jamie the Saxt exhibit real force and pace without cutting; an edit can be based on McLellan’s own dramatic virtues: LENNOX OCHILTREE LENNOX THE KING LENNOX THE KING LENNOX MAITLAND LENNOX

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What’s wrang at Dunibrissel? Huntly has a warrant to bring in the Bonnie Earl! What for? For bein a fause-hairtit traitor haund in gluve wi Bothwell! Yer Grace, that isna true! It is! Ye canna prove it! Gin we dinna prove it, Lennox, he’ll come to nae hairm! He’ll hae his trial afore the Lords o the Session! His trial! Ye sleekit hypocrite! Ye ken as weill as the rest o’s

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that he winna see the licht o anither day! Didna his wife’s faither the Guid Regent send auld Huntly to the scaffold! Huntly’s been cryin for revenge for years!2

Passages like this show McLellan as a naturalist writer whose work does not require exaggerated comedy or an overtly physical acting style. In this regard the post-war Molière adaptations’ acting style may have adversely influenced later productions of his work. Whether in comic or serious vein, McLellan’s full-length works aim for psychological coherence and credibility. This approach reaches right through to his undervalued The Hypocrite (1967) which points towards the 1970s realist upsurge as well as connecting back to his earlier history plays. In this, McLellan moved resentfully in the direction of a thinner-textured Scots, which he felt theatre managements forced on him rather like the censorship that forms the play’s subject matter. Around this time John Arden paid a curious tribute to the dramatic influence of the Scots mid-century drama inheritance. Armstrong’s Last Goodnight (1964), premièred at the Citizens’ Theatre, is a historical drama about James V and the Border reiver Johnnie Armstrong, written in a crafted, dramatically effective though not wholly naturalistic, Scots idiom. This has been rather neglected as a hybrid, but it sits well as a successor to Jamie the Saxt, illuminating Scotland’s continuing devotion to a theatre of history. There is, however, a rather different poetic or symbolic vein in McLellan’s shorter work notably The Carlin Moth (1946) first produced on BBC Radio. McLellan’s first plays, Jeddart Justice (1934), The Changeling (1935) – both one-act plays – and Toom Byres (1936), all draw on the world of the Border ballads. But with The Carlin Moth McLellan achieves poetic intensity and a glimmer of the numinous: Doun in the sea the restless saumon speed To fin the burns whaur they were born langsyne, And though there may be slack daurk pules ahead Whaur they maun lie in autumn’s drouth and pine For winter’s spate to gie their fins the pouer To cairry them abune the craigie linns, Yet whan they win the shallas on the muirs And rowe abune the graivel redds in pairs And toom their heavy wames, their journey dune, They canna set against the bliss they fin A lang held dream o ecstasy sae sweet That aa their bliss is dule, their journey vain. (She dances, her shadow moving among the foliage downstage right.) The pouer to bigg a braw warld in his brain

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Marks man the only craitur than can greit. (She dances off.)3

There is a special significance in the Scottish context of using ballads and folktale. Given the intermittent attempts at suppression of theatrical institutions in Scotland from 1603 until the mid-eighteenth century that Sarah Carpenter and Ian Brown describe in this volume, oral tradition provided an alternative national drama. Equally interesting is how this material was used in mid-twentieth century to explore whether there might be distinctive styles of making theatre in Scotland. Answers remain open but, as a source of creative energy and experiment, the questioning continues. This side of McLellan’s dramatic art, and some of the stylistic questions that it poses, are echoed and developed in the plays of Alexander Reid (1914–1982), particularly The Lass with the Muckle Mou (1950) and The Warld’s Wonder (1953), both based on Borders myth and legend. Like McLellan but unlike Corrie, Reid deploys a rich Scots idiom derived from literary influences as well as natural speech. He also combines comic characters with a supernatural aura, all within a fluent and supple linguistic heterocosm seamlessly blending realism and symbolism. The deeps of the Sky. In the midst is an old sailing boat with a lugsail and a great patch on its side, and with the skull and cross-bones on its pennant. Visible in the boat are, in the bow, JOCK and JEANNIE, in each other’s arms; LAZARUS, standing just abaft the mast holding on to a stay and looking around him; and MICHAEL SCOTT, who is at the tiller. Behind the boat the moving star-stream shows the pace at which the boat is sailing. LAZARUS Whauraboots are we noo, Maister? MICHAEL Haufwyes atwixt Fiddler’s Green and the Throne o’ God. LAZARUS Ye mean we’re dreamin’? MICHAEL Did ye jist find oot? LAZARUS (Coming astern) I thocht we might be. Yet it seems sae real. MICHAEL: Aye it’s a real dream this. We’re dreamin’ true. (Ports rudder) There’s nae need tae fach yer heid aboot it! Waukin’ or dreamin’ it’s aw yin laddie. Dubbity’s dubbity whether ye tak’ yer keek at it Frae the Tripple Eildens or the Provost’s midden. Louse the sheet there! (LAZARUS lets out sail a little.) That’s’ fine, that’s fine. She’s soothin’ alang. Just sweet noo.4

For Reid the language issue is critical. Though he began his career with World Without End (1946), a moving contemporary piece about nuclear holocaust

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– performed less than a year after Hiroshima – his psychological love affair with Scots drew him into a gentle and philosophical theatre style. This, like James Bridie’s Tobias and the Angel, has not travelled well into a more discordant theatrical era. Nonetheless, Reid’s work continued to be produced into the 1980s, notably by Theatre Alba, and his style of magic-making, with European as well as Scottish tones, carried into Communicado’s later work as well as the emergence of imaginative theatre for children in the 1990s and beyond. Reid’s work reflects a period when the Edinburgh International Festival’s formation (1947) opened new perspectives for Scottish theatre artists. His adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey, Voyage Ashore (1956), anticipates rich seams of adaptation, translation and storytelling theatre that were all to be mined as the century progressed. Naturalism and politically driven realism, however, as advocated by Joe Corrie, also flourished in the 1940s, championed, as Paul Maloney discusses, by Glasgow Unity Theatre and its associated writers. Unity was – like the repertory companies at Perth, Dundee, Rutherglen, Glasgow and Edinburgh – a product of gradual professionalisation, though community actors continued to play an important part in its life and purpose. Writers in this group include Ena Lamont Stewart, Robert McLeish, Benedick Scott, George Munro and Roddy McMillan, a Unity actor, and are defined by their social engagement, use of urban Scots and success in attracting a broad audience to theatre. Yet each is different. McLeish’s The Gorbals Story (1946) creates the popular Glasgow play genre that became established from then in the theatrical landscape. Randall Stevenson’s chapter describes this genre’s dynamics. Audiences challenged by the depths of misery depicted on stage were also empowered, or at the least entertained, by the wit of even the most long-suffering characters, the laughter they share with them, and the imaginative vitalities inherent in their Glaswegian speech. A community of language and experience, and a sense of the possibility of laughing off adversity, regularly thus flowed out from stage to audience. Warmth and humour, even in depicting the bleakest of circumstances, was at least as much a factor in Unity’s successes as any more direct ‘message’, political or otherwise, to be taken from them. The Gorbals Story particularly owed its appeal more to its gallus Glasgow patter and determination – like one of its characters – to ‘laff alla time, laff alla time’, than to its criticism, however topical, of the post-war housing crisis.5 Ena Lamont Stewart, the group’s only woman playwright, is a more subtle and accomplished writer. Her subject matter is also more complex: within working-class solidarity she discerns conflict and struggle, not least between genders. Following her success with Starched Aprons (1945) about a group of nurses, she worked on Men Should Weep (1946) which was to be recognised after thirty years of neglect as a twentieth-century classic. In this,

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her depiction of the social environment is pessimistic and unsentimental, because the neighbourhood and familial communities are riven under the enormous pressures of poverty. Stewart maps this with great dramatic skill: (Exeunt the men, followed by GRANNY and LIZZIE. As they reach the door, MAGGIE enters wearily. Her hair is untidy and her face swollen with crying. She carries BERTIE’S clothes in a bundle, and his boots, laces tied together, dangle from her finger.) LILY (Going to MAGGIE and taking her arm) What is it, Maggie? MAGGIE They’ve kep’ him in. (She breaks down and sobs. LILY takes her over to a chair and comforts her. The neighbours crowd around. LIZZIE and GRANNY stop in the doorway.) GRANNY Maggie . . . Maggie . . . she says ye’ve tae gie back ma last week’s pension. MAGGIE Fancy them keeping him in . . . fancy them keeping him in . . . I never thought . . . MRS HARRIS Is it the bronchitis, Mrs Morrison? MAGGIE No. It’s no bronchitis . . . it’s TB. MRS BONE I kent it! I could hae tellt ye that . . . Whene’er I heard him coughin I says tae masel it’s TB, as sure as I’m sitting here . . . LILY Oh shut up . . . Don’t cry, Maggie. It’ll be a’ for the best. They’ll get him pit right in the hospital . . . they doctors kens everythin noo. MRS HARRIS Puir wee felly! TB! My! That’s bad. MRS BONE Och awa. It’s naethin at a’. They doctors is wonderful wi’ lungs. They can tak them oot and pit them back in again wioot you knowin onythin aboot it. JENNY Whit a lot o’ rot . . . What kind o’ nail varnish is that you’ve on, Isa? ISA Coral. D’ye want a shot? (Fishes in handbag and produces nail varnish. JENNY takes it and starts to paint her nails with care.) MRS HARRIS It’s no’ a lot o’ rot! I kent a man that went tae hospital reg’lar tae hae his lings taken oot and blew up and pit back. GRANNY Maggie, I’m awa’. I’m awa’ tae Lizzie’s and she says ye’re tae gie back the pension ye cashed. LILY Aw shut up aboot that bloomin pension! She’s no gie’in it back, d’ye hear! Noo clear oot, Lizzie, and don’t shut the door efter ye, Mrs Harris and Mrs Bone is just f . . . MRS HARRIS Aye. I’ve ma man’s dinner tae pit on.6

Stewart’s 1976–82 reworking of Men Should Weep presented in 7:84’s Clydebuilt season is marginally less pessimistic, but Bill Findlay, the play’s most recent editor, opted to stay with the 1940s text as best representing the play’s achievement.

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Benedick Scott’s The Lambs of God (1948), another Unity success, is significant as the first attempt at realistic treatment of homosexuality in Scottish society, and was also revived in the 1980s as repressive attitudes finally began to shift. Roddy McMillan’s All in Good Faith (1954), not technically a Unity play as the company folded in 1951, was premièred at the Citizens’ Theatre, then dominating the Glasgow scene. However, it carries forward the Unity ethos through the skilled company actor’s pared, honed writing. The Glasgow press attacked the play for its harsh depiction of the city; McMillan was deterred from playwriting until The Bevellers (1973). That is significant because All in Good Faith links 1930s and 1940s politicised naturalism with the 1960s emergence of realistic television drama and the 1970s explosion of social energy into Scottish theatre. Reaction to McMillan’s first play shows that post-war civic reps, depending on local authority as well as Arts Council subventions, were middle-class institutions, pushed by audiences and patrons towards more artistically conservative choices. Some mid-century Scottish playwrights did not satisfy the later mood of change and social challenge, but most Unity writers were gradually rediscovered. Another Unity playwright, who went on writing for theatre with mixed fortunes, was George Munro. Gold in his Boots (1947) was a Unity success that uses the so-called ‘beautiful gemme’ to expose the bigotry, violence, low-level corruption and oppression characterising football, Scottish working-class society’s favourite cultural genre. A later Munro play Gay Landscape (1958) powerfully explores familial conflict and disintegration as the Gascoynes gather in a Glasgow tenement for their father’s funeral. Here Munro pushes beyond the conventions of naturalism, as the sisters articulate their shared memory and inheritance. MARTHA

ANNE

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I’ve walked Clydeside at daybreak and mirkest hour. I’ve studied it in storm and sun. Buildings and wharves and stocks move into skyline setting for me. I’ve felt tender for the tracery of tenements touched by sun or winter cloudbank. But it’s an eye below my seeing eye; and an alien eye; that’s taking it all in. That’s your hieland eye. For we’re alien. We’re no tenement trash. It was glen and mountainside, not close stairs and tenement gullies we were born to tread. (In rage, she goes to the window.) That sheuch was never meant to croon our cradle song. Clearer water should’ve made the lullaby we heard. We opened our eyes to clatter, batter, bash and blistering shriek. (Swings on her heels. Comes down CENTRE almost to the floats.) There’s times when he’s climbing the pulpit ahent the beadle, that I’d like to take a grip of Ian Alastair’s coat-tails. (Oracularly) ‘Ye men of Clyde,’ I’d say, ‘Unplug your ears.

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dona ld s m i t h Strip the blinkers from your eyes. When you chitter nonsense about the bonnie banks o’ Clyde, unfankle your teeth. Clyde built! Roamin’ in the gloaming! Take another look. You’ll maybe tell yourselves the truth then. A stretching stream has worked on you a patriotism that’s a world’s wonder. If only it’d suck all of you into its maw, calamity’d be complete. From Falls of Clyde to Tail o’ the Bank it works nothing but destruction. Destruction. Dirt. Despair. Grappling with it men become Masters of Men. But never Masters of You. Mother Clyde! I hate you.’

(Slightly bewildered, ANNE stares at the others.) KATHERINE

A kindly current, I used to think. My first minding is of paiddling in it. By Water Raw. Above me, the thatched, weavers’ cottages: beyond me, Campsie and Ben Lomond. (KATHERINE, entranced by retrospective mental view,takes ANNE’s own place down CENTRE.) Where the iron palings are now, a path ran below the Auld Kirkyard. You could see green grass, even. When Alick began courting me, he’d a bit ground for the grazing. His horses were stabled in a bigging. Leased by him, but belonging to the Clyde; for Clydeside rats used floor and loft as a drying dormitory. Alick was Govan carrier then. I’d meet him at the Broomielaw. He’d sit me up on the small parcel kist. Hand me the reins.7

This choric and evocative writing is then pulled back to the immediate drama with the interjection – ‘Father sat beside you!’ – but it has done its work in placing the family history within a wider cultural and ritualistic setting. Munro’s artistic ambition was greater than his contemporary production opportunities: Gay Landscape is certainly worthy of contemporary reinterpretation. There are similarities between it and the Québécois playwright Michel Tremblay’s dramas, like Les Belles-Soeurs (1965), successfully transplanted into Scottish theatre as The Guid Sisters (1989) by Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay. As student, editor and advocate of mid-century Scots dramatists, Findlay demonstrates in both his creative and scholarly work that they need to be read in future as well as past tense. Switching focus to Edinburgh, a defining mid-century figure was Robert Kemp (1908–1967). Co-founder of the Gateway Theatre Company with actors Tom Fleming and Lennox Milne and its playwright-in-residence, as well as an industrious translator and adapter, Kemp was the theatre allrounder who set the time’s representative tone. Influenced by the Edinburgh International Festival and the access it offered to European traditions and styles, Kemp brilliantly compressed and adapted Sir David Lyndsay’s sixteenth-century Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis. This took both Edinburgh

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and fledgling festival by storm in 1948, directed by Tyrone Guthrie on an innovative thrust stage in the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly Hall. This married subject, style and venue, the last recommended by Sadie Aitken, a powerful creative and entrepreneurial figure in Scottish theatre from the 1930s until her death in 1985, and Gateway Theatre manager until its closure in 1968.8 It is hard to comprehend that 1948 production’s impact: the cream of Scottish acting talent announced Scottish theatre’s renaissance to the world. But Kemp’s contribution, uniting his passion for Scotland’s cultural renewal with his sense of European context and literary stagecraft, was critical to this extraordinarily bold venture’s success. His original work tends to suffer by comparison but he was an effective maker of social comedy and historical drama in works like A Trump for Jericho (1947), The Other Dear Charmer (1951) and The Penny Wedding (1956). The approach is linguistically accessible and socially connected with a primarily middle-class audience, but artistically the original plays are conventional, lacking his adaptations’ experimental verve. And, with the notable exception of Nancie McLehose in The Other Dear Charmer, the plays lack dominant or cohering character portrayals. This cannot be said of Kemp’s achievement as translator. Let Wives Tak Tent (1948), ‘a free translation’ (as the title page explains) into Scots of Molière’s L’École des femmes, has exactly such a defining figure in Oliphant, the Laird of Stumpie. Moreover the blend in Molière of social and physical comedy with robust satirical edge provided the right chemistry for Kemp’s talents. From this translation, followed by The Laird o’ Grippy (1955), a stream of Molière adaptations and translations was loosed on twentiethcentury Scottish theatre, followed by similar approaches to Goldoni and, later, Dario Fo. Lacking a continuously-remembered playwriting tradition, Scotland adopted one from Europe through appropriation and translation that in turn unlocked Scotland’s own linguistic and social diversity, something John Corbett’s chapter discusses. It should be added that these plays struck directly at Scottish society’s repressive and hypocritical aspects with the weaponry of satire and ridicule. The adaptations had immediate social relevance and were not only skilled exercises in literary appropriation. In this, Kemp’s influence has continued, while Let Wives Tak Tent became Scottish theatre’s most-performed translation. In comparison with his original plays, Kemp’s translations lean towards a McLellan interpretation of Scots, tapping into his own rural influences as well as literary sources. Nonetheless he always remains in contact with spoken speech rhythms. In 1958 and 1959 the poet and translator Douglas Young produced virtuoso Scots versions of Aristophanes’ The Frogs/The Puddocks and The Birds/The Burdies. The latter was controversially produced in a visually-spectacular version at the 1966 Edinburgh International festival

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to a mainly hostile press reception. Admittedly Greek comedy, as Young the Classics professor knew well, is not a naturalistic genre, but his versions are simply too complex to the ear and divorced from natural speech. A wonderful read, they must be accounted magnificent failures as drama. The same distinction applies to the Scottish Renaissance poet Sydney Goodsir Smith’s dramatic writing. Colickie Meg, an unperformed adaptation of Carotid Cornucopius, his Rabelaisian novel, is a Scots work of linguistic virtuosity and artistic ambition, but moves too far from any existing speech community to be theatrically effective. By contrast, The Wallace (1960) is a powerful, fast-moving piece of storytelling theatre whose focused dialogue harnesses Scots and English in a dramatically effective blend appropriate to the subject. Both Edward’s and Wallace’s characters are commanding presences within a dramatically polemic piece’s narrative drive. Productions of The Wallace – it was revived by the Scottish Theatre Company in 1985 – have sometimes been marked down because of the emotive or politically partisan reactions of a section of the audience. However with minor adjustment and a few trims, it is well-suited for contemporary stage treatment. Like All in Good Faith, The Wallace connects mid-century playwriting with that later in century, when storytelling epics were to dominate Scottish theatre. It is useful finally to acknowledge James Bridie’s (1888–1951) place as the pre-eminent mid-century Scottish playwright. The next chapter deals with his career, but he should not be isolated from his Scottish peers. A master of historical drama, Bridie is also social comedian, poetic experimenter and reveller in linguistic diversity, deploying Scots, Scots-English, Highland-English and English-English with equal facility. But while Bridie dons many guises, his motley conceals a serious modern consciousness and a quest to explore religious and moral meaning in a world apparently abandoned by God and belief. The metaphysical melancholy pervading Barrie’s work breaks repeatedly to the surface in Bridie as explicit questioning of the contemporary psyche within a shadow play. This focus on individual consciousness distinguishes him from his Scottish peers as creator of a series of compelling character portrayals including John Knox, Dr Angelus, Dr Knox the Anatomist, Daphne Laureola, Mr Bolfry and Harry Macgog. In different tragicomic ways these test the frontiers of human capacity or autonomy in an age of ill-defined boundaries. Bridie’s journey is an agnostic’s pilgrim’s progress where final destinations are no longer assured. The individual quest breaks free of any collective social, political, linguistic or cultural purpose; at times the restless artist seems even to weary of structural or theatrical disciplines. That is the source of Bridie’s dislike of political theatre, though, paradoxically, Bridie, the brilliant and at times impatient individualist, had more institutional influence on the future shape of Scottish theatre than any playwriting

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colleagues. The twenty-first century challenge to reinterpret Bridie is as much metaphysical as theatrical. In the round, the mid-century writers this chapter discusses represent fertile territory for rediscovery and animation. Despite difficult artistic conditions and limited professional production opportunities, they built an impressive body of work. Creating drama of linguistic invention and diversity, social impact and imaginative power, they laid Scotland’s contemporary theatre renaissance’s foundations.

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CHAP T E R E L E VE N

James Bridie Gerard Carruthers

After J. M. Barrie, the most successful Scottish playwright of the twentieth century is James Bridie, pseudonym of Osborne Henry Mavor (1888–1951). Today, however, he is almost eclipsed in terms of performances of his work, while his achievement as one of the most powerful and practical cultural mandarins of his time is also uncherished despite its legacy, lasting to the present. Outlining Bridie’s rather complex relationship with the theatrical culture of the early twentieth century is crucial before considering his major themes as a dramatist and trying to situate his canonical awkwardness. Bridie was patriotic as an activist for Scottish theatre as well as in his playwriting. He was outspoken against those who claimed the Scottish National Players (SNP) were not ‘international’ enough, while decrying parochialism in Scottish dramaturgy.1 Adept at staging Scottish character and concerns on the English stage himself, he excoriated those who peddled stereotypical versions of these things furth of Scotland. J. M. Barrie came in for particular criticism as an Anglo-Scot, in Bridie’s eyes, who had ‘debased Scottish character [. . .] presenting the “bawbee” and whisky type of Scotsman’.2 Throughout his career Bridie vaunted the superiority of the play over other written art-forms, among other things for quasi-demotic reasons since it had ‘lain closer to the hearts of the people than any of its more reputable sisters’.3 In 1945, by then the most successful Scottish playwright of his generation, Bridie remained vigorously, polemically charged, not to mention de haut en bas, in his mission to establish the theatre in his native country: ‘If the people of Scotland did not want a Theatre it would still be our duty to force a Theatre upon them. A Theatre is good for them.’4 In the same radio broadcast Bridie looked gaily ahead, to the establishment of a particular kind of ‘national’ Theatre: ‘I am happy to tell you that it is in the process of construction. In a very little time every city in Scotland will have a theatre of its own to make a kirk or a mill of without control from London or anywhere else’ (p. 6). In these examples, as so often the case in his own plays’ registers, Bridie’s rhetoric was both seriously and comically stirring. Frequently with Bridie we find a rather droll bedside manner, projecting flippancy as much as authority, a combination

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which has perhaps not served him well in posterity. There is a similar perception of Bridie’s supposed throwaway noblesse oblige in the material that he chose to supply to the SNP for performance. This was certainly not the attitude at the beginning, when there was between Bridie and the SNP an enabling, if not completely satisfactory, synergy. The company’s liberated energy was underwritten by their amateur status, and produced the first major performance of a Bridie creation, The Sunlight Sonata, at Glasgow’s Lyric Theatre in March 1928. Albeit in lightly comical, skittish form, Bridie’s text looked back to David Lyndsay’s Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis (1550s), seeking to play its part in restoring the Scots language to the stage amidst a fantasy-allegory brooding darkly (and more importantly comically) on the moral nature of humanity. Bridie collaborated here with John Brandane and Tyrone Guthrie. Brandane, the SNP’s father-figure, is an even more neglected playwright today than Bridie and the individual most determined in the first decades of the twentieth century to ‘stage Scotland’. He helped Bridie tailor his text for performance, whose producer (or director in contemporary parlance) was the manically energetic Guthrie. The resulting exuberant (perhaps over-exuberant) supernatural frolic collided a fearful moral imagination, Scotland’s cultural inheritance and the Devil and the seven deadly sins stalking the countryside with the deeply bourgeois British mores of the Glasgow middle-classes in the inter-war years. Interplaying this ‘high’ Scottish cultural register (Calvinism essentially) with the tweedy, conformist, thoughtless but slyly selfish middlebrow mentality of its contemporary human cast, ‘Bridie proceeds to say [. . .] better the lively goings-on of the seven deadly sins than the dour, pious progress of hypocrisy.’5 Sparkling and also ephemeral (it is pantomime-riotous and relies all too heavily upon throwaway jokes riffing on the popular idioms of its day), The Sunlight Sonata nonetheless shows Bridie the Scottish dramatist determined to speak to, to confront even, a Scottish audience. In time the SNP’s determined amateurism, the very quality that allowed the company to perform such a left-field drama as The Sunlight Sonata untroubled by its less than obvious commercial appeal, became a cause of dissatisfaction to Bridie who deeply desired a fully professional theatre in Scotland. He remained supportive of the company for several years, but his offerings to them, The Girl Who Did Not Want to Go to Kuala Lumpur (1930), The Dancing Bear (1931) and Colonel Wotherspoon (1934), pale in comparison with Bridie’s very best early-period dramas. A pattern can be discerned here: Bridie wrote the first two of these plays immediately following much more substantial works, The Anatomist (1930) and Tobias and the Angel (1930). The Anatomist premièred in Edinburgh where the professional Masque Theatre Company was providing a season, and soon had a successful run at London’s Westminster Theatre. Tobias and the Angel also transferred

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to the Westminster following its opening at the Cambridge Festival Theatre, becoming one of the most continuously performed 1930s British plays. Winifred Bannister may be reading the man aright as giving himself less than ‘generously’ and exemplifying ‘guilt’ in turning his pen towards the service of the SNP following these works which firmly established him as a name in British theatre.6 However, we might just as easily read observance of an honourable commitment to the Players, amidst a burgeoning career rapidly outgrowing Scotland’s capacity to contain it. Bridie’s large appeal soon became more evident. A Sleeping Clergyman (1933) excited Bridie greatly in its creation and electrified audiences in its first run (at the Malvern Festival Theatre), seeing his reputation reach its zenith in his lifetime (‘not a few observed that the mantle of Shaw had fallen on Bridie’s shoulders’).7 Marriage Is No Joke (1934) was an altogether lighter entertainment which starred Ralph Richardson and Sophie Stewart in a popular run beginning at the Globe Theatre. Again, after various rapid successive triumphs with these two plays, Bridie returned with a final work for the SNP, Colonel Wotherspoon, an even slighter comedy than the same year’s Marriage Is No Joke, but one playing to warmly appreciative audiences at Glasgow’s Lyric Theatre. In this period, Bridie, who retained a full-time medical career, was probably quantitatively over-writing, but he was holding on manfully to the idea of writing for specifically Scottish theatre. To an extent, Bridie was not politically fashionable in his own day, a situation that prevails. His cultural activism was a strongly regionally-rooted, nonNationalist concern with Scotland that has been somewhat overlooked in accounts emphasising cultural and political nationalism following World War One, especially associated with the so-called Scottish Literary Renaissance movement. Its central figures were, largely, nationalist and/or socialist. The origins of the Scottish National Players, however, lay in a company formed by the more obviously ‘regional’ St Andrew Society of Glasgow in 1913. This essentially became the SNP in 1921, the new company also drawing upon funds from the 1914 winding up of the professional Glasgow Repertory Theatre. In Bridie’s eventual board membership of the Scottish National Theatre Society, formed in 1922 (to say nothing of his creative involvement with the SNP), he shared the SNP’s aims of developing a ‘Scottish National Drama’, encouraging ‘in Scotland a public taste for good drama of any kind’ and the founding of ‘a Scottish National Theatre’.8 The SNP’s superior and adventurous amateurism made the company the best indigenous one Bridie had to work with in the west, perhaps the whole, of Scotland in the early 1930s. However, the lost professionalism of the Glasgow Rep, which had excelled at staging ‘foreign’ drama to the exclusion of (admittedly then seemingly scant) Scottish material was something that long nagged at Bridie. His leading part in the foundation of Glasgow’s Citizens’ Theatre, with its

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first production in 1943, revisited the strong civic-centredness of Alfred Wareing’s Glasgow Rep (1909–14) from the manifesto of which the theatre’s name was chosen. Wareing had asserted: The Repertory Theatre is Glasgow’s own theatre. It is a citizens’ theatre in the fullest sense of the term. Established to make Glasgow independent from London for its dramatic supplies, it produces plays which the Glasgow playgoers would otherwise not have the opportunity of seeing.

It should be said too that in 1945 Bridie was a board member of the illfated Edinburgh Repertory Theatre. In his 1945 radio broadcast ‘A Scottish Theatre’, already mentioned, his was a vision of the ‘regions’ forming in effect the ‘national theatre’ that seemed always in his lifetime for one reason or another to be unachievable as a single institution. As Bridie said on another occasion, ‘I have a dream of half a dozen more or less civic Theatres in Scotland with Scottish actors acting in them and Scottish writers writing for them.’9 The Citizens’ Theatre has been one of the most successful theatre companies in Scotland over the past seven decades, with its judicious blend of Scottish and international drama and its garnering both of large-scale popular and critical acclaim. This impressive achievement, clearly, emerges to some extent from tensions that criss-crossed Bridie’s artistic and administrative career and Scottish culture generally in the first part of the twentieth century. The fact is that Bridie was one of the most accomplished artists in any genre of Scottish creative writing in his time. His was a body of work well-received in Scotland and in the British Isles in a way that few, if any, of his immediate contemporaries could match (and on the side he was, to some extent, a sought-after screenplay writer for cinema, producing work for Alfred Hitchcock in The Paradine Case (1947) and Under Capricorn (1949)). However, for all that, his face did not entirely fit. Like many others, before and after him, Bridie had several spats with the Scottish Literary Renaissance’s high priest, Hugh MacDiarmid. The typically blunt MacDiarmid claimed in the Scots Independent magazine in 1945 that the Citizens’ had publicly announced its intention to perform Robert McLellan’s Jamie the Saxt (1937), while Bridie, the main mover behind the theatre, had taken against and vetoed the staging of the play. Bridie’s response in a letter to the Scots Independent is as close as he ever comes to public anger, as he envisages MacDiarmid determined to wreck his fledgling theatre company: Do you think there is any chance of that man of genius, H. MacDiarmid, J. P., ever becoming house trained? [. . .] If I did not realise that this [charge]

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represents Mr MacDiarmid’s habitual reflex to everything practical conceived for the benefit of Scotland, I should take the liberty of calling him a damned liar.10

In fact, Bridie had even bigger plans for McLellan’s play which he particularly admired and wanted to be the Citizens’ company flagship contribution to the first British Festival of Repertory Theatre in London during 1948. However, McLellan refused to allow the Citizens’ to perform Jamie anywhere after Bridie rejected another of his plays, The Flouers o’ Edinburgh (1947), though McLellan had spent two years working on that with the Citizens’ in mind as the only really suitable Scottish company to perform it. Technically a very fine piece, The Flouers o’ Edinburgh incorporates a trenchantly nationalist reading of Scottish history. Bridie’s rejection of the play was wrong in pure artistic terms but reflects also his sensitivity, as well as his power, as a theatre-maker determined to maintain the non-partisan political approach enshrined in the National Theatre Movement’s rubrics in 1922. It is precisely the power that made Bridie such a facilitating force in twentieth-century Scottish theatrical history that permitted him to make other unpopular decisions. These, almost certainly exercised in good faith whether right-headed or not, have redounded to his discredit so far as the predominant mood of twentieth- and twenty-first-century Scottish literary opinion (broadly leftleaning nationalism) is concerned. It is obvious enough that there existed certain political tensions between Bridie’s theatrical activities and those of Unity Theatre, discussed by Paul Maloney. Specifically, Bridie remains nothing less than a hate-figure in parts of Scotland’s theatrical folk-memory as the man blamed for the discontinuation of Unity’s Arts Council funding. A former chair of the Scottish committee of the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (which became the Arts Council in 1945), Bridie’s opinion was certainly sought when Unity reapplied in 1947 for a similar subvention to that awarded one year before. He was not flattering about Unity’s financial management. Randall Stevenson has, however, judiciously speculated that the demise of Unity by 1951, the year of Bridie’s death, was more significantly part of a general decline of Scottish theatre as London reasserted, after a brief post-war regional renewal of theatre, its dominance, a metropolitan trend set to last until the 1970s in Scotland.11 Bridie is said to have had a devastating effect on Ena Lamont Stewart, his poor regard for her work reputedly causing her huge self-doubt as a writer. When she died in 2006 her obituary-writer, Neil Cooper, drew attention to the collision of the pair, pointing out the female dramatist’s eventual vindication when Men Should Weep (1946) was eventually ‘named as one of the best 100 plays of the twentieth century in 1998’.12 Commentators today agree that the play is of much higher quality than

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Bridie judged. But Cooper’s speculation – ‘one suspects it had something to do with what Lamont Stewart herself observed as the “male chauvinism rife in Scottish theatre” ’ (Herald, 12 February 2006, p. 20) – is typical of the kind of lingering, difficult fully to substantiate or explain, unease that continues to follow Bridie’s reputation. Perhaps more fruitfully explored in terms of Bridie’s difference with Unity are his thematic and aesthetic predilections. Where Unity sought ‘Real Theatre’, with a strong working-class accent and sure socialist polemical direction, Bridie pursued a drama exploring what he took to be the altogether less certain, often more accidental, ‘evolution’ of human nature as it staggered through history in a blind uncaring universe.13 If, though, he could find attractive non-naturalistic means of counterpointing this lack of design, a foregrounded creative design set against the absence of any in real life, we might say in response, so much the better. We find him again voicing a typical combination of the casual and the portentous in a keynote pronouncement on theatre: A stage play is a method of passing an interval of time by putting an actor or actors on a platform and causing them to say or do certain things. If it is amusing, that is to say, if it succeeds in making the spectators unconscious of the passage of time, it fulfils its function and has merit. If, on the other hand, the spectators are conscious of the passage of time, of the dreadful process of the Universe towards destruction and nothingness, the play has failed. (‘The Theatre’, p. 3)

It is tempting in this statement to find something rather disingenuous. It might seem Bridie affects to shield his audience from precisely that which he is, as a serious playwright, very often attempting: ‘the dreadful process of the Universe towards destruction and nothingness’. Actually, something more sophisticated is going on. Prickly, aloof and intellectually sceptical though Bridie seems to have been in his personality, we find in his drama evidence of affection (albeit sometimes amused) for the human race and its ceaseless activity. For the agnostic, perhaps atheist, Bridie, humanity might be devoid of any higher destiny or meaning, but its construction of purpose, if not always good, is endlessly entertaining (the source of real-life ‘drama’).14 The single-minded pursuit of a mission may or may not ennoble a human being, but it does drag out a kind of progress (or at least process) in human history. The Anatomist was Bridie’s first major success as it essayed the real-life Robert Knox of Edinburgh University, notorious in his complicity, to obtain subjects for his anatomy room, with Burke and Hare. A Scottish historical play, it also meditated on the oft-identified Scottish split personality, saint and sinner, true believer and hypocrite. The mystery of Knox’s character,

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however, finally pertains: is he a sincere seeker after knowledge to benefit the human race or on a personal hunt for glory? Does he wish to explore the human body, or pathologically, misanthropically rip away at its physical presence? We do not in the end know, because Knox himself does not know. He has no greater knowledge of himself than anyone else. Knox in revolving mood is portentous and facetious and so too is The Anatomist in general. Here is something that annoys Bridie’s detractors: indeterminacy, a lack of polemical recommendation to action or solution and dollops of farce, of grand guignol even, terminated in throwaway endings (in the case of The Anatomist, in fact, alternative abrupt and deliberately gauche finales). One of these sees Knox, the man who has contempt for the unthinking instincts of the mob and who has also mocked the bourgeois drawing-rooms of Scotland’s capital (where his activities have been hypocritically winked at), saved by a mob (of his students, who have christened themselves ‘Knoxites’) but forced to deliver his lecture (to the Knoxites) in a drawing-room, Edinburgh having become unsafe for him as Burke and Hare’s crimes are exposed. Bridie renders here a kind of poetic justice, replete with echoing irony. Bridie’s human characters are allowed powerful agency but never vouchsafed clear-sighted motivation, and for Bridie that is the way the world is. He revisited medical drama in his writing career, in A Sleeping Clergyman and Dr Angelus (1947). In the former, inspired by the infamous Glaswegian 1859 Madeleine Smith poisoning case and the worldwide 1918 influenza epidemic, a family through-the-generations saga is shown with much appallingly petty, cruel, selfish and even murderous behaviour (leavened only slightly by small doses of genuine, though even then sometimes misguided, love). Through this line of largely rebarbative humanity emerges yet another morally unattractive individual, Charles Cameron the second, and he, scientifically talented, provides a cure for a world pandemic of illness. The eponymous clergyman, or God, is asleep throughout as things turn out, accidentally, for the best in human terms. Wryly mocking of any sense of moral teleology, Bridie here includes yet another ironic ending as humanity triumphs (in simple biological terms) out of sheer mental ingenuity. Dr Angelus draws yet again on an immoral medico, specifically this time, on the life of Dr Pritchard, the Glasgow doctor who murdered his wife and mother-in-law by poison in 1865. In turn sentimentally profound about and arrogantly dismissive of human life, Angelus was a character that, in its own day, struck some reviewers as being less than credible. Some sixty years later (when we’ve had a series of highly publicised cases of Angels of Mercy/Angels of Death cohabiting in the one individual), this might actually be thought to be one of Bridie’s most psychologically profound works. With successful Edinburgh and London runs, Dr Angelus did what many of Bridie’s works do, being simultaneously chilling and amusing.

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Bridie’s frequent co-employment of grave thematic matters and comic touch is found also in his religious drama.15 Tobias and the Angel attests to Bridie’s perennial interest in Christian scripture (albeit here from the Apocrypha). The play’s huge popularity with amateur companies in the two decades following its creation is probably because it features a riot of pageantry (including pantomime elements) and a timeless fable on innocence, experience and love. Tobias is a virtuous young man schooled even further in goodness through a series of naturalistic and supernatural adventures amid a cynical and destructive wider world. His instructor, the angel Raphael, becomes increasingly ambiguous, by which time Tobias has learned that acting by conscience and with moral courage can imaginatively transform the lives around him. Tobias and the Angel probably sees Bridie (creatively electrified in the early stages of his playwriting career) at his least sardonic and most optimistic. It continues Bridie’s use of the supernatural evident in The Sunlight Sonata and also uses Robert Knox’s self-posturing as the Devil in The Anatomist. A question resonating throughout Bridie’s corpus is whether higher causes should be taken seriously and, related to this, can there be any sense of personal mission guided by selfless motives, or are both merely a selfish ego’s projections? Where Tobias seems to give some credence to unselfish love’s efficacy, and The Sleeping Clergyman suggests an accidental world where outcome is blind to moral circumstance, Mr Bolfry (1943) presents an endless moral maze where humanity can never be completely certain of anything. Set in a Free Church manse during World War Two (when it was written), Mr Bolfry is daringly sceptical that humanity can ever work anything out for itself. Flying in the face of homeland propaganda, and a huge success, untouched by the wartime censor, at the Westminster Theatre, the play sees the current military conflagration as merely one in an endless sequence. Mr McCrimmon, the Free Church minister, so quaint and ridiculous to two English soldiers billeted in the parish as well as to his niece, takes on a larger stature when the bored young people stage a séance to summon up a demon from Hell. This, Mr Bolfry, turns out to be identically dressed in clerical garb to McCrimmon and represents, on one reading, therefore, part of the indivisible divine economy in which both these individuals (representing good and evil) play their part. Evil, whether the Nazis, the Devil or simply individual veniality can never be defeated; neither too, however, can good. Humanity is irrepressible in both creating and combating evil. When Bolfry eventually confronts him, Mr McCrimmon chases the demon over a cliff in the middle of the night but remains unsure whether or not he was merely a nightmarish residue of his youthful problem with alcohol. The final scene – where in cold daylight at breakfast, Mr and Mrs McCrimmon, their niece and the soldiers witness Bolfry’s left-behind umbrella walk out of the room on its own accord

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– is typical of the kind of theatrical and flippant ending Bridie has so often been criticised for. This device, however, is in keeping with the drama’s thematic fabric where no certainty, large or small, sacred or profane, is granted. No victory is absolutely admitted, no defeat certainly conceded: such completed patterns are merely part of the stories that humanity fabricates. The part of Bridie’s audience that wanted straightforward psychological closure in his play is denied. No-one’s faith is to be accepted. Bridie’s non-naturalistic scenarios, seen throughout his oeuvre, perhaps reach their highest pitch towards the end of his career in three ‘experimental’ plays, Daphne Laureoloa (1949), The Queen’s Comedy (1950) and The Baikie Charivari or the Seven Prophets (1952).16 The first is one of several of Bridie’s works with superb leading female parts: Edith Evans won huge plaudits in the première. Set in a bomb-damaged London restaurant following World War Two, Daphne Laureola is a fierce exposé of male possessiveness and commodification of the female. Coming from relatively humble beginnings, the beautiful and formidably intelligent Lady Pitts has been socially successful at the expense of her own mental aspirations. Mythically, she is Daphne turned into an exotic plant to protect her from the unseemly attentions of Apollo. Emptily, Lady Pitts has been transmuted into an object of social ornament, left to pine with a language both unself-pitying and beautifully witty. Hers remains an indefatigable dignity; she is creatively and ironically alive to her situation even as it is hopeless. Glasgow Citizen’s sumptuously staged The Queen’s Comedy at the Edinburgh International Festival (yet another Scottish cultural institution, whose infancy benefited from Bridie’s strong initial encouragement). Amidst war on earth, the classical gods look on with mingled pity and contempt. The familiar Bridie terrain of ideas features in a welter of witty dialogue: is humanity part of anything bigger, do they merely create this for themselves, and, if so, do they succeed? The Queen’s Comedy is a complex but highly accessible play whose topical themes perhaps make it (along with The Anatomist) the most amenable of Bridie’s creations to early twenty-first-century revival. The Baikie Charivari, every bit as edgy as Daphne Laureola, is a complicated mixture of folklore and morality play where a man is tortured by false prophets including those representing the Church and communism. The world will not allow him peace of mind, either in his colonial administrator past or in the present with ideals that critique that past. There is no ‘story’ that fits the one individual, Bridie seems to say, but human beings incessantly create large-scale narratives. This strongly consistent theme, running through Bridie’s work, has its boldest outings in Daphne Laureola, The Queen’s Comedy and The Baikie Charivari. The first is perhaps his most emotionally poignant; the latter two veritable maelstroms of diverse human ideas. In the unfettered flaunting of myth in all three, however, we find a Bridie who might well be retrieved for

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the postmodern age, where myth and reality duel in an unwinnable contest in the limited human mind. Bridie’s posthumous reputation saw full-scale critical monographs being published in the four decades following his death (1955, 1965, 1980 and 1988, not including the very curious case of a 1972 book published, then seemingly withdrawn in mysterious circumstances).17 As early as the second of these, Bridie’s theatrical star (and it had been a very large star) was waning. The amount of criticism expended on him and in such a space of time betokened a major Scottish literary figure. It may be that Bridie’s ‘literary’ drama, his drama ‘of ideas’, suited the appreciation of literary more than peformativity-oriented critics in the late twentieth century. However, appreciation of Bridie of any kind has now all but dried up. And yet, in 1999, Edwin Morgan could observe: To go back to Bridie: despite the limits put on his reputation by middle-class assumptions, his plays remain good theatre. His characters toss ideas about playfully as well as analytically, and often the drama is set in motion through a contrast or opposition between a mocking, reductive, very Scottish spirit and the thrawnness of some one character who is possessed or obsessed by some new idea pointing to the future, like Dr Knox in The Anatomist who sees the necessity for regular dissection in medical training, or the young medical student Charles Cameron in A Sleeping Clergyman who studies the germs of his own disease under the microscope although he is dying of tuberculosis. And the spirit of Bridie does not permit even these two characters, Knox and Cameron, to come through as unsullied heroes: the attitude to Knox, in his involvement with the Burke and Hare murders, is highly ambiguous, and any virtue in the desperate Charlie Cameron has to work itself out three generations later as the play moves in time from the 1860s to the 1930s.18

Even despite the positive insights of so great a critic and creator as Morgan, Bridie might seem finished, except as historical curiosity, so far as both Scottish theatre and criticism are concerned. But as this chapter has shown and as Morgan asserts Bridie’s plays have considerable theatrical and dramatic vitality. As Ian Brown observed in 2010: Bridie may seem tired and passé now, but so was the work of Priestley when another bold and imaginative director, Stephen Daldry, revealed to us again the impact and power of An Inspector Calls. Where is the imaginative director [. . .] who can replicate Daldry’s vision with Bridie?19

The question remains. Who is brave enough to buck the trend and revisit his work either onstage or on the (critical) page?

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CHAP T E R T W E L VE

Poets in the Theatre: Ure, Kay, Conn, Morgan Anne Varty

This chapter concerns the work of an eclectic group of playwrights recognised not simply for their work as dramatists but also as poets. The theatre of Joan Ure, Jackie Kay, Stewart Conn and Edwin Morgan is often eclipsed by their contributions to poetry, partly because performance’s ephemeral nature contrasts with a published collection of verse’s durability and partly because, for some, the weight of their corpus is on verse. None writes the kind of poetic drama associated with T. S. Eliot and others during the brief 1930s and 1940s English stage trend. At the same time their craft as poets brings a distinctive style to their language and composition for the theatre. In considering these poet-playwrights’ theatre it is helpful to recall Arthur Miller’s observations about his choice of prose or poetry as theatre medium: Prose realism was the language of the individual and of private life; poetry the language of the man in the crowd, in society. Put another way, prose was the language of family relations; it was the inclusion of the larger world beyond that naturally opened a play to the poetic.1

This chimes well with the way Christopher Small characterises Joan Ure’s theatre: Concentration was always her aim, achieved by allusion, ellipsis, an uncommon capacity to make every word work for its living and carry as much meaning as possible, and at the same time to move with natural grace. In a word, she was a poet; but though also a lyric poet, one who fully grasped the fact [. . .] that drama is another mode of poetry.2

Turning to the dialogue of O’Casey, Miller finds ‘even in the most mundane of conversational exchanges [. . .] the lift of poetry’ and asserts that ‘the most significantly poetic sprang from the raw and real experience of ordinary people’.3 While no single definition of poetic theatre can do justice to the works considered here, all can be seen to find the ‘lift of poetry’ as Miller

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describes it. The ‘raw’, ‘real’ and ‘ordinary’ are filtered in surprising ways by these playwrights. Their characters, often subordinate by class or gender, prove resilient and subversive, deploying techniques for survival and change given them through their language. Joan Ure (1918–1978, Elizabeth Clark Thomson) defied conventional distinctions between poetry and drama. ‘Is it not possible to have a poem made out of theatre?’ she asked Giles Gordon, director of her poetically titled play Punctuated Rhythms in 1962.4 Working indefatigably for the Arts Theatre Group at Glasgow University (1965–71) and then as founder member of the touring Stage Company (Scotland) until 1973, she wrote over thirty short plays, which were performed across Scotland and on BBC Radio. Throughout her life she was also a prolific poet. Some of her poetry was broadcast, testament to its performative quality,5 very little of it was published, and a substantial collection of her verse (some in prose), deposited in the Scottish Theatre Archive at Glasgow University remains to be edited. Her poem ‘In Memoriam 1971’ honours the suicide of her sister, after whom she adopted the name Joan, but it also laments the fragility of women’s lives, invoking Virginia Woolf (who died in 1941), Sylvia Plath, Crae Ritchie and This year, older, Stevie Smith. In Scotland – or Ulster – she’d have Survived about half the time By my stopwatch for I’ve been watching. It used to be men who died for a cause That other folk could hardly see. Now Is it women, rattling cans for aid to The helpless, and young boys drugging Before they’ve even learned brutality?6

Ure presents sexual inequality, and the loss incurred for women’s creativity, as literally a matter of life and death. She returned to this subject in the same year with the intensely personal play Something in it for Ophelia, a metatheatrical response occasioned by the 1971 staging of Hamlet in the Assembly Halls at the Edinburgh Festival. Hannah Macnair, a 20-year-old bank clerk from Falkirk, engages an older man, Martin Armstrong, whose name recalls Ure’s father’s employer Vickers Armstrong, in conversation about the performance, as they wait for the Glasgow train on the platform at Waverley Station. Framed by a network of possible journeys, these fellow passengers are gripped by the exigencies of life as transitory, but it is the woman who feels time’s compulsion most acutely (Hannah: ‘we have [. . .] 20 minutes to share’).7 Typically for Ure’s theatre, distinctions between life and art collapse, identities overwhelmed by fictional counterparts, as Hannah explores her distress at Ophelia’s suicide and on behalf of her sisters, locks Martin in

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mortal combat over mutual responsibility and gender discrimination. Their duelling ends with Martin’s lapsing into sleep’s unconsciousness, weeping and overcome by the insouciant, manipulative monstrosity of Hannah’s importunate address. There is, as this ending indicates, no simple correspondence between Hannah and Ophelia, Martin and Hamlet, though these identities are kept in play throughout. Hannah’s revolt at the applauded role model Ophelia offers leads her to inhabit the dominant, masculine position and generate feminine patterns in Martin’s behaviour, ‘you are just like Ophelia’ she tells Martin.8 Her fear of what Ophelia represents for women of her generation is compounded by a report she has read in The Scotsman which asserts that Scotland has the highest suicide rate in Europe among young women (p. 42). But as the antagonism between the characters develops it emerges that neither can eschew the roles prescribed by their culture: Hannah merges with ‘bloodsucking’ mothers needing to be needed (p. 42), a role structured by the Scotsman’s very avoidance-by-withdrawal into introspection and abstract thought Martin embodies. The tone throughout is poised and witty, engaging a profoundly intellectual response but mapping it onto the visceral that swells into occasional view. Ure’s medium is formal, epigrammatic English. Jan McDonald, analysing Ure’s work, observes: Rarely does Joan Ure write in Scots and when she does so it is with some irony. Her view was that, for her purposes, a Scottish accent was unnecessary in the acting of her characters because, as she put it in A Play for Mac, ‘the Scottishness is in their psychology and should show up in performance’.9

Hannah asserts proudly, ‘I have no accent’ (p. 36), yet her ‘Scottish psychology’ and the roles allotted to her by a patriarchal culture subsume her entire identity. The high artifice of Ure’s language is justified, as a means to express the prescribed inauthenticity governing her characters’ mutually destructive gender roles here and throughout her drama. Many of Ure’s themes have been taken forward by Liz Lochhead, in her poetry, her cabaret and her formal dramas. The questioning of inherited clichés of Scottish identity, and the struggle for each gender to evolve an authentic identity, validated by experience often in defiance of cultural authority form abiding concerns of Lochhead’s corpus, discussed in Ksenija Horvat’s chapter. Lochhead has also capitalised on Ure’s use of the seemingly slight or ephemeral performance piece to air serious topics, each playwright finding a theatrical genre to embody the belittling of women as they experienced themselves in Scottish culture. Sexual politics, in their physical rather than metaphysical dimension, are formidably at the centre of Jackie Kay’s (1961–) theatre. As a poet she

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has explored the expressive potential of juxtaposed contrasting voices, most famously in her prize-winning first collection The Adoption Papers: Here, I am far enough away to wonder – what were their faces like who were my grandmothers what were the days like passed in Scotland the land I come from the soil in my blood. [. . .] The best thing I can steal is sleep. I get right under the duvet and murmur you’ll never really know your mother. I know who she thinks I am – she’s made a blunder.10

The dramatisation of this poem sequence for the Drama Now series on BBC Radio 3, broadcast in August 1990, testifies to her verse’s performative quality. At the same time she was developing her theatre, beginning with the experimentally poetic play Chiaroscuro (1987) for Gay Sweatshop about ‘responses to lesbianism of four Black or mixed race women and it tackled head on the idea that only white feminists are lesbians’.11 This led to the commissioning of Twice Over, about a lesbian relationship between two older women, by Theatre Centre, a touring company for schools. When the subject matter proved too contentious for this group, the script was further developed by Gay Sweatshop in 1987, and subsequently toured across England directed by Nona Shepphard. Kay was determined to confront responses to lesbianism that emerged as she researched her material: ‘[w]hen she asked if a Granny could be gay the young women expressed shock and even disgust’.12 In this play the juxtaposition of women’s voices from different generations and with different sexual orientations is given a spatial dimension as each woman occupies a different area of the stage, radiating from the central character Cora who rises from her coffin at the start of the play, determined to correct the record of her emotional life and force her partner and her niece to respect love of any colour, age or orientation. Kay continues to write for the stage; her ninth play, wittily subverting a Scottish cultural icon, was The Maw Broon Monologues for the 2009 Glasgay festival. Directly influential in Ure’s and Kay’s careers as BBC Scotland head of radio drama, Stewart Conn was born in Glasgow in 1936, and developed a prolific career as both a dramatist and a poet. His first play, Break Down, was produced in 1961, and he has subsequently written over thirty plays for stage, television and radio.13 Break Down ‘explores the nature of urban violence by setting the Orpheus and Eurydice myth in a Glasgow coffee bar, with the

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subway system serving as Hades’.14 It may be, in Ian Brown’s phrase, ‘a young man’s play’,15 but it marks early a dramatic talent determined to create insight through unlikely conjunctions and to test theatrical potential through experiment with theatrical imagery and stage resources. His first poetry collections, Thunder in the Air and The Chinese Tower, were published in 1967 and he has regularly produced collections since. Ian Brown and Colin Nicholson suggest ‘while Conn’s creativity runs freely across genre borders, it often appears that he finds in each genre a complementary expression of his themes, rather than exploring his themes equally in each genre’.16 Conn’s poetry speaks powerfully of the emotional sense of place (‘A Sense of Order’), responds to works of art and architecture, articulates resonant feelings of love, both romantic and familial across generations (‘Todd’), and explores the responsibilities of power (‘Driving through Sutherland’).17 All of these are themes that recur in his drama. To suggest the range and style of Conn’s theatre two contrasting pairs of plays are considered here: I Didn’t Always Live Here (1967) and Play Donkey (1977), set in the present, and The Burning (1971) and Thistlewood (1975), history plays. I Didn’t Always Live Here (1967) is a powerful, affectionate evocation of the city in which it is set and staged, presented from the point of view of the marginal and dispossessed who take centre stage. It has been described as a ‘hymn to Glasgow’ and stems, Conn asserts, from ‘impressions’ of the city.18 He suggests that these impressionistic origins ‘might be reflected in any production of the play: in modulation of tone, and a care that the actors are not impeded or dominated by too literal a set’ (pp. 9–10). The blend of naturalism with more suggestive qualities is shared with The Aquarium (1973), the naturalist format of which he writes: the term could [. . .] be misleading if treated as more than a stepping stone to the play’s actual intentions. The word poetic has its own dangers, even when it is used to denote not overt poeticism or symbolism but resonance and, ideally, illumination. (p. 9)

Conn’s sense that naturalism provides nothing more than a ‘steppingstone’, is apt for much of his drama, and in I Didn’t Always Live Here the poetic and overtly theatrical are immediately apparent. We are introduced to the elderly house-bound widow Martha in her ‘crumbling’ tenement flat, chatting to her budgie. She is just as caged as her bird, yet surrounded by two further distinct playing areas: the attic space above her flat, with its hole in the roof, skylight and her husband Jack’s telescope; and the flat of her elderly spinster neighbour Amie. The action of the present intersects with flashbacks from three distinct eras of Glasgow’s past: 1930s Depression, early 1940s Blitz and later 1940s post-war. The use of multiple playing spaces, with

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action juxtaposed to create irony, is Brechtian in influence, showing Conn responding to the impact of the Berliner Ensemble’s visit to London in 1956, alongside English Stage Company writers. The title I Didn’t Always Live Here draws attention to place, and both women, the resiliently warm-hearted protagonist Martha and her holierthan-thou foil Amie use the phrase to explain aspects of their life’s journey. ‘Not as if I always lived here, mind you [. . .] No, I started off in Govan. Never dreamt in those days I’d end up this side of the river. Real step up in the world, that was.’19 ‘Here’ comes to adumbrate geographical location, age, social status, spirit, state of mind and point of view. All of these aspects are condensed in the use of the relic of the telescope. Ellen, Martha’s charitable visitor, goes up to the attic to check the roof, and calls down:

MARTHA

ELLEN MARTHA

Is that his telescope? [. . .] It was for doing his pools [. . .] It was to be his new system [. . .] he made all the teams stars. And then he worked out the results by the galaxies [. . .] The damp is terrible up here. Did he ever win? Win? Not him. The Rangers went into eclipse, and that was that. (p. 100)

Jack’s fate, with the generation’s he represents, is written in the stars, not in his own hands. His life intersects with climactic moments of history, conditioned by them; his misfortune is evident in the gaping roof that exposes Martha to the elements. Flashbacks, which play as Martha’s memories or ghostly presences, show global contexts intruding into their lives. Jack loses his job in the Depression. He serves in the Home Guard, watching through his telescope, helpless, the bombers come for Clydebank. Emasculated by unemployment (a quality shared with John in Men Should Weep), bullied by the local gambling gangster, superfluous and futile during the war, he is finally broken by his son’s terrible fate in Burma: JACK

If they’d simply shot him [. . .] But I can’t bear to think what they did to him. Out there. And You didn’t do anything about it. You. The Big Referee [. . .] They took him and stripped him and put him in a cage [. . .] under the burning sun, and they . . . while you sat, up there in your Big Blue Heaven . . . (p. 162)

This flashback leads into Martha’s final reminiscence, the city’s magnificent welcome for the returning war heroes, other people’s sons, as she releases her budgie from its cage and the light fails. The play makes its impact through a tightly developed nexus of symbols,

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superficially naturalistic but resonating with deeper, wider significances, in line with Miller’s sense of poetry in the theatre. The submerged symbolism of the play’s symbols of cage, telescope and gaping roof, as well as what is represented by the charged use of the demotic, language itself becoming cumulatively figurative, craft a sombre meditation on human life’s fragility, made good by human warmth and community. Conn develops many of these themes in Play Donkey, considering the nature of power from the perspective of the powerless.20 The play focuses on the liminal figure of the mercenary soldier, Tommy Ryden, caught between private and public, intimate and professional. The scenic progression is a sequence of twenty-one duologues, in which contrasting voices confess private fears and public disappointments. The action shuttles between two principal locations, Tommy’s African prison cell and his parents’ Edinburgh high-rise flat, which they cannot leave because the lift is always vandalised. Entrapment is both literal and figurative, and it turns, ultimately, on what it means to be Scottish and working class. Awaiting his death sentence Tommy has nightmare visions in the darkness of his cell: I can see you. Watching me. Eyes in the dark. Eyes. And paws. Scrabbling. Scrabble, scrabble . . . in the dark. In the straw. Like rats. But not rats. Bigger. Nastier. Red eyes. That glow. Like coals. Embers.21

Douglas Gifford argues these are ‘images of a Scottish subconscious which instinctively sees the darkened wasteland from which it grows, stunted and fated’.22 Tommy’s one moment of creative triumph comes through language, when he invents the ‘Coup Jock’, a dessert, enjoyed on a night out with his girlfriend, his personalised version of the Coupe Jacques served with Drambuie instead of Cognac.23 It turns into something rather different: RYDEN

A military coup. Know something? When I was wee, there used to be a joke . . . Question: what’s a military coup? Answer: A Friesian with a sten-gun. Get it? Cos you didn’t pronounce the p. Silent, as in bath [. . .] – Anyway [. . .] the Coup I’m talking about. Against the English. It’d need a code-name. What do you think its code-name would be? [. . .] Coup Jock. (pp. 128–9)

But the fantasy is futile. Tommy’s situation robs him even of the power of speech. This incapacity is transferred directly to his parents, who end the play waiting hopelessly for a last letter from their beloved son and his mother unable even to finish a sentence, ‘I ought . . . to be crying. Oughtn’t I? . . . I don’t seem . . . to be able . . . to cry . . .’ (p. 142). The Burning, set in James VI’s court, explores questions of political power through the fierce antagonism between the Protestant James and

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his outlawed Catholic cousin Bothwell, and the resulting witchcraft trials. Writing in deliberate, antique Scots, Conn explores a dark period of Scottish history, an alienated view of contemporary Scottish sectarianism, and an internally-divided nation’s destruction. Thistlewood examines authoritarian suppression of revolutionary fervour brought to England from France by the protagonist of this post-Brechtian epic play, Arthur Thistlewood. Sharing with The Burning the Brechtian introduction of choral songs to comment on action, this play focuses on the Peterloo massacre and 1820 Cato Street Conspiracy in order to examine the processes by which power is challenged and maintained. Ian Brown has argued that this play explores ‘the ways in which the manufacture of historical events is itself a process of the manipulation of knowledge’.24 Thistlewood deploys both political and literary history, as fictional characters, everyman figures, interact with documented events, and with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Scene 3 opens with the home secretary, Viscount Sidmouth, reading Victor Frankenstein’s horrified account of his monstrous creation as he signs execution warrants for insurgents. Sidmouth, identified with Frankenstein, is later forced to confront the rebellious body politic his repressive policies have created as ‘The Song of the Low’ is ‘directed’ at him: Our place we know – we’re so very low, ‘tis down at the landlord’s feet; We’re not too low – the bread to grow, But too low the bread to eat.25

The careful pairing of history with fiction exposes the fictionalising qualities of historiography and the parabolic veracity of literary expression, inviting the spectator to make links and inferences. Thistlewood can be read as an extension of Conn’s poetic ekphrasis, since in his verse he frequently meditates on the contemporary significance of existing works of art, as in ‘Under the Ice’: Was Raeburn’s skating parson A man of God, poised Impeccably on the brink; Or his bland stare No more than a decorous front?26

Of the four poet-playwrights discussed here, Conn most crosses and recrosses genre boundaries in terms of the balance of his writing’s focus. It is almost as if at times he is predominately the playwright, at others the poet. One function of this is that he is arguably the most experimental as a maker

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of theatre of the four under discussion although all four share a deep interest in linguistic experimentation. From Break Down on it is difficult to define a ‘typical’ Conn play: for some time he was fascinated by intertextuality, adapting with Stephen MacDonald Billy Budd (1978), adapting Euripides’ Hecuba (1979) and writing Herman (1981). The last’s lead character’s obsession with his research student, Sal, echoes Caption Ahab’s obsession in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, which Herman is researching. Two characters, Thrummings and Ringrope, named after characters in Melville’s WhiteJacket, investigate Sal’s apparent suicide on Herman’s rejecting her. The play explores one of Conn’s chief dramatic themes ‘actions and desires, however sincerely intended otherwise, may lead unexpectedly to violent outcome’.27 By the Pool (1988) and Clay Bull (1998), chiefly set in South Africa, explore earlier issues of marital and family loyalty in the context of resistance to apartheid. The Dominion of Fancy (1992) uses the resources of the stage itself to explore dramatically the 1825 theatrical wars in Glasgow between rival theatre managers. Clay Bull was the last play of Conn’s to be presented while his poetry continues to thrive. It is as if Scottish theatre has become unable to cope with his fecundity and enterprise, while his creative imagination is channelled now through the poetry publishers who still respond to his vibrancy. Edwin Morgan (1920–2010), appointed Poet Laureate of the City of Glasgow in 1999 and Scotland’s Makar in 2004 described himself as, ‘a kind of non-dramatist dramatist. I like to dramatise everything [. . .] And in presenting characters I try to make them as distinctive and real as I can in a short space, to give them all the life I can’.28 His formal excursions onto the stage came late in his career, starting with the preparation of scripts for the touring company The Medieval Players in the 1980s, a translation of a Dutch play The Apple-Tree (1982) and the fifteenth-century French farce Master Peter Pathelin (1983). But it is with his translation of Rostand’s 1897 Cyrano de Bergerac for Edinburgh-based theatre company Communicado in 1992 that Morgan began to make his extraordinary impact on the Scottish stage. Brown and Nicholson observe that this script ‘extends the theatrical range of Scots, based in a vibrant Glasgow patois, in a way that draws on and expands the experiments of Scots language dramatists since Robert McLellan’.29 He adapted Dr Faustus for TAG in 1999 and translated Phaedra in 2000. His first original contributions came even later in his career, with A. D. Trilogy of Plays on the Life of Jesus Christ for Tramway in 2000 and The Play of Gilgamesh, commissioned by Communicado in 2005, but, following the suspension of the company for a time, not performed until 2010 at RSAMD. As Morgan acknowledged, his career as a poet had made him no stranger to certain modes of theatrical expression. His dramatic monologues are diverse and compelling and span his entire career. In his pages we can hear the Loch

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Ness Monster speak (‘The Loch Ness Monster’s Song’: ‘Sssnnnwhuffffll? / Hnwhuffl hhnnwfl hnfl hfl?’)30 no less vividly and fully realised than the Elizabethan theatre director who whispers instructions to the boy about to play Hermione (‘Instructions to an Actor’: ‘you’re a dead queen, a statue, / you’re dead as stone, new-carved, / new-painted and the paint not dry’)31 or Eve’s eroticising address to the sleeping Adam (‘Eve and Adam’: ‘but neither language nor music can tell / what I feel for Adam – even his black hair / lying tangled in a helpless mass / over his shoulders, nothing, nothing’).32 Morgan had also used the Browningesque trope of a sequence of dramatic monologues, in ‘Stobhill’ for example, to allow different characters to express their view of the abortion of a seven-month-old foetus which revives on its way to the incinerator. Doctor, Boilerman, Mother, Father, Porter, each in turn is incriminated in the very act of self-exoneration. Here Morgan’s use of demotic Glaswegian is highly political as he aligns it with the working-class conscience and alert morality of the Boilerman and Porter, in opposition to the middle-class English voices of Doctor, Mother, Father, all of whom offer self-serving, complacent and morally inert attitudes towards the horror of the live incineration.33 Morgan also explored the poetic potential of verse dialogues, some formal and fantastic as in ‘The Whittrick: A Poem in Eight Dialogues (1961) and some that animate perplexing situations such as ‘The Mummy’ in which the gagged voice of history (Ramses II) protests at its treatment in the present,34 or which work almost as puppetry like the verse dialogue between Gorgo and Beau, a cancer cell battling with a normal cell.35 Morgan’s translation of Edmond de Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac (1897) into ‘racy, rhyming, urban Glaswegian Scots’ in 1992 was widely admired, both at the time and in retrospect. Michael Billington, reviewing for The Guardian, justified the translator’s choice: Cyrano was, after all, not so much a Frenchman, as a proud, defiant, seemingly separatist Gascon. And in getting away from the standard English translations of Fry and Burgess, Morgan easily accommodates anachronisms. ‘It’s a logo for The Body Shop,’ says Cyrano, ironically describing his huge appendage.36

As well as racing across time for a modern audience, Morgan aligns politics with language to offer a timely intervention in the debates on Scottish independence, using Scots as a language of resistance in which to imagine its own potential. Benedict Nightingale, reviewing for The Times, also admired the contemporary vibrancy of Morgan’s verse: ‘[w]here [. . .] Fry expected Rostand’s hero to warn the foe with whom he is duelling that “the blade begins to flit”, [Cyrano] growls “it’s kebab time” and means it’.37 Billington’s only regret about the production concerns not its national but its sexual politics:

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Having opted for an irreverent, freewheeling period Cyrano, I just wish Edwin Morgan and director Gerry Mulgrew had pushed one idea a bit further. Morgan points out in his programme that the real-life Cyrano was, apart from being a poet, Guards officer and sci-fi writer, a gay Gascon. Because it is always presented as a colourful, romantic tear-jerker about heroic-self-sacrifice, we have failed to notice that Cyrano is actually a coded fin-de-siècle homosexual play. Faint hints of that stir in this production. ‘Good-looking bugger too’ murmurs [. . .] Cyrano on first clapping eyes on [. . .] Christian. In the famous proxywooing balcony scene, he gives him a good deal of tactile hand-on-hand.38

This is an important insight, not just about the sexual politics of the play and its revival in a second fin-de-siècle, but also about Morgan’s choice of Scots, self-confessedly not his ‘natural’ tongue as a poet,39 as the medium into which to cast it. At its heart Cyrano is a play about ventriloquism, rhetoric as a mask and the superimposition of authenticity and the inauthentic, ‘Mair eloquent as Ah wiz less sincere!’40 Morgan’s use of demotic Glaswegian is the perfect language to mask a ‘love that dare not speak its name’, and to explore sexual as well as national liberation. It permits him to adjust both traditional views of Scottish masculinity and Scottish culture, extending the range, as Brown and Nicholson argue, of what Glaswegian could express, and extending the range of how masculinity can be expressed, matching the impact of his poem ‘Glasgow Green’.41 The expression of nationalist pride emerging from repression, and the exploration of liberal sexual politics are major themes of Morgan’s next plays, A. D. and The Play of Gilgamesh, in which vibrant flexibility of language used synchronically to evoke an omniscient, immanent, diachronic present, takes centre stage. A. D. (2000) was produced at the Tramway Theatre as a massive multi-media spectacle and met with a picket-line from Christian traditionalists and a mixed reception in the press, both of which divert attention from the fine composition of the three plays in question, The Early Years, The Ministry, The Execution. The Bible as a formative resource for both language and imagination, and Christianity as a source of humanist morality recur powerfully in A. D. But while the Jesus who commands the stage does speak in the voice of the Gospels, he also incarnates the iconoclastic certainty of Morgan’s dramatic monologue ‘The Fifth Gospel’: I have come to overthrow the law and the prophets. I have not come to fulfil, but to overthrow [. . .] It is not those that are sick who need a doctor, but those that are healthy. I have not come to call sinners, but the virtuous and lawabiding, to repentance [. . .] My yoke is not easy, and my burden is not light.42

He also brings the humanism expressed in Morgan’s more recent poem ‘Brothers and Keepers’,43 in which refusal of ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ is called ‘The last indifference’. Morgan offers an entirely secular response to

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the question, indicting a society that casts out the alcoholic, the mentally ill, the troubled child, and concludes: There will never be a paradise with people like angels Walking and singing through forests of music, But let us have the decency of a society That helps those who cannot help themselves. It can be done; it must be done; so do it.44

Morgan uses Jesus’ story to address questions of political and spiritual significance to Scotland a year after the inauguration of the Scottish Assembly. He uses Scots like a weapon, sure of its targets. The occupying Romans speak consistently in English, both colloquial and formal. A soldier commands, ‘Mate, I don’t know you from Adam. Will you take up that fucking cross.’45 The Commandant assesses a situation of unrest with military ruthlessness: ‘I am not interested in the mental processes of the ordinary Jew. We have a military situation. We have a political situation. We do not have a psychological situation’ (p. 120). Satan too speaks in English: Temptation is a lily of the valley, A rose of Sharon, it makes me leap like a roe On the high tops. That’s enough of that. (p. 138)

By contrast, the Jews speak in an English that can shade into Scots, sometimes urban demotic, sometimes of a more formal register. The first identifiably Scots word is spoken by Jesus’ father Joseph to his daughter Ruth when she is fantasising a gender-defying career for herself as a brick-layer, ‘You’re havering, girl’ (p. 15). This colloquial register is available to the Jews throughout the trilogy. A listener offers a gloss on the parable of the mustard seed: ‘Dinny despise the wee things’ (p. 164). The most formal Scots word is uttered by Jesus as Satan offers him a final temptation of escape in the Garden of Gethsemane: Satan, you are losing your grip. I have a mission. Crowds and cities Wait for me, dead or alive. God Is terrible. Death is terrible. But life Would be more terrible if I kept it, Feeding hens and leaning on a spade. Ochone, ochone, as the sun goes down. I understand I have to die, alright? (p. 195)

The ancient and formal Scots, indeed Gaelic, cry of lament dropped in after a line describing the rural mundane achieves a shock of surprise but also conjures an apt feeling of recognition and homecoming.

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These linguistic gradations support a text that is rich with contemporary political resonances: the desired formation of ‘a Jewish national assembly’ (p. 182), assessment of ‘terrorist’ activity (p. 102), ‘the liberation of Palestine’ (p. 115) and surveillance culture in the inspired creation of the character Kohath, a double agent working for both Romans and Jews: I am shadows, Footsteps, untraced echoes, I perform The necessary disasters of the time. (p. 104)

The deft anachronisms and knowing registers also support a Jesus who is set apart by his sense of the power of words: ‘I am the Son of Man. Make of that what you will [. . .] Through my words I have access to other and greater powers which will manifest themselves in time’ (p. 202). The sacred, healing and destroying power of artistic language is entirely at Jesus’ disposal. In the Temple he ranges across centuries to quote an occluded, translated Goethe: ‘O great god of normality! If the normal is wrong, you must change it. “You must change your life,” as the poet said’ (p. 124). In this play poetry itself is charged with redemptive power. A. D. tells the resistant story of a man journeying towards his own divinity. The Play of Gilgamesh, by contrast, depicts a hero travelling from the conceited swagger of his dubious omnipotence towards fully realised humanity, through which, ironically, he achieves a kind of immortality. As Ali Smith states, ‘it begins with a very modern-looking tyranny – a random “disappearing” of Uruk’s citizens off the streets to state prisons at Gilgamesh’s whim. It goes on to examine what it might mean, mortally, to “disappear”.’46 The making of the man Gilgamesh, indeed his redemption, is his experience of love. This last play is an astonishing fusion of verse drama and visual imagination. The language is by turns muscular, erotic, fantastic, tender, enriched by anachronism, wit, contemporary political and sexual resonances, and shifting registers, while the scenic dimension calls for spectacle, circus, grandeur and intimacy. It revives an ancient epic about the ruler of Uruk (now southern Iraq) in 2700 bc, written in cuneiform and lost until the mid-nineteenth century. Morgan uses the fragmentary and unassimilated nature of the original text to our advantage, contemporising the narrative and its mode of expression with his characteristic verbal flare. The central encounter of the play is the relationship between Gilgamesh, king of the city state, and Enkidu, ‘a wild man, a “green man”, a child of nature, living in the woods, outside the city, untamed, friendly with the animals’.47 Gilgamesh embodies the traditional signifiers of masculinity, personal and civic power, wealth, prowess and boundless ambition. Enkidu, the man of nature, is emblematically related to more traditionally

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feminine qualities, though in physical strength a match for Gilgamesh. Their friendship and love, which survives death, makes each man whole: the author [. . .] pulls out all the stops to make us understand the depth and intensity of the relationship. The word ‘love’ is used; even the word ‘bride’ is used. Does this mean that it is not only the oldest poem in the world but the oldest gay poem in the world?48

Morgan explores this relationship as a direct and overwhelming union between two human beings, its sexual orientation at once dominant and irrelevant. Its treatment returns us to aspects of Morgan’s life. Commenting on his seventeen-year-long relationship with John Scott, which ended when Scott died in 1978, he states, ‘I didn’t think of this as being homosexuality, it was just that I was in love and it happened to be a man. That was really all there was to it.’49 The untrammelled, mythic, trans-historical treatment of the relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu also recalls Morgan’s rejection of the notion of a ‘gay sensibility’: ‘[i]t may well be that there is such a thing, but I’ve always tended to feel that in writing poetry you’re just writing for human beings, you’re writing for everybody’.50 Gilgamesh is transformed first by his love for Enkidu, and then by grief at his death. Humbled and questing for the consolation of immortality after Enkidu’s death, he returns in resignation to Uruk where he makes peace with himself and his people: Immortality is a wilderness of fireflies That dances to deceive our yearning eyes [. . .] I cannot say I am an ordinary king. I am not! But I have learned an ordinary thing: Whatever good can be done must be done here. (p. 97)

Declaring an ‘amnesty’, the prisons are flung open and the population is transformed into a towering forest, a living monument to the transforming power of the ‘green’ man’s love. Gilgamesh comes to rest with an affirmation of the potential divinity of man through the authority of poetry. Each of the four playwrights in her or his own way moves beyond the prosaic in their drama – Miller’s ‘language of family relations’ – to include a world beyond. In doing so they explore new dramatic potentialities through linguistic means, complemented in Conn’s case by his constant searching for means of poeticising the mise-en-scène of his plays and so their symbolic implications.

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CHAP T E R TH IR T E E N

Women Playwrights from the 1970s and 1980s Tom Maguire

Joyce McMillan noted in 1986 that with few exceptions, the experience of women writers for the stage in Scotland was often of exclusion.1 This exclusion from the industry was matched by the occlusion of women playwrights from the then dominant accounts of Scottish theatre. Across the 1970s and 1980s there was increasing, if sometimes grudging, critical recognition for women like Ena Lamont Stewart, Ada F. Kay and Joan Ure who had been writing for the stage for some time.2 Marcella Evaristi and Liz Lochhead had begun to be performed in the late 1970s, but it was only the appearance of Sue Glover in the early 1980s that was seen as heralding the possibility of a ‘school of women playwrights’.3 Of course, there is a distinction between categorisation as Scottish women playwrights and the ways these writers define themselves and their work. Moreover, the collocation of ‘Scottish’ and ‘women’ should not be taken to suggest that these are stable and unproblematic categories, within which national identity and gender can be linked. As Rona Munro explains, ‘I am a Scottish playwright, a woman playwright, and an Aberdonian playwright, not necessarily in that order. All of these facts inform my writing but don’t define it.’4 Amongst the diverse writers who emerged over this period were Lara Jane Bunting, Catherine Lucy Czerkawska, Anne Downie, Marcella Evaristi, Sue Glover, Liz Lochhead, Ann Marie di Mambro, Sharman Macdonald, Rona Munro and Aileen Ritchie. Some have gone on to sustain careers as dramatists; others have subsequently ceased writing for the stage. All contributed to a considerable shift in the landscape of Scottish drama. This chapter places them in the context in which their work came to prominence and draws attention to the ongoing development of concerns and interests raised initially in that period. While the argument here departs from Audrey Bain’s sense of the possibility of a tradition or continuity in women’s playwriting across this period, this generation has filled in absences from the Scottish stage, working, as Susan Triesman argues, ‘from the twin sites of gender and national culture to cross discursive patriarchal modes, inflecting, and sometimes transforming, the meanings of both’.5 They have done so by reimagining the spatiality of

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Scotland, and with the exception of Lochhead’s Jock Tamson’s Bairns (1990), have done so metonymically, where it is the experience of the local (and indeed personal or even autobiographical) that is the focus of the action as the only way of apprehending the nation. Much of their work has detailed places hitherto largely ignored as sites that might be imaginatively represented on the stage, or taken as representing Scotland. They have revisited more familiar locales from the perspectives of women’s experiences, histories and memories; and they have explored the experience of migrants, whose trajectories have been from one culture to another, whether that be internally within Scotland or to Scotland from another place.6 Crucially, this period covers two historical phases within which the spatiality of Scotland was being renegotiated on several levels. The first saw a growing sense of national self-confidence based, amongst other things, on oil revenues but leading only to the failed 1979 devolution referendum. The second was characterised by the emergence of Scottishness as an identity that would prove serviceable in resisting the English neo-nationalism and free market economics of Margaret Thatcher’s successive Westminster governments. Across both phases, international and global political movements influenced Scottish civic society and culture, particularly of relevance here developments in feminist praxis. Thus, Scotland as ‘imagined community’ was then a space subject to a continuous process of interrogation, a place of ‘being and becoming’.7 Women playwrights characteristically engaged with and exploited this state of uncertainty, celebrating Scotland as a place in a constant state of flux. This exploration was not confined to the dramatic worlds they created; it was evident in an expansion of forms of dramatic structure, and the role women played in establishing a place for theatre within the public sphere. In arguing the significance of these writers, it is important not to underestimate the difficulties they faced in getting their work staged, in asserting their ‘place within a living tradition of theatre’.8 Thus, even Chris Parr, much heralded as a champion of new Scottish playwrights when appointed Traverse artistic director in 1975, did not include any women writers in his first season. Farrell comments, for example, that, ‘When Marcella Evaristi writes of identity, for instance, she does so from a perspective which is Scottish and feminist, talking of being doubly disadvantaged as being Scots and female.’9 For Evaristi and others, her Italian roots add a further dimension of hybridity to an already hyphenated subaltern identity. It was not until 1978 that she and Liz Lochhead had work staged at the Traverse, and even then it was a jointly scripted revue, Sugar and Spite. It would be a further two years, after Peter Lichtenfels had replaced Parr as artistic director, before Evaristi’s Hard to Get provided her with a stage of her own at the theatre, while Lochhead’s Blood and Ice marked her return there in 1982. Neither of these nor Evaristi’s

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Wedding Belles and Green Grasses (1981) nor Rona Munro’s Fugue (1983), which the theatre had commissioned, was directed by Lichtenfels himself. It would not be until 1987 that another play by a woman based in Scotland was to be staged in the theatre, Amy Hardie’s Noah’s Wife, though in the following season there were new plays by Sue Glover (The Straw Chair), Ann Marie Di Mambro (Joe) and Paula Macgee (In Nomine Patris). The latter two were staged as part of Jenny Killick’s season Scottish Accents ’88. Donna Franceschild’s And the Cow Jumped over the Moon was staged two years later as was Ann Marie Di Mambro’s Tally’s Blood, when the latter was writer-inresidence at the theatre. Thus, the Traverse’s support for Scottish women writers was sporadic and often dependent on specific directors championing the work. For example, Catherine Czerkawska was supported by Philip Howard in developing Wormwood (1997), her response to the Chernobyl disaster, after an absence from the stage of fifteen years and the theatre staged Quartz in 2000.10 Indeed Howard’s term as artistic director saw women writers come to the fore.11 Meanwhile, on the west coast, Glasgow’s Tron had no more enviable a record in supporting Scottish women writers. While Michael Boyd had directed Evaristi’s Hard to Get at the Traverse, when he became first artistic director of the Tron in autumn 1984, there was little sign of commitment to local work in his first year. Besides a co-production of Evaristi’s Terrestrial Extras with the Traverse in August 1985, there was only Rona Munro’s Ghost Story for the Tron Youth Project a month earlier. This was no doubt due in part to limited budgets for in-house productions, the theatre largely functioning as a receiving house then. It is no small irony, nonetheless, that two of the most prolific and widely recognised Scottish women playwrights, Rona Munro and Sharman Macdonald, have had associations with theatres outside Scotland that have supported and sustained their work.12 Munro, for example, has had plays staged by Paines Plough (with whom she served as writer-in-residence), Manchester Royal Exchange and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Macdonald’s relationship with the Bush was consolidated when she won the Thames Writer-inResidence Bursary there in 1985. The theatre subsequently staged The Brave (1988) and the Royal National Theatre and Royal Court, amongst others, have staged her work. Both had work on Scotland’s main stages subsequently, Munro’s Your Turn to Clean the Stair (1992), Haunted (1999) and Iron (2002) at the Traverse, where she was senior playwriting fellow in 2006–7, for example; and Macdonald’s The Sea Urchins (1998), adapted from a radio play for the Tron, and The Girl with the Red Hair (2005) at the Royal Lyceum. One response for writers to exclusion from Scotland’s theatre institutions was to produce their own work. Munro co-founded The MsFits with Fiona Knowles, producing satirical sketches and cabaret performances. Liz

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Lochhead along with Marcella Evaristi and musician Esther Allan mounted the revue Sugar and Spite, the first work for Nippy Sweeties.13 In the early 1980s, Jules Cranfield, Tot Brill and Sue Armstrong founded Mother Hen Theatre Company as a specifically women’s touring company, though its existence was short-lived. Cranfield went on to found Focus Theatre Company, operating from an explicitly feminist perspective, but with an equally short life-span. Paula Macgee and Ann Marie Di Mambro founded Annexe Theatre initially to mount their own plays, In Nomine Patris and Hocus Pocus in 1986. Director, administrator and stage-manager for this double bill were all women and Susan Triesman at that time ran the Strathclyde Theatre Group venue.14 Annexe would go on to stage work by Lara Jane Bunting. However, as Ksenija Horvat and Barbara Bell note, ‘this type of developmental cooperation is rare’.15 Aileen Ritchie co-founded Clyde Unity with John Binnie in the late 1980s, initially working as a director, before staging her own Shang-a-Lang (1986) and Asking For It (1989) for the company. As Ian Brown discusses in this volume’s Introduction, further related difficulties face all playwrights in Scotland: getting works published and achieving subsequent productions. While the Traverse’s relationship with publishers Nick Hern has led to many new plays being published within the last two decades, and Fairplay Press have now published a range of Scottish dramatists, before this Jan McDonald’s 1997 comment that ‘few plays by women have been published and few have been performed more than once’ accurately reflected the problems Scottish women in particular faced.16 Even when Scottish plays are gathered into anthologies, women writers are frequently excluded or marginalised.17 It is perhaps ironic compensation that Scottish children are meeting Scottish women writers who emerged in the 1970s and 1980s through the Higher Drama and English curricula while their works are largely absent from adult canons of Scottish drama.18 The successes of writers like Munro and Macdonald in sustaining themselves as writers can be accounted for in part by the ways publishers have picked up their work as their reputations were established south of the Border. Their success suggests the exclusion of Scottish women playwrights cannot be attributed to their choice of Scottish settings. All the plays discussed here make manifest the assumption that, ‘for something to be truly cosmopolitan it has to be local’.19 Such work is an assertion that these locales are amenable to imaginative representations with a wider relevance, that the universal might just as well be found here. Moreover, they invoke and disturb what Massey terms the ‘culturally specific association of women/Women/local/’ in which ‘the term local is used in derogatory reference to feminist struggles and in relation to feminist concerns in intellectual work’.20 The first act of Rona Munro’s Fugue (1983) is set near the Ladder Hills, Grampian and she

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returns repeatedly to the north-east as the location for stage works such as Saturday at the Commodore (1989) set in Stonehaven, and The Last Witch (2009), which takes place in eighteenth-century Dornoch. Anne Downie’s adaptation of Jessie Kesson’s The White Bird Passes (1986) follows the original in its Elgin setting. While Sharman Macdonald’s When I was a Girl, I Used to Scream and Shout (1984) premièred at London’s Bush Theatre, its setting is a Scottish east coast beach. Sue Glover likewise chose the Fife coast for her first stage play, The Seal Wife (1980) and her 1980 account of Alexander Selkirk’s return to civilisation, An Island in Largo. Subsequently, Bondagers (1991) charted the lives of nineteenth-century women contracted as Borders farm labour. Lerwick is the setting for her Shetland Saga (2000) about a group of Bulgarian sailors stranded in Scotland. Lara Jane Bunting’s Vodka and Daisies (1989), Love But Her (1990) and My Piece of Foreign Sky (1996) opened up the experience of living in the small towns of the west coast. None of these writers, however, sets out to present a documentary, or a naturalistic landscape rendition. Their works emerge from a sense that these places have multiple, frequently contradictory, identities: ‘constructed out of the juxtaposition, the intersection, the articulation, of multiple social relations they are frequently riven with internal tensions and conflicts. Places are shared spaces’.21 This sense of places as ‘constructions out of the intersections and interactions of concrete social relations and social processes in a situation of co-presence’22 came to bear too on places with a longer history of stage representation, most notably the city. 7:84 (Scotland)’s 1982 revival of Ena Lamont Stewart’s revised Men Should Weep in its Clydebuilt season marked a return to the working-class tenement, previously the site of what Alasdair Cameron identified as ‘slum-drama’23 or others termed ‘urban kailyard’.24 Within women playwrights’ treatments, like Lamont Stewart’s, however, the city was no longer a place where males posture as hard men and endure grim reality through violence and drunkenness, while women cower within narrowly prescribed social roles as daughter, wife or mother. Economic hardship’s impact on family life in general and women in particular was as pertinent in 1982 as 1947 when the original was staged. Lamont Stewart delineates an interaction between economics, gender and sex, laying bare power relationships between the sexes the realisation of which allows Maggie to claim agency and authority. However, nostalgia for working-class male violence as somehow authentic persisted in the theatre: in 1988 7:84 (Scotland) presented an adaptation of No Mean City, the infamous novel of Glasgow’s violent 1930s gang culture. This provoked a direct response from Aileen Ritchie: Can Ye Sew Cushions? (1988) presented tenement life’s distaff culture as a rejection of the picture presented in the novel and its adaptation. Ann Marie Di Mambro’s The Letter Box (1989) presented male domestic

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violence’s consequences as part of Long Story Short, for 7:84. In this short piece, she too focuses on the relationship between domestic and public spaces and female identity. Here Martha, thrown out of the family home, a victim of her husband’s violence, clings to the letterbox in the front door primarily as a means of comforting her young daughter inside. The door is both barrier and connection between them. As barrier, it separates Martha from her daughter, Wendy, but also protects Wendy from seeing her mother’s state. Battered, barely able to remain conscious, Martha still tries to preserve for her daughter a sense of her family as source of love and their flat as home, their hands touching through the letterbox, the only remaining physical connection to this imagined place. The lies she tells her daughter are the last means she has of preserving her identity as mother and wife, an identity vested in the place she cannot access on the other side of the door. Her abjection is completed when she collapses and a passer-by dismisses her as drunk. In Your Turn to Clean the Stair (1992), Rona Munro too turns to the relationship between the common stairwell’s public space and what happens behind tenement flats’ closed doors. Once the neighbours open their doors to each other, their private situations spill out onto the stairwell in a sequence of escalating violence. To achieve this, Munro interweaves the internal and the external in two dimensions, between the interior of the flats and the stairs; and between the interior landscapes of the characters and their external actions. Thus she can reveal how boundaries of place and identity start to dissolve. Lisa’s hallucinations as she sleep-walks are played out before the audience, the voices audibly taunting her. Mrs Mackie seems to live both in the here-and-now and in the time of her memories, conjuring up the past in a series of disjointed monologues, while she insistently washes the stair. Neither audience nor other characters see the objects of Kay’s fears, but they are manifest in her behaviour. The projection of these inner worlds onto the stairwell’s shared space drives the action forward, as interior, domestic and public are folded into and through each other. Another characteristic approach to the dissolution of boundaries of place is female characters’ movement from the interior and domestic out into the landscape. Horvat and Bell cite Sue Glover who sees Bondagers (1991) as the beginning, in modern Scottish theatre, of the removal of dramatic action from the enclosed areas of tenements, workplaces, the kitchens of kitchensink drama into the open spaces of the beach, sea, fields and woods’.25 This opening up can be seen in Macdonald’s oeuvre, where beaches figure prominently, the setting for When I was a Girl, I used to Scream and Shout, The Winter Guest (1995) and Sea Urchins (1998). In these, the beach serves as liminal and unbounded space between sea and land, constantly open to being reformed by tides, a place of becoming. As such, it manifests the ways the relationships between characters are being renegotiated. In When I was

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a Girl, I used to Scream and Shout, 30-year-old unmarried and childless Fiona returns with her mother, Morag, to the beach where, seventeen years before, she deliberately got pregnant to prevent Morag’s remarrying, before eventually having an abortion. When they encounter Vari, a friend from Fiona’s teenage days, the past is reactivated and the drama shifts back and forth in time and space between childhood’s then and adulthood’s present. The opening out of settings finds further expression in displacement’s deployment as a strategy for destabilising any sense of fixity in place or personal identity. This has been a historical phenomenon as Massey notes: ‘Many women have had to leave home precisely in order to forge their own version of their identities, from Victorian Lady Travellers to Minnie BrucePratt.’26 Several plays have dealt with processes of dislocation experienced by characters whose trajectories disrupt both their sense of self and relationships to their places of origin and destination. Most notable perhaps is Ann Downie’s adaptation of Betsy White’s The Yellow on the Broom (1988), revealing travellers’ life in Scotland as they move from place to place in search of work. Her original A Parking Lot in Pittsburgh (2002) charts the return ‘home’ of Maggie Sweeney from the United States where she has spent most of her adult life to a Scotland she finds radically changed. Since Sue Glover’s first play, The Seal Wife (1980), she has consistently explored migration’s effects. This retells the legend of the selkie, a mythical creature who takes on human form and marries a man, only to return to the sea once she has given birth to a child by him. The Straw Chair (1988) explores the displacement of Isabel and her new minister husband, Aneas, as they move from eighteenth-century Edinburgh to remote St Kilda. The island’s identity is already ambiguous: locals know it by the Gaelic ‘Hirta’; for all, it becomes a place of contestation. Local woman, Oona, regards the pair as interlopers, representing a social order of little relevance to her. Isabel grows to identify with the island’s women, however, removing her shoes to walk on the land, joining the young women who separate themselves on the nearby island of Boreray for a few weeks in the height of summer, and learning Gaelic. For the forcibly-exiled Rachel, Lady Grange, the island is a prison where the greed of a husband she once loved has confined her. She clings to the few possessions she has brought with her as a means of asserting her old aristocratic identity, but their disintegration marks her own increasing abjection. While Isabel and Aneas are reconciled because they have both been changed by their time on the island, neither Oona nor Rachel can ever leave. In Bondagers, the women move from place to place as they hire themselves out as farm labour, tied to the land, but never able to claim ownership over it. They arrive by economic compulsion, a cheap resource provided by male labourers as a condition of their employment, required to work for half the men’s pay-rate. The women fantasise about migrating to Canada, a place

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defined by their desire to escape. Their knowledge comes from Liza’s brother, Steenie, who has emigrated to Saskatchewan. The contrast between the freedom of movement open to men in Canada and the restrictions on women in Scotland is marked. Men can travel there and buy land, enjoying equality. For women, movement from one farm to the next each year skills them for the work they have to do, but no more. They are bondagers: the places to which they have access are bounded. In Rona Munro’s The Maiden Stone (1995), Harriet, an early nineteenthcentury travelling actress, who eloped at the age of 17 to join the players, finds herself, now in her early forties, marooned. She is locked out of Corgarff Castle, her last hope for a paying performance. She is left alone with a brood of children she struggles to feed. Hers is a relentless and futile journey of escape, an attempt to ward off her own ageing and its threat of loss of identity as a working actress. When Mary, a local girl with acting ambitions, gives birth, Harriet lets the child die. In this, she bestows on Mary the freedom to travel she knows she will no longer enjoy. The impossibility of reconciling motherhood and personal fulfilment is as starkly represented as in A Doll’s House. Yet, even as she dispatches Mary south to Edinburgh, Harriet is all too well aware that, while the city might offer opportunities, it is also a place where Mary’s future will depend on one man. Mobility then is a crucial way of interrogating place’s social significance. It is also a means to expose the ways in which space is gendered. Patriarchal limits on women’s mobility operate as ‘a crucial means of subordination’ confining women to particular places, frequently within the domestic sphere, allowing only men to access the public sphere.27 Indeed, ‘the mobility of women does indeed seem to pose a threat to a settled patriarchal order’.28 Where female characters transgress boundaries of place, they face isolation, exclusion or confinement as prisoners or mad women. Yet in moving into new spaces, female characters are also able to reinvent themselves and the sense of the world they inhabit. The possibilities for movement as a process of reinvention have been examined by Marcella Evaristi and Ann Marie Di Mambro, each detailing, for example, the experiences of Italian immigrants to Scotland.29 Evaristi’s Commedia (1982) traces the journeys of Elena, a 52-year-old Scots-Italian widow from Glasgow to Bologna and back, as she pursues her affair with the much younger Davide. Her trip represents an attempt to free herself from the confines of the role of mother and the stifling gender roles shared by the expatriate Italian community in which her family is so involved and the dominant Scottish culture in which she lives. As her lover Davide, an Italian teacher living in Scotland, points out, the myths of Italy that Elena’s children hold and that determine their oppositional relationships with the ‘Scotchese’ are outmoded. Her travels enable Elena to renegotiate her relationships to both

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Italy and Scotland. Her sense of self is founded in both, and the journeying between, as her identity is multiplied: lover, grandmother, mother, worker, woman. Di Mambro’s Tally’s Blood (1990) likewise moves between Italy and Scotland, during the period between 1936 and 1955, tracing the difficulties faced by the Pedreschi family, Italian migrants, and their response to the overt racism they encounter in Scotland, exacerbated by World War Two’s outbreak. Matriarch Rosinella’s insistence on her Italian identity and unwillingness to participate in the society where she finds herself leaves her isolated and unable to recognise the benefits of living in Scotland. Yet her vision of Italy is as unrealistic as her vision of Scotland, as she discovers when she returns to the place that once was home. Thus, journeying provides her with a way of revisiting her assumptions and prejudices, dismantling the binary opposition of Scotland and Italy. Destabilising her sense of place and opening up new possibilities and relationships enable her to reconfigure her sense of ‘home’. A further dimension needs to be added to the conception of place as inherently unstable: time.30 Time plays a significant part in both the conception and construction of the plays discussed here. As Horvat notes, Joan Ure had already provided models for stepping away from ‘a naturalistically-based linear narrative and focusing on the positionality of the feminine in her plays such as Something in it for Cordelia (1971), Something in it for Ophelia (1971) or Take Your Old Rib Back, Then (1979)’.31 Triesman’s comment that in Macdonald’s work ‘Diachronic and synchronic time may be juxtaposed: history cannot simply be read as destiny’32 may be applied to a wider range of work where past and present intersect. For example, in Bold Girls (1991), Munro counterpoints the progression of events in contemporary time with the unveiling of the past they provoke. Deirdre’s acceptance into her family of the teenage Marie, product of one of her dead husband’s affairs, is a coming to terms with both her memories and her husband’s past, enabling her literally to live with his history’s legacy. Even in Tally’s Blood, with its appearance of an unfolding family chronicle, temporal gaps between events create a sense of time as mosaic rather than causally-focused narrative. Slippages or movements between temporal states also give way to moments of non-time in specific plays. In both Fugue and Your Turn to Clean the Stair, Munro’s opening up of her characters’ interior world draws on expressionist techniques, whereby psychological disturbances rupture the temporal bounds of characters’ present moments. Lady Rachel in The Straw Chair is caught between the present and the past: the final image of her repeated actions in imagining she is writing the letter that will vindicate her suggests the extent to which she has become imprisoned, not just in a specific place but also in a specific moment in time. The use of folklore by Munro and Glover – in The

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Maiden Stone and The Seal Wife, for example – also allows them to free the characters and place from the boundaries of space-time. So when Harriet clings to and is absorbed within the eponymous Maiden Stone, narrative escapes history to become myth. Such instability in fictional space-time is articulated in the deployment of presentational space. Opening up the dramatic worlds of the characters requires the development of a staging flexibility that increasingly evacuates the performance space of naturalistic representational aesthetics. Glover’s Bondagers stage directions are typical: The set should be minimal. One area of the acting space should represent Maggie’s house – but not so definitely as to be intrusive when it does not figure in the action. The cradle is in this ‘area’ – it is a statement, and should be visible. Possibly an ‘area’ of the acting space represents Sara’s house (when required – again, not intrusively). But the ‘house’ area(s) should simply be used as part of the field, barn, whatever, during other scenes; all areas can ‘come and go’, as it were.33

The fluidity of the space here might be attributed to a number of elements, of course. The studio spaces of the Traverse operated with particular housestyles of performance, while the budgets of small- and mid-scale touring companies inhibited the possibility and desirability of naturalistic fidelity in settings. Notably, too, most women writers at this period worked in a range of other media or forms of performance as much as stage drama, forms providing a mobility of setting that left the conventions of the single interiorroom theatre set outmoded. Crucially, however, the focus on fluid stagings was connected to a much deeper concern, as McDonald identifies: ‘Glover, Munro and Ure use the playing space not only to indicate specific locations or naturalistic setting but symbolically to define spheres of psychological or metaphysical influence’.34 Since much of the work of these writers was focused on the relationship between space-time and identity as dynamic and unstable, it was important that this sense of plasticity should be manifest in the staged form of the work. Narratives of female characters breaking out of the domestic sphere and claiming their own places in the world could not be contained by the box set. The argument here, then, has been that the claiming by these women writers of a space for their voices within the theatre as an industry has been matched with a concern to investigate the dimensions of the gendered spaces that might be taken to constitute Scotland. They address both political and aesthetic concerns, but more importantly they have helped reveal new dimensions to Scotland as imaginative space. Paradoxically, perhaps, in confounding easy categorisations and fixed definitions of what it might mean to

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be both woman and Scottish through both their work and the models of successful creative women they provide, they have contributed to the creation of a public sphere where women are better able to define those categories for themselves.

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CHAPT ER FOU R T E E N

The Traverse, 1985–97: Arnott, Clifford, Hannan, Harrower, Greig and Greenhorn Steve Cramer

If truisms about great art emerging from crises do not always prove themselves in actuality, there does seem some connection between aesthetic experiment’s advancement and financial emergency’s exigencies in the mid1980s Traverse Theatre’s case. As a series of increasingly swingeing cuts to Scottish Arts Council and local authority budgets happened between 1981 and 1984, these were, in turn, visited upon the Traverse, to its programme’s detriment, in terms of both new writing and visiting work.1 The unhappy recipient of these cuts was artistic director Peter Lichtenfels, who by 1984 was in effect, if not name, joint artistic director with his associate director Jenny Killick. She would be appointed to Lichtenfels’ position after his departure in September 1985. Beyond the ongoing cuts, increasing, and possibly unjustified, murmurings about the quality of the theatre’s work had surfaced in the media, traced to prominent Arts Council figures. Late in 1984, the comment by one of these to The Glasgow Herald that the Traverse was ‘neither very full, nor very exciting, nor very solvent’, seemed to confirm rumours of a planned further 20–30 per cent cut in the Traverse budget.2 It is difficult not to conclude that what followed in 1985 was a response to the marginalisation funding bodies imposed on the Traverse and, ultimately, Thatcherite arts policies. Over that summer, Killick in particular seemed to gear herself toward a radical new-writing programme, creating an ensemble feel to performances, frequently re-using the same actors as the year progressed, aiding productions in both rehearsal and performance.3 More significantly, she introduced three relatively obscure new writers to audiences: Peter Arnott, Chris Hannan and John (now Jo) Clifford. Arnott’s White Rose, Hannan’s Elizabeth Gordon Quinn and Clifford’s Losing Venice emerged as not only successive commercial and critical successes, but interrogation of the forms of ideological myth that had sustained Thatcherism thus far. While earlier a few Traverse productions had questioned UK culture’s emergent neo-liberal political currents, these had been isolated and occasional. Companies like 7:84 and Wildcat had been left with most of the task of

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addressing the political crisis unfolding in Britain, and were themselves beset with cutbacks. If the Traverse’s bourgeois metropolitan ethos would not quite allow 7:84’s rough, egalitarian agit-prop aesthetic on its stages, there was scope to enact an ideological examination through historical metaphor. As Ian Brown has pointed out, there was strong precedent for this kind of work from the 1970s on, deployed to a wide range of purposes, but particularly to exploring Scottish identity issues.4 At the 1985 Traverse, even given one of these three plays was set in Scotland, national identity seemed less significant than the creation of complex metaphors about newly created ideological paradigms emanating largely from south of the Border. And each play in different ways kicked against the pricks of recent Traverse aesthetic precedent. As Joyce McMillan comments, Killick shared with each of these potential playwrights a clear artistic impulse, a frustration with the small-scale, quiet, detailed, personalised social observational drama into which the Traverse had been drifting since the end of the 70s [. . .] These playwrights were obsessed, at different levels, with large, sweeping political and social themes, with parables, allegories, epics and historical parallels; and Killick was determined to release the Traverse space from its black box appearance and literal sets, and make theatrical life flow through it as if it represented the world itself.5

Killick’s determination to free up Traverse productions from studious naturalism in turn allowed for the epic’s return, with increased capacity to address large-scale ideological issues. It seems no coincidence that in the aftermath of the Falklands war – and the oft-cited ‘Falklands factor’ that contributed to the re-election of a government that had, before the war, been the least popular in living memory – each of the three plays dealt with here located itself in situations of armed conflict. In a 2009 interview with the present author for The Scotsman, Arnott spoke of an interest in ideology that has persisted throughout his oeuvre: I think it’s just the way the world seems to me; it’s just there. I think curiosity about how the world works keeps you alert and awake [. . .] The arbitrary use of power is part of the thing I do – it keeps turning up.6

It turns up effectively in White Rose, which, on the face of it, tells the simple story of Lily Litvak, the World War Two Soviet fighter ace. Yet Arnott displays, increasingly, a subtle agenda underneath a story of war love and loss. Creating two other characters, Alexei, another pilot at the battle of Stalingrad with whom Lily becomes involved, and Ina, a young mechanic who initially worships Lily, but becomes increasingly restive as the war

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progresses, he questions the myth-making process of propaganda and disseminated ideology’s reifying influence. From early in White Rose,7 where a propaganda film is being shot, the media’s capacity to render narratives of stark, mechanised mass destruction into romanticised human-interest stories is foregrounded. LILY

You’ve taken your pictures, now take them away and show them to people who don’t care about our boyfriends whether we’ve got them or not.

[. . .] DIRECTOR With respect, I’m not sure that Comrade Captain Litvak appreciates the role of cinema in the war effort. Still, it’s a thought. The beautiful huntress of the night . . . we could do with a little romance . . . INA Romance? DIRECTOR Oh, it’s not frowned on any more, you know. Nothing much is, so long as it’s cheerful. She is lovely. She’ll photograph very well. She’s not at all severe looking. (pp. 2–3)

Increasingly, for Lily and Alexei conflict’s spectacular adrenaline trip becomes their motivation, obfuscating a bigger ideological battle. This, in a key scene involving a Luftwaffe prisoner who refuses to believe a female pilot has shot him down, is shown as all-pervasive for both fascists and communists (pp. 25–30). Neither side can appreciate any viewpoint beyond pre-programmed hegemonic discourse, as Ina points out to Lily: INA

Oh, ask any of you why you’re doing it and you’ll spout some predigested crap about the motherland. Ask you what you’ll do after the war, and you’ll dribble out some shit you’ve got memorised about reconstruction and the forward march of socialism . . . because you just see the world from up there . . . where it looks like a map . . . with clear directions and targets of opportunity . . . well it’s not like that for most of us, it’s a mess . . . (p. 44)

While the play’s surface action progresses, condemning a Soviet propaganda machine (a subject to which Arnott returns in The Wire Garden, 2002), clearly writ large in the subtext are the scars of mass media hysteria accompanying the Falklands War, reinventing British nationalism through a Margaret Thatcher only half-jokingly represented in contemporary cartoons as a new Boudicca. So, too, global mass media’s capacity to subsume collective aspiration, rechannelling desire to ideological purposes is unmistakable: INA

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I would rather die here with you now, here on the muddy ground than to live with them up there, in the brave new world they’re dreaming of.

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steve cr a m er Because they are already up there dreaming, Lily . . . they are in Washington and London and Moscow . . . and they are already planning the next war. For fascists to fight and nobody to win. Don’t let them tell you lies! (pp. 45–6)

On 25 March 2003, precisely a week after the second Gulf War started, the author led a post-show discussion alongside John Clifford and former Traverse artistic director Ian Brown after a reading of Losing Venice, mounted as part of the Traverse’s fortieth anniversary celebrations. Here a simple reiteration of the plot – a small province of a great empire attempts to curry favour with its masters, undertakes a military operation against the empire’s enemy, only wreaking havoc in a third nation nothing to do with the original crisis – created shouts of laughter throughout the Traverse main house. It is testament to Clifford’s work’s durability that wherever imperial adventurism manifests itself, the play seems to have something to say. Killick’s production of August 1985 like Arnott’s White Rose, if it contained a general condemnation of imperialist violence, was more directly concerned with the delusional nationalism that had welled up around the Falklands War. Like Shakespeare, Clifford8 moves her condemnation of injustice wrought of hubris to Venice, but its metaphor is clear enough. The distance between the Falklands and a botched late-sixteenth-century Spanish intervention in Venice might superficially seem a conceit too far, but, as Alasdair Cameron points out,9 Killick’s production, employing a series of Scots pantomime characters and theatrical tropes, rendered it decidedly immediate. Pablo and Maria, the central characters, are two Scots-accented servants far wiser than their masters, figures familiar from Kemp’s and Carin’s influential translations described in John Corbett’s chapter. These, with their master, the poet Quevedo, are summoned to work for the local Duke, in order that Quevedo can be an effective spin-doctor to his inarticulate, moronic royal master. The Duke’s ruminations seem to speak as much for nostalgic, conservative England as for post-imperial Spain: But this country. This country we so dearly love, is she admired? She used to be. She used to be great, used to be respected, used to be feared. But now what part do we play in the world?’(p. 58)

The ensuing violence, visited inadvertently upon Crete rather than Venice, is described in terms recognisable to a Scotland suffering the economic anarchy wrought by unregulated markets in tandem with ‘Victorian values’ sham-morality: DUKE

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Having crushed criminality, I turn to the slums. Verminous warrens where vices breed like rabbits. I erase them. The prisons overflow with

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human dregs [. . .] People are children. Strictness develops them. The idle are set to work. Beggars are banished. (p. 83)

Meanwhile, Venice itself proves a nation of eccentrics, relaxed with itself, and lacking Spanish destructive colonial ambitions, but Clifford takes the play far further than simple condemnation of the current political regime. As with Arnott’s play, there is awareness of a world beset by false consciousness, where the organic self is inevitably corrupted. Such is the power of the hegemony the language of authority creates that this language’s architect, Quevedo, is himself deceived by it. In one of the play’s most cogent physical images, he is robbed of his glasses by pirates, only to find he has perfect vision without them (p. 79). Clifford has remarked that in the past Marcuse influenced her thought, and the idea of Quevedo’s spectacles as less necessity than piece of consumer fetishism seems to bear out this influence. Throughout Clifford’s oeuvre, including Every One (2010), forms of materialism are seen to divert and alienate characters, contributing to unhappiness and crushing creativity. In Losing Venice, as elsewhere in Clifford’s work, characters are alienated by ideology from their own sexualities. While the play ends in a gesture of hope, with the birth of Pedro and Maria’s child, for the other characters the pursuit of material values negates their capacity for sexual pleasure. The Duchess schemes early on to create a war for the Duke to fight, in order to avoid any further sexual encounters. Quevedo is rendered equally incapable of emotional fulfilment by his causal association with the pursuit of power: ‘Human happiness? Denied / Marital bliss? Ridiculed / The joys of love? Negated. / And all in blank verse’ (p. 64). Even as Maria dreams of an easier life in small business, Pedro cautions her against the prevailing ideology’s inherent snares where individualist aspiration leads to moral decrepitude: MARIA

PABLO

MARIA PABLO

I’d stay up all night baking. And when I got tired I’d just look up at the stars. And when dawn came I’d give children the pieces of hot crust and the loose ends of fresh pies. I’d spend the morning handing out this lovely food. We’d make love all afternoon and in the evening I’d go to sleep. You’d put chalk in the flour. You’d paint the crusts brown. You’d buy the flour cheap and you’d sell the bread dear. You’d drive beggars from your door with dogs. Am I that cruel? It’s not you love, it’s the world. (pp. 63–4)

If commodity fetishism is a recurrent concern throughout Losing Venice, it provides the central image of Hannan’s Elizabeth Gordon Quinn.10 Of this

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celebrated summer’s three plays, Hannan’s is the only one set in Scotland, albeit in a period no longer within most of its audience’s living memory. If its central character is not the eponymous eccentric Glasgow housewife in denial about her status as a member of the working-class tenement community she belongs to, it is certainly the largely unplayed piano intended to set her apart from and above those around her. Hannan wrote against a background where middle-class values were heavily promoted. Thatcher’s ‘property-owning democracy’ propagated the notion that there was in fact no such thing as the working class, and relegated many who claimed to belong to it to the dole queue, where the term ‘underclass’ became current. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that this ideology’s mythmaking was Hannan’s direct target when the play was originally written. Certainly the Thatcherite adage, ‘There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families’11 is interrogated with alarming results. The functionless piano becomes both insurmountable obstacle to Elizabeth’s emotional development as mother and spouse and the agency of her material destruction. Her refusal to join the rent strike, which all in her community but Mrs Black, her ardent protestant and unionist neighbour, have joined, alienates her from those around her, even her daughter Maura, who becomes treasurer to the strike. Meanwhile her son Aidan, whom Elizabeth’s relentless, ghoulish jingoism drove to enlistment in the army, returns home a deserter, and her husband, worn down by the perversity of Elizabeth’s sacrifices in straitened circumstances to retain the piano, departs. Her explanation of its significance illustrates a tawdry and banal materialism beneath her protestations of eccentricity: The piano was his wedding present to me. He couldn’t afford it and I couldn’t play it. Though we led each other to believe the opposite. When I married I imagined I would never be poor again. (p. 140)

In its original 1985 form, Elizabeth Gordon Quinn addressed a central tenet of the emerging neo-liberal ideology dominating Britain. Over the ensuing period, the fetishisation of the subject has reached such hegemonic dominance it is often now taken as self-evident truth that to find common cause with others will, of absolute necessity, erase entirely individual identity. Yet, in 1985, this was still very much subject to debate. Elizabeth’s explicit defence of the free market in rents, and her mighty proclamation, ‘I am not the working class, I am Elizabeth Gordon Quinn. I’m an individual’ (p. 122), are inherently connected, and linked to the myth that extending consumerism brings individual choice. For its 2006 National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) revival, Hannan rewrote the play extensively. His explanation for doing so speaks clearly of a changed ideological structure:

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It was seen in 1985 as a political play, and that’s because to a large extent it had been written as a political play. It referred to the politics of that time – the miners’ strike and all that [. . .] I wanted to make the play even more about the character of Elizabeth Gordon Quinn, the reality of being her so that I could draw the audience into a stronger relationship with her.12

The effect of this somewhat muted the piece as a whole. While Cara Kelly’s performance in the lead created a deserved success for the NTS, the loss of clear focus on the play’s central debate about the connection between commodity fetishism and individual disempowerment (paradoxically defended as individualism by Elizabeth) lessened both its intellectual and emotional impact. That legendary summer’s critical and commercial success is sometimes anecdotally credited with ‘saving the Traverse’. If there is a certain speculative hyperbole to this, there can be little doubt that the work of 1985 seemed to forestall further, more severe cuts. It stabilised the Traverse sufficiently to allow, seven years later, its transfer from its Grassmarket premises to its more salubrious current Cambridge Street manifestation. No-one who admires the Traverse would wish it into such a tenuous state again. Yet in rendering the company liminal, there can be little doubt the funding bodies disinhibited the Traverse from its earlier caution, allowing a level of aesthetic experiment and ideological questioning that had been less evident in the building in the years before. The 1990s Traverse was not without its travails, nor a certain level of privation, yet little would occur over the following decades to match its earlier predicament’s severity. There is perhaps a connection between this and its less overtly political 1990s work. Much has been made of the 1990s ‘in-yer-face’ generation, but, while the younger generation of Scottish dramatists arising in this period shared some assumptions of this first generation of ‘Thatcher kids’, perhaps only Anthony Neilson (a London-based Scot) would employ the same form of violence and shock imagery in his work as those notable in such English dramatists as Sarah Kane, Mark Ravenhill and Jez Butterworth. But, while the Scottish counterparts of the Generation X writers south of the Border were notably less extravagant in imagery, they shared a sense of what the artistic director of the Royal Court Ian Rickson called ‘privatised dissent’.13 There seemed a quite doctrinaire suspicion of collective action as ‘grand narrative’ among these writers and, despite the laughter provoked in audiences by the 1980s work of companies like 7:84, political theatre with declared purposes was seen as ‘worthy’ or ‘preachy’. Instead a multiplicity of strategies was employed to explore what often transpired to be subjectivities of various kinds, without affirming philosophies. Of this new generation perhaps the work of David Harrower is most notable

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for such lack of affirmation. The work of Hannan, Clifford and Arnott seemed to contain, at some basic level, a certain premise about human capacity to progress through sociability which to some extent Marx might have influenced, but Harrower, however unconsciously, seems to belong to Strauss and Hayek’s aggressively individualistic philosophies. While in a play like Elizabeth Gordon Quinn the central character, however brainwashed by bourgeois ideology, is still capable of choices that might alter her circumstances, Harrower’s seem choiceless, predestined and nihilistic. In Knives in Hens,14 Harrower’s 1995 Traverse success, subsequently translated and performed worldwide, language’s instability and use in propping up archaic and oppressive power structures is foregrounded. Set in some vaguely defined, possibly medieval, remote farming community of no particular nation (though the première employed Scots accents), it features a young woman so oppressed by patriarchal language she remains nameless; her spouse Pony William, suspected locally of taking animal husbandry rather too literally; and Gilbert, the vicinity’s much-hated Miller. The woman and Gilbert explore an attraction created by fascination with the logocentric; as their relationship develops, they murder Pony William. The Young Woman’s self-reflexive ponderings lead her to conclusions about perspective and our circumstances’ capacity to alter our viewpoint that alarm Pony William: YOUNG WOMAN PONY WILLIAM

Things change each time I look at them. Some do, some don’t. Keep with what you know. Best way. No standing looking. Village’ll see. And talk. You know this village. (p. 5)

This oppressive conformity, largely imposed by religious strictures, is in no way diminished by the characters’ liminality, each in different ways ostracised by the community, where, as the Young Woman remarks, ‘God watches every thing. He sees every thing. He has the names for every thing’ (p. 6). If audiences might expect the struggle against language’s inherent hegemonic power structures to bring, if not redemption, at least some alteration of circumstances for the better in these characters, they will be disappointed. After Gilbert and the Young Woman conspire to crush Pony William under a giant Miller’s wheel (perhaps a symbolic enactment of revolution’s fruitlessness) they successfully conceal his murder, but this causes only their separation. So, Caliban-like, the most significant new phrase the Young Woman learns is the curse ‘Fuck off’ (p. 36). Perhaps Pony William’s antihuman adage, ‘The glory of God is God, not his creation’ (p. 34) wins out in Harrower’s worldview. The bleak and memorable poetry of Harrower’s dialogue contributes to a sense that each character is irredeemably trapped within his or her own

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subjectivity, unable and generally unwilling to link with the social world. This asocial and individualistic vision is sustained by the rejection of historical process itself as another grand narrative. The one exception in Harrower’s oeuvre to general avoidance of political drama is Begin Again (1999), a piece positing a kind of Sliding Doors scenario. There a man follows two possible paths in post-war Britain, one of Attlee government social democratic politics, the other as a spiv-turned-entrepreneur. However, he would disown this play shortly after its run, dubbing it ‘not intellectually honest’. Indeed, although setting Knives in Hens in the past, Harrower is deliberately vague about period, as if context were no determinant of behaviour or ideological mores, merely another excuse for humankind’s universally alienated condition. Under this, the post-Thatcher era’s bleak paranoia and extreme individualist ethos seems to inform the text. Such concern with private worlds and individual conflict with perceived social norms continues in later work. In Dark Earth (2003) a city couple come face-to-face with the different traditions of a farming family living near the Antonine Wall. In Blackbird (2005), also widely internationally produced, the ambivalences of the remeeting of a couple who had an affair when she was 12 and he 40 challenge easy perceptions of right and truth. While David Greig’s aesthetic also acknowledges this alienation between people in the postmodern world, he sees this not as inherent human condition, but rather the result of contemporary culture’s reifying processes. Context is everything to Greig, and the precision with which he outlines his characters’ circumstances reflects a recurrent thesis throughout his oeuvre about the ways humans are diverted from their organic sociality. His characters are frequently dislocated and, although Greig has remained in Scotland throughout his career, his relationship with Scottish national identity is uneasy. In an essay published to coincide with the première of his early play Europe (1994),15 Greig wrote: Playwrights can’t be good nationalists because they, more than anyone, have to seek out the contradictions, the stupidities and the platitudes. Nationalism is a sentimental ideology, an ideology of simplicity, hearth and home, an ideology of belonging and playwrights don’t belong [. . .] But if playwrights can’t be good nationalists, they can [be] and are good for a nation.16

Europe takes the Eastern Bloc’s collapse as starting point, Greig taking inspiration from the story of forty Bosnian refugees trapped on a bus in a Slovenian border town in 1992, whom the British government, despite guaranteed upkeep from a charity, refused entry on grounds they were ‘economic migrants’. In Greig’s hands, the play becomes the story of two displaced East Europeans, father and daughter Sava and Katia, marooned at a recently closed border railway station. They come into conflict with the stationmaster

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Fret, who despite his own impending redundancy, and the fact trains no longer stop at the station, seeks fruitlessly to move them on. As Fret and Sava eventually find common cause in their careers as railwaymen, Katia, possibly a rape victim as a result of ethnic conflict, develops a lesbian relationship with Adele, a local in a crumbling marriage. Meanwhile, social upheavals wrought by an untrammelled free market’s onset create fascistic nationalism in the town that visits violence upon these characters. The ‘economic genocide’ of the visiting of Chicago School market liberalism on Russia (a subject remaining almost completely undiscussed in Western media) and much of the Eastern Bloc combines with allusions to Balkans conflicts to inform Europe. But there seems to be a subtext too about another small nation asserting its independence. Scotland’s rate of unemployment amidst the ongoing free market economic experiment remained high, with vast tracts of local industry obliterated, just as in the unnamed country of Greig’s imagining. The effects here on local people represent a cautionary tale: HORSE BILLY HORSE BILLY HORSE BERLIN

It isn’t you who should be leaving Billy. Leaving home. Forced out. You shouldn’t have to go. I’m going because I want to. [. . .] They give all the jobs to the Somalis and Ethiopians. It’s true. Who’s they, Horse? The left. The dirty anarchists. The Jews and the gyppos. The blacks and the browns. (p. 49)

Against this, Greig sets Sava’s pan-European notions of civil order, relying on inherent human reason: SAVA You underestimate human nature. It’s human nature to be suspicious at first. But you forget that it’s also human nature to see the truth of a situation when the situation is made clear [. . .] These things are valued everywhere [. . .] Katia, we’re not in some savage country on the other side of the world [. . .] We’re a long way from home but we’re still in Europe. We’ll be looked after, our situation will be understood. (p. 25)

Yet the assumption that the world outside Europe is uncivilised betrays not only naivety about the economic processes under way in Eastern Europe, but a certain colonialism regarding the rest of the world. Inevitably, Greig’s view of his characters is complex, here implying that in other circumstances Sava might be as racist as those who proceed to persecute him. Modern multinational capitalism’s reifying influence is at the heart of

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the problem, and symbolised by Morocco, a businessman and sentimental wealthy nationalist in exile (a familiar figure to Scottish audiences) whom the new economy has profited: MOROCCO

A magic money line. See, you pass something across it [the border] and it’s suddenly worth more. Pass it across again and now it’s cheaper. More . . . less . . . more fags, drinks, jobs, cars . . . less is more, more or less . . . see . . . magic money just for crossing a magic line. I’m not a smuggler, I’m a magician, an illusionist. There’s no crime in that. (p. 28)

Yet even he, who seems to have a particular and growing resonance to UK audiences, is not condemned. Morocco compels Katia to prostitute herself to save herself and her father, but is later beaten up by right wing thugs. For all his ruthlessness, he becomes somewhat sympathetic after his beating. Greig’s perspective on the continent of the title and, by implication, Scotland is complex. The railway serves as a pervasive image of paradox. It is represented in the play as a system of arteries crossing the body politic. It is symbol of the modern, testament to a century of traumatic industrial alteration, both progressive and, in its capacity to illustrate both the illusory nature of borders and their intractability, ambivalent. Like his contemporaries, Greig stops short of adopting a moral stance on the events he portrays, but clearly believes that in human sociability is cause for optimism. His later work shows, too, spry theatrical curiosity. Danny 306 + Me (4 Ever) (1999) is a play for children for human and puppet performers; while 8000 Metres (2004) explores themes of human relationship and personal identity as actors enact mountaineering climbs. In Midsummer (2008), ‘a play with songs’, two actors play a multitude of other parts while stepping out of scenes to address the audience in an off-the-wall love story. Stephen Greenhorn, too, is concerned with the myth-making underlying national identity. In Passing Places (1997),17 we encounter Alex and Brian, two young Motherwell men who abscond with the surfboard of a local sportsshop owner and villain, which, the audience might guess from the start, contains an illegitimately acquired fortune. Pursued by the gangster, Binks, they journey through the Highlands in an untaxed Lada, meeting a series of marginalised characters including the hippy girl Mirren, with whom Alex begins a tentative romance. Like Mark Ravenhill, while his tone is gentler and more comical, Greenhorn sees humanity in the formation of small communities among people mainstream society render liminal. Like Greig, Greenhorn is as concerned with multinational capitalism as any local version, but the effect on the local community, particularly with regard to the representation of the country’s history is also stressed, as an encounter with the Highland landscape illustrates:

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MIRREN Wasn’t always so nice and quiet around here. ALEX What happened? MIRREN Clearances. Whole families packed off to Canada and Australia. Driven out to make room for some sheep. ALEX Money talks. Nothing changes, eh? MIRREN This changed. They changed it into scenery. The Great Wilderness? The Highland Landscape? It’s an invention. I don’t think it’s peaceful. I think it’s sad. ALEX Where I come from, they took all the jobs away then called it a special development area. (p. 56)

Ultimately, though, Greenhorn too reserves judgement on any positive creed or belief structure that might alleviate problems on a larger scale. The escapers from Motherwell finish in company with a Thurso surf guru, The Shaper, who, between allusions to modernist literature and mystical proclamations about surfing and spiritual enlightenment, exacts a healthy fee from Alex and Brian for reselling the surfboard. In contrast to the work of earlier writers like Clifford, whose characters’ aspirations even to small businesses are fraught with ideological peril, Greenhorn identifies many symptoms, but stops short of identifying the disease. Perhaps this is in keeping with the tone of John Tiffany’s original playful and highly theatrical production, which tended to play down the politics in favour of the characters’ personal interactions. Aesthetically, there are as many continuities as juxtapositions between the two playwright generations analysed here. Although there are contrasts in approach to the ideological issues identified, the notion of false consciousness runs through all their work, while each at different points in their respective careers has shown disregard for naturalism’s strictures. Since the 1990s there has been generally less caution than in that decade in identifying positive agendas to address the ideological phantoms haunting British culture. But some of the contrasts outlined above arise less from different ideological approaches than from the way the earlier generation, launched amidst mid-1980s Traverse crises, would subsequently endure long periods without a stage. The 1990s saw little of Arnott, Clifford or Hannan’s work on Scottish stages, as the need to develop the new generation manifested itself. Here, we end where we began: economic pressures on Scottish theatre continue, and provision for new work has diminished. The sudden apparent falling from fashion of new writers, a trend established at least a generation before even those writers we began with, is not simple capriciousness shown by companies, but caused by a more general paucity of funding. Nonetheless, after 2000, all of these writers’ work could be seen on Scottish stages. All six have contributed significantly to ideological debate and theatrical vitality.

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CHAPT ER FIF T E E N

Liz Lochhead Ksenija Horvat

Liz Lochhead is a poet, playwright, translator and performing artist whose divergent careers meet, deviate, co-exist and happily merge into one other. Lochhead confesses that being a poet is ‘the most precious thing’1 to her: ‘If I were a playwright, I’d like to be a poet in the theatre’.2 This chapter looks at some of her major plays between 1970 and 2008 to explore and re-evaluate the influence of poetic, visual and dramatic narratives upon her writing. An art college graduate, Lochhead realised early on that she could not express her interest in narrative through painting, and especially through the current artistic trend towards abstract painting. As Alison Smith records her saying in ‘Speaking in Her Own Voice’ (1993): Once I got a bit of facility with my drawing, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. The kind of drawings and paintings that I felt were the right kind to do didn’t give me, personally, satisfaction, because they didn’t have a narrative. I’m not really interested in abstractions.3

She began to write poetry in the 1960s while at Glasgow School of Art, and combined writing and part-time teaching for the following eight years. While habitually self-deprecating about her training as an artist, there is no escaping painting’s profound influence on her writing. She herself admitted in an interview with Brian Taylor at the final event of the 2005 Edinburgh Book Festival: I still draw sometimes but not very well. I still enjoy drawing. There’s something special about that way of looking, but my visual sense has gone not just into the poems but into the theatre, which is quite spatial. I see figures in space.4

Tom Pow argues that Lochhead’s writing has grown from two distinctive seeds, her love of narrative and of drawing and painting, the latter of which, according to Pow, ‘survives in her often overlooked ability to “draw” a scene for the reader’.5 This ability to lure the readers into scenes where sumptuous

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colours and meticulous detail are arranged like Rubens’ paintings is evident as early as in her poem ‘Revelation’ (1972), from Memo for Spring (1978): I ran, my pigtails thumping on my back in fear, past the big boys in the farm lane who pulled the wings from butterflies and blew up frogs with straws. Past thorned hedge and harried nest, scared of the eggs shattering – only my small and shaking hand on the jug’s rim in case the milk should spill.6

The poem’s image creates an associative link to an initiation into mysteries of adulthood revealing darkly sexual and unsettling undertones beyond the surface of nostalgia, which are embodied by the black bull, ‘the hot reek of him [. . .] immense, / his edges merging with the darkness’,7 as simultaneously an object of terror and desire. During the early 1970s Lochhead became part of The Group, a network of new authors who participated in writers’ workshops in Glasgow, instigated by Philip Hobsbaum (1932–2005), and including Alasdair Gray (1934–), Jeff Torrington (1935–2008), Aonghas MacNeacail (Aonghas dubh, 1942–), Tom Leonard (1944–) and James Kelman (1946–). During the 1980s she collaborated with some of these authors, notably in creating musical revues such as Tickly Mince (1982, with Tom Leonard and Alasdair Gray), Disgusting Objects (1982), The Pie of Damocles (1982, with Tom Leonard, Alasdair Gray and James Kelman) and A Bunch of Fives (1983, with Dave MacLennan, Dave Anderson, Tom Leonard and Sean Hardie). Lochhead’s first poetry collection, Memo for Spring (1978), won a Scottish Arts Council Book Award, and her poetry quickly earned critical acclaim for its sense of visuality and presence of a narrative element. In 1981 her third collection, Dreaming Frankenstein, she placed women’s experience at the centre of her poesis. As Edwin Morgan noted on the back cover of the 2003 edition: [h]uman relationships, especially as seen from a woman’s point of view, are central: attraction, pain, acceptance, loss, triumphs and deceptions, habits and surprises; always made immediate through a storyteller’s concrete detail of place or voice or object or colour remembered or imagined.8

Whether in early or later incarnation in collections like The Colour of Black and White (2003) Lochhead’s poetry flaunts powerful theatricality in both tone and delivery; it oozes sexual and emotional intimacy through dramatic monologue, pliable rhymes and near-rhymes, and the conjuring of rich visual

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and olfactory images that transport the reader directly into the narrator’s experience. Much later, in the ‘Introduction’ to Educating Agnes (2008), her adaptation of Molière’s L’École des Femmes (The School for Wives), discussing her choice of rhyming Scots, Lochhead ruminates about: the energy that rhyming – whether in Scots, English or American – gives to the text and the actors. There is something fundamentally comic about rhyme, particularly with polysyllabic feminine rhymes or outrageous near-rhymes [. . .]9

Lochhead’s fascination with different facets and tonalities of language, with its colours, tastes and textures, has led her to experiment in her poetry and drama with a broad range of styles, from lyrical, classical and heightened to idiomatic, popular and urban, and registers, from Standard English to her Lanarkshire grandmother’s broad Lowland Scots. Her work never fails to remind readers that language is both a subject and an object of fiction; it is a construct shaped by a variety of socio-cultural factors as well as by its author’s mind’s eye. This comes across clearly from the final stanza of her poem ‘Kidspoem/Bairnsong’, where the narrator’s voice shifts back and forth from the playful Lanarkshire speech of a wee girl whose ‘Mum happed me up in ma / good navy-blue napp coat wi the rid tartan hood, / birled a scarf aroon ma neck / pu’ed oan ma pixie an’ my pawkies’10 to an adult voice in English: Oh saying it was one thing but when it came to writing it in black and white the way it had to be said was as if you were posh, grown-up, male, English and dead.11

Lochhead recognises that an act of writing, like one of speech, is always political. Ensconced in her poetry and playwriting are timbres of the Scottish Renaissance movement, an affinity with a rich poetic tradition that makes her return to her grassroots time and time again, and to write about Scottish working-class people, tenements, laundrettes and working men’s clubs, in a language that is familiar to them. In this sense, she follows in the same well-trodden literary pathways as Edwin Morgan (1920–2010), Leonard and Kelman, as well as such translators as Bill Findlay (1947–2005). While Lochhead’s writing may be politically flavoured, her interests are not fuelled by a ‘national’ agenda. She is an instinctive writer whose inspiration comes from a variety of sources, from the composition of colours in a drawing, to an actor’s voice. She insisted that Graham McLaren cast Anneika Rose in the role of Agnes in Educating Agnes (2008) after hearing Rose’s crisp Glaswegian accent when she delivered, ironically and coincidentally, Agnes’ speech from Let Wives Tak Tent, Robert Kemp’s

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(1908–1967) 1948 adaptation of L’École des Femmes. Lochhead shapes ideas and language modes, whether English, Scots or American, into polyphonic forms that reverberate through the audiences’ own emotive states, bringing instant recognition and emotive responses of laughter, empathy and purgation. Lochhead’s power lies not in her literary proficiency – her knowledge and understanding of classics is beyond dispute – but in her familiarity. Her writing is of and for the ordinary people, having cut its teeth early on in poetry readings and revues performed in workmen’s clubs and theatre spaces alike. When Dorine snipes, ‘You cry him a saint, Ah cry him a blether’,12 Lochhead evokes a character type that Scottish audiences can readily recognise and sneer at, while still preserving Molière’s unique spirit. This does not mean that Lochhead’s work is not concerned with the Scottishness. Tom Pow notes that while Lochhead admitted at one point that being urban, working-class and a woman were more important to her than being Scottish, ‘her work has shown for many years an obsession with ideas of Scottishness’.13 It is impossible to distinguish the concepts of gender, culture and nation in her work: they are intertwined in her characters’ continuously shifting images of self. The author forces characters, and audiences alike, to look at and re-evaluate themselves by holding a mirror to their innermost desires. In 1978, the Traverse Theatre produced her first revue Sugar and Spite co-written with Marcella Evaristi. In her Preface to True Confessions and New Clichés (2003), Lochhead states that Sugar and Spite was her first ‘outloud performance’.14 It was born out of Evaristi’s successfully persuading the Traverse that ‘she and I ought to put a “poetry reading” together, and run it for several nights’.15 Lochhead recalls how she and Evaristi soon realised that only a couple of original poems, ‘Spinster’ and ‘Bawd’, were suited to dramatic performance, and wrote new material with a strong dramatic element. In performance Esther Allan who sang the songs joined them, while Lochhead and Evaristi spoke their verses along to the music in ‘what we felt, somehow, was Good Old Cabaret Style’.16 That same year, Lochhead went to Canada on the Scottish Arts Council’s first Scottish-Canadian Writers’ Exchange, staying one year in Glendon College, Toronto. Here her first full-length play Blood and Ice was conceived. First produced in 1981 in the studio of the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, it was performed at the Traverse soon after. She refers to the detrimental effect its critical reception had on her when she observes with characteristically dry wit that it took her a while to regain her stage nerve, labelling this first production of a challenging play as ‘a disastrous premature version [. . .] (“I’d rather be at the dentist – Birmingham Evening News”). So would I and the cast too.’17 Anne Varty talks of Mary Brennan’s and Cordelia Oliver’s mixed reviews of the Traverse run, complaining that ‘it [was] disappointing that both critics (themselves women) retreat[ed] first into

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what they [knew] about Lochhead before they [could] address the work that [crossed] the boundary from poetry to drama’.18 Lochhead’s work does not simply cross the boundary between the two genres, it blurs it. The narrative component has always been significant in Lochhead’s poetry, and a lot of her poems are constructed around a dramatic character, making them attractive for performing before an audience. It would be short-sighted to separate Lochhead’s dramas from the performative potential that rests at the heart of her poetry. Indeed, at the time of writing her first full-length play it does not seem that Lochhead consciously thought in terms of dramatic structure. One of the possible reasons why Blood and Ice may have been so notoriously difficult to execute on stage, and why Lochhead engaged in several adaptations of this play, is that in terms of structure and imagery it possesses her poetic work’s intensity and rhythms. This ability to cross the boundaries between poetic and dramatic seamlessly is reflected in Lochhead’s later writing and stage adaptation. For instance, Blood and Ice (1982), Dracula (1985) and Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off (1987) are divided into two parts, resembling stanzaic poetic structure, engaging with differing lengths and styles. Theatre critics such as Gareth Lloyd-Evans (The Guardian, 13 April 1981), Cordelia Oliver (The Guardian, 27 August 1982) and Mary Brennan (Glasgow Herald, 8 May 1984) pointed out the structural incongruities in Lochhead’s early plays, arguably complicated further by her use of metatextuality as a distancing device from stage realism. Through interpolating quotations by other authors into her texts and adapting other authors’ works, Lochhead strives to reinterpret and/or change the meanings of those texts. In Blood and Ice, Mary Shelley recites fragments from Coleridge’s ‘The Ancient Mariner’ and ‘Christabel’, while in Dracula Lochhead interjects her dramatic dialogue with long passages from Bram Stoker’s novel of the same title. In both cases metatextuality serves to reinterpret the Romantic construction of women’s sexuality as unheimlich, uncanny and demonic. Jan McDonald and Jennifer Harvie note that, far from being interested in mimetic theatre, Lochhead seems to perceive dramatic representation as ‘always the product of ideologically influenced context and choice’.19 In this sense, metatextuality and binary opposites serve to enable her audience to recognise and acknowledge the fluidity, changeability and interruptability of reality. Lochhead’s awareness of these stylistic incongruities in Blood and Ice certainly contributed to her continuous revising of the play. Anne Varty describes the process by which Blood and Ice evolved from the original version Mary and the Monster (1981, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry) which was critically savaged, to the subsequent 1982 and 1985 versions (the latter of which Varty suggests was structurally and ideologically most accomplished). In these Lochhead developed the binary imagery of blood and ice as key in the play.

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Lochhead provided yet another version for Graham McLaren’s 2003 Royal Lyceum production, which stressed the story’s linearity but obscured many of the ideological connotations of the 1982 and 1985 versions. In the 2003 version, Mary Shelley’s character is still narrator of the fateful events during the summer at Lake Geneva with Shelley, Byron and her half-sister Claire, but instead of the subject of her own story she has now become the object in the story of the making of the Shelley and Byron myth. Based on the earlier versions of the play, Blood and Ice may be read as a play about female creativity and the relationship between a woman artist and her creation. In a letter to Emma Tennant of 28 January 1980, Lochhead voiced the concerns that she had at the time of writing Mary and the Monster about the genderisation of language and the (un)acceptability of female creativity: What exactly is the relationship of self to others and image in a woman; the problem of the Female Muse for the female writer, or do we have to discover, or re-discover some ‘masculine principle’ within ourselves to be whole, can we have a Male Muse? [. . .] or must we squabble with parts of ourselves, live with our Bad Sisters [. . .]20

The inequality between the opportunities given to male as opposed to female authors in Scottish theatre circles referred to by Tom Maguire must have been in the back of Lochhead’s mind, thus fuelling her need to redress the position of a woman, and indeed a woman writer, from a radically different female perspective, to genderise language, and to explore the ways in which female creativity does or does not differ from male creativity. Robert Crawford suggests that ‘Lochhead likes to define her work in terms of splits or binary oppositions – female/male, Scottish/English, Scot/Celt, working-class/middle-class, performance/text’.21 In her work the poetic and dramatic interrelate while Crawford sees the monologic turning out to be dialogic, her whole use of language being heteroglossic. He proposes an interesting notion, namely, that these binary oppositions should not be explored separately as individual phenomena ‘but as operating simultaneously in Lochhead’s work [. . .] a complex amalgam of divisions in her personality as a writer’.22 In this way, they become a viable device: firstly, of estrangement of the stage reality from the everyday; and secondly, of exploration of split subjects and plural identities, which constantly recur in Lochhead’s poetic and dramatic writing. Lochhead uses the notions of split subjects and plural identities to indicate the split in the female subject as opposed to the traditional representations of a woman and the feminine on the stage which have often been, in Mikhail Bakhtin’s terms, monologic, namely fixed and static. Through the use of binary opposites, symbolised by shadow, mirror and picture imagery, Lochhead exposes the falsity of the mimetic representation

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of women in terms of a sisterhood who have universal experience, and nods to the existence of plural feminine identities. The perspective offered here implies that the female imagination seeks to revise the traditional perception that represses and demonises woman’s sexuality in literature. It further seeks to do away with the un in unfamiliar, uncanny or unheimlich, which represents, as Sigmund Freud implies in his article ‘The Uncanny’ (1919), ‘the token of [sexual] repression’.23 One may therefore conclude that, through her use of metatextuality, binary opposites, split subjects or plural identities, Lochhead attempts to redress the authorship of female narrative, whether her characters’ (i.e. Mary Shelley, Mina Westerman and Mary, Queen of Scots) or her own, and thus redefine their identities. In an interview discussed by Stephen Boyd, Lochhead admitted that she had been haunted by Francisco Goya’s phrase, ‘The sleep of reason produces monsters’,24 which implied that an absence of reason unleashed fantasy, the dark side of human nature (symbolised by monsters). The mainstay of Lochhead’s poesis in these plays is refutation of the Romantic notion of the demonic quality of women’s sexuality that attributes male properties to the rational side (reason) of human nature, and female properties to the irrational side (imagination). Instead, Lochhead offers another explanation of Goya’s saying, the one to which Boyd alludes. She observes, ‘If you try to force things to be too rational, the dark and untidy bits well up and manifest themselves in quite concrete ways.’25 Speaking in Goya’s terms, the repression of woman’s sexuality creates monsters. This might be a reason for Lochhead’s interest in the sadomasochist, dark side of a personality which she refers to while speaking about the character of Mary Shelley in the passage on which Boyd draws: ‘So I was interested in people’s darker natures, what makes somebody who has all the ingredients of a rational life turn to darkness. It’s suppression. The more you try to suppress the dark bits of yourself, the more they well up.’26 It seems that the only way woman can redeem herself is to recognise and accept those aspects of herself that have been considered taboos, ‘monsters’. One way of accepting the ‘monstrous’ aspects of oneself is to redeem the taboo words that signify them. This leads back to Lochhead’s heteroglossic, or in Crawford’s terms, the two-faced use of language. The complex amalgam of poetic and naturalistic language, west of Scotland idioms and Scots and English registers, rewriting of ballads and fairy stories, as in her collection of poetry The Grimm Sisters (1981), and the imagery of mirrors, pictures, monsters, sea and blood, serves to emphasise the notions of split subjects and plural identities that she is set to explore in her early, often labelled as ‘Gothic’, work. The 1990s and beginning of the twenty-first century witnessed the flourishing of Lochhead’s mastery over language and style, as she turns to more prosaic treatment of themes in the plays like Mozart and Salieri (1990), Quelques Fleurs (1991, first performed at Edinburgh Fringe), The Magic Island

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(1993), Cuba (1997, a play for young people commissioned by the Royal National Theatre for the BT National Connections Scheme), Perfect Days (1998, nominated for an Olivier Award), Britannia Rules (1998) and Good Things (2006). In these mature plays, Lochhead moves away from the feminist agenda that dominates her early work though her focus remains firmly on women’s experience, albeit from broader humanist as well as more personal perspectives. Thematically, she now focuses on recalling past times, and the events that lie at the heart of ordinary people’s lives, such as loves, heartbreaks, family secrets, weddings and funerals. Quelques Fleurs is set shortly before Christmas, and depicts Derek and Verena’s childless marriage in a style that sways between pathetic, tragic and hilarious with ease that has by now become Lochhead’s signature. The play was revived at the Dundee Repertory Theatre in April 2009, where it was played as a platform performance on the backdrop of the set of The Little Mermaid. Thus, Derek and Verena’s personal drama was played out on the stage where reality and illusion bleed into each other; quite fitting for the play in which two protagonists, through telling of their separate stories, reveal loneliness, disillusionment and a grain of hope that pervade their lives. Perfect Days and Good Things in particular are written as romantic comedies, with middle-aged female characters at the centre of both stories. While the storylines feel lightweight in comparison to her earlier work, her dramatic craftsmanship seems largely improved: she has overcome structural incongruities from the past and the stereotypical characters are now more fleshed out, ‘real’ and recognisable. When in Good Things Scotch Doris speaks for the first time in broad Scots the audience laughs in recognition and when David and Susan finally get together and dance at the end of the play, the audience wants to dance with them, their mirth only dampened by the image of Frazer feeling left out. The immediacy of Lochhead’s world is so overpowering that even the hardcore critics of the soap opera genre, which features in the latter plays, would have difficulty building up enough rancour to dislike it. The accuracy of observation and intensity of emotional experience in Lochhead’s work may lead to a temptation to seek out equivalences of people and events in her life, and she is quick to point out in her poem ‘A Giveaway’ that ‘confessional’ does not necessarily means ‘true’: Oh maybe it is a giveaway but don’t please be naive enough to think I’d mind your knowing what I might invent of what I feel. Poets don’t bare their souls, they bare their skill.27

Structurally, Lochhead’s use of chorus, role-doubling and language now becomes a purely dramaturgical rather than metaphorical device. In Cuba, a

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large-size school photograph the narrator holds in front of her at the beginning of the play becomes a still tableau, a chorus consisting of the school girls from the photograph. This dramaturgical device propels the narrator, and the audience, into the past and enables Lochhead to explore the tribulations felt by Barbara and Bernadette, two teenage girls growing up during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The play focuses on the drawing out of repressed childhood memories and dealing with the sense of loss as adult Barbara/narrator recalls how the rigid establishment tore her and Bernadette’s friendship apart. In both Good Things and Educating Agnes use of role-doubling is a seasoned author’s pragmatic decision, and the language, while still richly idiomatic, no longer uses Scots to make a significant historical or metaphorical point: it is now completely at the service of characterisation. In her recent work, Lochhead proves a mature author who plays with linguistic and emotional nuances with ease, baring her impressive skill. There is also an increased interest on her part in adapting established classics, building on her experience of creating modern Scots adaptations of Molière’s Tartuffe for the Lyceum in 1985 and Patter Merchants (an adaptation of Molière’s Les Précieuses Ridicules, 1989). In many ways Tartuffe was another point of departure for Lochhead. While retaining Molière’s rhyming couplets, she replaced iambic hexameters with ‘a cavalier and rather idiosyncratic rhythm that [she] justified to [herself] by calling it “the rhythm of spoken Scots” ’28. Lochhead admitted that the language she used to adapt the play was far from authentic, and that writing in rhyming couplets in varied registers mirrored both the comedy and duplicity of the play’s characters: it’s proverbial, slangy, couthy, clichéd, catch-phrasey, and vulgar; it’s based on Byron, Burns, Stanley Holloway, Ogden Nash and George Formby, as well as the sharp tongue of my granny; it’s deliberately varied in register – most of the characters except Dorine are at least bilingual and consequently more or less ‘two faced’.29

Lochhead relocates her rendition of Tartuffe to a small Scottish town in the early 1920s populated by character types with a familiar ring to Scottish audiences. While she follows Molière’s original closely in structure and characterisation (she deletes only one character: Orgon’s son Damis), her sense of comic timing and mastery of sprightly rhyme helps put a new twist on an old story and preserve most of the undertones of Molière’s satirical humour. What Lochhead’s adaptation does particularly well is hold up a mirror to Edinburgh’s, and Scotland’s, middle classes, exposing their social hypocrisy and destabilising – as she has done before in works like Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off (1987) and Jock Tamson’s Bairns (1990) – Scotland’s sense of identity. Lochhead is arguably at her best when she

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pokes fun at modern Scottish society’s delusions of grandeur, and Tartuffe is no exception. Underneath the exterior of Molière’s blasé world lies a robust observational study of Scotland’s people, their hopes, dreams and illusions in personal and national terms. The adaptation was met with considerable enthusiasm and barrels of laughter when it first premièred in Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre in 1986, and its revival in 2006 showed that its sharpwitted political references and disquieting ending were as topical as when the play was first performed twenty years earlier. Other adaptations earned critical and public acclaim and toured nationally and internationally, including Medea (2000, winner of the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award), Three Sisters (2000), Miseryguts (2002, an adaptation of Molière’s The Misanthrope), Thebans (2003) and Educating Agnes (2008, verse adaptation of Moliere’s L’École des Femmes). Some of these adaptations grew organically from her collaboration with Graham McLaren, Theatre Babel’s artistic director, and are testament to the rich tradition of translation and adaptation of classic drama into Scots. McLaren commissioned Lochhead to adapt Medea, as he felt that he ‘could not think of another writer that would do it better’.30 It was a timely decision. McLaren approached her in the midst of public protests over the abolition of Clause 28: the irony – the lack of tolerance towards minority groups being mirrored in both contemporary Scottish and ancient Greek societies – did not escape her. Lochhead’s Medea is human, passionate, jealous and English. Lochhead explains her choice in the ‘Foreword’ to the 2001 publication of the play: It was only after seeing the play in performance here in Glasgow this Spring, that it struck me the conventional way of doing Medea in Scotland until very recently would have been to have Medea’s own language Scots and the, to her, alien Corinthians she lived under speaking, as powerful ‘civilised’ Greeks, patrician English. That it did not occur to me to do other than give the dominant mainstream society a Scots tongue and Medea a foreigner-speaking-English refugee voice must speak of a genuine in-the-bone increased cultural confidence here.31

In a similar stroke of genius, she insisted that McLaren cast a black or Asian actress as Agnes in her reworking of Molière’s classic comedy, in order to emphasise ‘a colonial – as well as the inherent patriarchal and paternalistic – sexual exploitation [. . .] of the orphaned ward’.32 The choice allowed variant ideological and semantic nuances in performance. Thebans was yet another departure. Adapted from King Oedipus and Antigone, with elements of Jocasta’s character that evoke another Euripides’ play, The Phoenician Women, it is set in undetermined time and place, though Lochhead adds to it a very contemporary feel. Lochhead felt that the adaptation was timely: she worked on it shortly before the beginning of the Iraq

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War, and it was this sense of fear and presentiment that permeated the piece’s first performance at the Assembly Rooms during the 2003 Edinburgh Festival. Lochhead continues to evade labelling. She has excelled in charisma, warmth and rapport with audiences in performing her own and other people’s pieces, neither does she dismiss a possibility that she may go back to painting again, like her close friend and associate Alasdair Gray. She has written for other media, including a short television film Latin for a Dark Room, shown as part of the BBC Tartan Shorts season at the 1994 Edinburgh International Film Festival, and a twenty-four-minute factual programme narrated by Tom Baker entitled The Story of Frankenstein first screened in 1992 on Yorkshire Television, directed by Jenny Wilkes and featuring Rose Keegan as Mary, Alan Cumming as Shelley and Lloyd Owen as Lord Byron. Since 2003 she has successfully performed nationally and internationally with Dundee-based singer-songwriter Michael Marra in In Flagrant Delicht, a theatrical revue with music, poetry, side-splitting character monologues and songs of art and artists, love and sex, football and housing schemes, the reality of Scottish life and the beauty and love of the land. In 2008 she and Alasdair Gray reunited at the Gi Festival of Contemporary Art for a retrospective of Gray’s previously unseen paintings from 1972 called ‘Now and Then’ that include nine of Gray’s paintings (made using watercolour, pencil, acrylic and oil paint on brown paper and board) and three of Lochhead’s poems, displayed at the Sorcha Dallas Gallery. Lochhead constantly delights her audiences with her fine ear for language, sharp humour and impeccable timing. There is a strong sense that more surprises await from the pen of one of the finest all-round artists to come out of twentieth-century Scotland. And surely it is the sense of constant surprise, combining familiar language with magical linguistic legerdemain, that underlies and underpins the popularity of this poet-playwright’s appointment as Scotland’s Makar in January 2011.

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CHAP T E R S IX T E E N

Post-Devolutionary Drama Trish Reid

Questions of inclusion and exclusion, boundaries and borders, whether real or imagined, have for a generation of Scottish playwrights working in a postdevolutionary context, affected their terms of engagement with issues of identity and difference. Devolution was a lengthy and nuanced process, however, as Tom Nairn has noted, the establishment of the new Scottish Parialment in 1999 created cultural momentum and provoked ‘a general sense of an incoming tide’ which enabled and indeed required, reimaginings of Scotland and Scottishness.1 For a number of reasons, playwrights have been particularly well placed to engage with these issues. All plays are, after all, about identity in one aspect or another and the stage has long been a platform for such issues’ discussion. In addition what can reasonably be described as a renaissance in Scottish playwriting, and Scottish theatre in general, has had the effect of drawing attention to the theatre as an important site for the exploration of identity politics both in the run-up to, and in the aftermath of, the 1999 watershed. In his extended monologue Promises Promises (Random Accomplice, 2010) Douglas Maxwell, for instance, employs the figure of a Scottish spinster school teacher, Miss Margaret Ann Brodie, to explore vexed contemporary questions concerning cultural tolerance and inclusiveness’ limits. Maxwell’s Miss Brodie is a capable, educated middle-class Scotswoman, and in both the strength of her convictions, and her contempt for lesser mortals she calls to mind her namesake, brought so vividly to life by Muriel Spark in 1961. Retired, living alone in London, and drinking rather too much, Maxwell’s Miss Brodie undertakes supply work at a local primary school where she is initially appalled, and later incensed, to discover a Somali girl, who has recently joined her class of six-year-olds, is to be subjected to a public exorcism by local community leaders. The child in question is an elective mute and the ceremony, Miss Brodie is informed by the head teacher, is to take place with the full co-operation of the school. The force of her response to this event, and her subsequent discovery that the child has been circumcised, provokes an unexpectedly violent reaction in the schoolteacher. Towards the end of the piece events spiral out of control.

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Maxwell’s play looks outside Scotland for its setting, presenting Brodie, both formally and thematically, as isolated and marginalised with no real power to protect the child in her care. In some respects she embodies an educational tradition now under attack from cultural relativism, with its roots in the Enlightenment: ‘a child comes to school because they’ve been promised that here they will learn all they need to know. So all we have to do is follow up on that promise’.2 By turns pathetic, sexy, funny, arrogant, aggressive and sentimental she is not entirely sympathetic, and sometimes makes for uncomfortable viewing especially when echoing racist tropes: ‘You people have to learn. You people think you have the right to bring this here. This disease of folklore and superstition [. . .]’3 Despite these indiscretions, the arrogance, the drinking and the lack of self-control, however, Brodie retains audience sympathy, substantially because of a shared conviction that cultural tolerance should not extend ‘to summoning devils before playtime’.4 Brodie is a Scot living in London and there is nothing settled about Maxwell’s evocation of her dislocation. Every conviction, however deeply felt, is haunted by another, reminding us that in the context of Scots abroad, ‘the quest for one kind of home is often the flight from another’.5 However, by locating itself at a particular cultural fault line, by emphasising cultural difference, Maxwell’s play problematises the popular notion of the Scots, and by association Scotland itself, as a cosmopolitan post-nation at ease with its contested past and able, as a result of its own inherent heterogeneity, to accommodate unlimited cultural perspectives. In fact, Promises Promises rather boldly figures multiculturalism as a problem, reminding us of David Hollinger’s conception of the movement as prodigious yet flawed, as having failed ‘to provide an orientation towards cultural diversity strong enough to process the current conflicts and convergences that make the problems of boundaries more acute than ever’.6 By identifying specific practices – the exorcism of children and female circumcision – as alien and unacceptable, Maxwell explicitly exposes a weakness in the cultural relativism that has been a key element of multiculturalist discourse. Thus he forces his audience precisely to consider the limits of its own inclusiveness, and how far its own identity is expressed through specific cultural practices, in this case its approach to children’s education. Promises Promises is about the limits of tolerance, about the problematic differences between cultures, not comfortable similarities. In the event Maxwell has a history of seeking out fault lines in his work and of being doggedly experimental. His breakthrough play, Decky Does a Bronco (2000) also dealt with difference, here focusing on childhood experience’s cruelty and richness. In summer 1983, in Girvan on the west coast of Scotland, proficiency in playground stunts defines status and identity for a gang of nine-year-old boys, with tragi-comic results. In Ben Harrison’s site-specific

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Grid Iron production adult males moved between childhood experience and adult reflection in a manner emphasising dislocations in the construction and maintenance of stable adult identity under pressure from forces of memory and history. In Helmet (2002), Maxwell explored the disquieting phenomenon of teenage addiction to gaming, by borrowing both subject matter and structure from the exhilarating format of a Playstation game. In the same year Variety (2002) represented a bold, if ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to resuscitate the popular variety theatre of the early twentieth century. Set in 1929, Maxwell’s subject matter in this instance is the inevitable stresses and strains placed on performers whose livelihoods are threatened because they are exponents of a form in terminal decline. The resurgence in Scottish playwriting of which Maxwell’s work is a part has come as a welcome surprise to some. As recently as 1996, for instance, Randall Stevenson argued that late twentieth-century drama’s development compared rather unfavourably with that of the Scottish novel. Recalling the glory days of 7:84 (Scotland) and especially John McGrath’s The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil (1973), Stevenson observed, ‘it is the 1970s themselves which are often considered one of the best-ever periods of Scottish drama’.7 The widespread malaise in Scottish theatre in the 1980s was explicable, according to Stevenson, with reference to two key events, the failure of the March 1979 devolutionary referendum and Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government election later the same year. Unlike the novel, Scottish theatre had no James Kelman or Alasdair Gray waiting in the wings: As a public, highly social form, one in which the collective feeling of the audience is always an important centre of gravity, drama was perhaps more likely just to reflect a decline in national feelings, rather than creating consoling sublimations of their flagging energies. More immediately, there were obvious financial constraints under Tory rule, which affected theatres a good deal more seriously than most publishers of fiction.8

Much has changed in Scotland and Scottish theatre since the 1970s, and since the publication of Stevenson and Wallace’s book in 1996, and in retrospect Stevenson’s assessment appears overly pessimistic. For one thing, the later 1980s, as Stevenson and Wallace acknowledge, saw welcome developments in Scottish theatre’s international dimensions. The establishment of Glasgow’s Tramway as an international performance venue, with the staging of Peter Brook’s Mahabharata (1988), for instance, was accompanied by the Traverse and Tron’s development of strong international links, and the establishment of companies with distinctively international outlooks like Suspect Culture (1993–2009) and Theatre Cryptic (1994–). In addition, the 1980s now looks less like a barren period for Scottish drama than one

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in which the contribution of Scottish playwrights was under-appreciated. Adrienne Scullion has written persuasively about the importance to the developing repertoire of Peter Arnott, Jo (John) Clifford, Simon Donald, Chris Hannan and Stuart Paterson in the 1980s. The 1990s, meanwhile, saw several young Scottish playwrights, including Anthony Neilson and David Harrower, and especially David Greig, begin to achieve international recognition.9 In combination these developments provided impetus and encouragement that ‘helped shift the aspirations of indigenous theatre-makers and their audiences’.10 In any case, questions of the nature and efficacy of national, regional and ethnic identities were already on the agenda in Scotland, and across Europe in the 1980s and 1990s. Nadine Holdsworth has shown, for instance, how both David Greig’s Europe (1994) and Stephen Greenhorn’s Passing Places (1997) engage with and complicate notions of stable national identity in a post-1989 European context.11 Their significance, Holdsworth argues, lies in the extent they articulate a flexible vision of nationhood, one never static, always in process, proud of its heritage as well as its increasing heterogeneity and, above all, one that can surprise and provoke engagement beyond the confines of a restrictive and potentially damaging nationalism’.12

Holdsworth’s assessment of the plays is thoughtful and thorough, and to some extent her conclusions reflect a utopian version of nationalism that had increasingly gained currency in 1990s Scotland. In 1994, for example, Lyndsay Paterson argued that Scotland provided ‘a template from which other nations can learn how to develop a non-threatening conception of nationalism, one that is tolerant both of internal plurality and of flexible subversions of its sovereignty’.13 Almost a decade later, and after the establishment of the new Scottish parliament, Cairns Craig reiterated this conception when describing Scotland as ‘a beacon for a new and non-threatening civic nationalism, which will be the basis for a new international order’.14 These claims are large enough to demand the kind of thorough examination this chapter, and more importantly the playwrights under discussion, go some way to providing. Undoubtedly there are very real gains in embracing Scotland’s internal heterogeneity and internationalist ambitions. There remains, however, a need for careful interrogation of the complacency that potentially underwrites aspects of the utopian conceptions of nationalism outlined. This chapter focuses on the ways a small number of Scottish playwrights have reflected and inflected changing conceptions of Scottish identity in the post-devolutionary period. It is not possible, of course, given the volume and variety of work produced by Scottish playwrights since 1999, to offer a

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comprehensive or definitive account of all the ways playwriting has engaged with the new dynamics of post-devolutionary Scottish identity politics. This account is necessarily partial and selective, focusing on the work of a relatively small number of playwrights, Henry Adam, Gregory Burke, Douglas Maxwell and Anthony Neilson, whose impact critics and commentators have judged significant. This snapshot nevertheless seeks to bring into clearer focus some important questions with which twenty-first century Scottish playwriting has engaged about identity and difference, internal and external divisions, and tensions between past and present, in personal, political and national terms. If a range of perspectives on Scottish identity politics can be illuminated by close reading of the work of a selection of playwrights, then Caithness playwright Henry Adam’s work provides a good starting point. In the first decade after devolution, his work engages with notions of identity on regional, national and international scales. His first full-length play, Among Unbroken Hearts (2000) brought him to prominence, a work that implicitly, as Ian Brown observes, ‘problematises the clash of cultures within traditional Scotland’, by bringing the language and culture of the marginalised rural north east to the stage.15 Among Unbroken Hearts deals explicitly with issues surrounding the efficacy and sustainability of regional identities within Scotland, and was particularly praised for its melancholic emotional intensity and the lyrical richness of its Doric dialect, sharing the 2002 MeyerWhitworth Award with Gregory Burke’s Gagarin Way (2001). The play tells of Ray, a young heroin addict who makes an ill-fated return to the far north-east after a prolonged urban sojourn. Its tone is melancholic and pessimistic: Ray’s identity crisis is understood as the product of various interactions between self-absorption and immaturity on one hand and the appeal of his childhood landscape, language and friendships on the other. Ultimately, Adam’s hero cannot move outside his own drug addiction’s narcissistic cocoon: the play closes with the inevitable drugs overdose. Issues of identity, tolerance and acceptance are again foregrounded in Adam’s next major work, The People Next Door (2003). This offers a satirical, and often hilarious, examination of how paranoia about terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11 not only encourages excessive and counterproductive responses from the authorities, but warps relationships with neighbours and friends. Marooned in a block of housing association flats somewhere in London, Adam’s characters exist on the margins, damaged, on benefits and largely forgotten. The narrative is simple enough. Nigel, a mixed-race British Asian on disability allowance, is harassed and blackmailed by Phil, a maverick gun-wielding, drug-taking policeman, convinced Nigel’s estranged half-brother Karim is a terrorist. The resulting rite-of-passage motif is played out rather more optimistically than in Among Unbroken Hearts, however.

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Coerced by Phil into spying at a local mosque, Nigel begins to acquire emotional stability and a meaningful sense of self. His newfound strength is drawn both from his encounter with Islam and his developing friendships with his neighbours, Marco, a black teenager neglected and physically abused by his mother, and Mrs Mac, an elderly Scottish widow who carries a poker in her handbag. Together the trio form an unlikely alliance, a family of sorts, and in an improbable utopian finale, manage to murder Phil and convince the police it was suicide. The play closes with a scene of ordinary domestic harmony: (MARCO switches on the TV. It is the news.) NEWSREADER Today Tony Blair flew to the Azores for a meeting which ministers maintain is a final bid for peace but which many see as a council of war. Troops in the Gulf are already on high alert, and many fear that war now is both inevitable and imminent, with predictions that coalition planes could mount a first strike as early as Thursday. MRS MAC Oh that’s so depressing. Is there nothing else on? (MARCO switches channels. It’s ‘Only Fools and Horses’.) NIGEL Oh, I love this guy. (He bounds across to the sofa.) Shove up. (They watch the show, digging into crisps, their faces alternately blank and eager, innocent and blissful.)16

Although the contentment staged here is inherently problematic precisely dependent on ignoring events in the outside world, the definition of family, with its attendant associations of identity and belonging, is nonetheless hybrid, heteroglot, inclusive and essentially optimistic. Adam’s next major piece, Petrol Jesus Nightmare #5 (In The Time of the Messiah) (2006), like The People Next Door, eschewed Scottish setting in favour of direct engagement with the outside world, but shared little of the latter’s optimism. Instead Adam offered a deliberately terrifying vision of a world mired in fundamentalist conflict. Holed up in a bombed-out flat in war-torn Jerusalem, two Israeli solders attempt survival, taking the occasional pot-shot at passers by. They are joined by their Captain Yossariat, and a Texan Christian fundamentalist and a rabbi’s widow, both under the captain’s protection. It emerges the woman’s husband was gunned down while preaching religious hatred in New York, and the Texan is collecting funds to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque. Dehumanised by conflict and extremism, and waist-deep in his former life’s detritus, Yossariat becomes wholly enraged at this blatant war-mongering appetite, and allows the veneer of civility he has thus far maintained to dissolve, with terrifying consequences. Indeed, his, ‘If they want Armageddon they can fucking have it’, might serve as a coda for

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the play, and certainly foregrounds the possibility of the whole world being sucked into the vortex of middle-eastern conflict.17 Shifting perspectives characterise Adam’s work. In The People Next Door, he appears to embrace an inclusive and flexible social cohesion model, which draws on the inclusive Scottish citizenship model Paterson and Craig promote. The anxieties expressed in Petrol Jesus Nightmare, however, undermine the supposed emancipation devolution offers by suggesting any notional freedom is complicated and compromised by over-riding global concerns. In ’e Polish Quine (2007) Adam revisits the motif of the damaged hero, alienated from, but desperate to reconnect with, his childhood’s Caithness landscapes and culture. Again he explores themes of migration, trauma and xenophobia. At the play’s heart is a tragic love-story between the returning soldier, who witnessed the liberation of a Nazi death-camp, and the daughter of an immigrant Polish farmer. In context of this chapter’s arguments, this play is particularly interesting because it focuses on its protagonist’s emotional paralysis. As Mark Fisher observed, Adam’s hero, David, ‘is like a brooding Hamlet, incapable of taking action at a point when the whole of postwar society was taking stock, dreaming of the “century of the common man” but uncertain how to achieve it’.18 In the event, David’s dilemma like Ray’s in Among Unbroken Hearts echoes a common Scottish literary theme that might be summed up as leaving’s difficulty in tension with staying’s impossibility, a tension that at least in Adam’s assessment devolution has not entirely resolved. David’s paralysis might usefully be thought of as a metaphor for Scotland, aware of its increased quasi-independent enfranchisement, but also the increased interdependence of global capitalism’s shadowy ambitions, and unsure how to act. Adam’s work has principally been sponsored by the Traverse, but in devolution’s aftermath, Scottish theatre’s major player has undoubtedly been the National Theatre of Scotland.19 Reviewing the first decade of the new century in The Scotsman on 17 December 2009, Joyce McMillan echoed popular consensus in observing that among the many events worth celebrating in Scottish theatre, the most notable was ‘the NTS’s 2006 launch and subsequent success’.20 McMillan particularly identified Gregory Burke’s Black Watch (2006) as ‘the greatest of all the 25 productions and projects staged by Scotland’s National Theatre during its now legendary first year of operation’ and the highlight of the theatrical decade.21 John Tiffany’s direction of Burke’s script, based on interviews with members of the famous Scottish regiment in the year of its amalgamation, is now widely acknowledged as the most important Scottish post-devolutionary theatrical event. Burke and Tiffany had worked together successfully on Gagarin Way (2001), a play which, like Black Watch, featured an all-male cast and drew on Fife’s traditions of working-class militancy. Through bold politicisation of the thriller

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format – a businessman is taken hostage – Gagarin Way effectively articulates the powerlessness and rage workers felt as they saw livelihoods passed from Japanese to American hands without their consent or knowledge. Its success established Burke as an emerging talent but was overshadowed by that of Black Watch five years later. At the time of writing, Black Watch had won twenty-two awards including four Oliviers and a New York Drama Circle Best Foreign Play award. Unlike the other plays this chapter discusses the production mobilises key internationally-recognised symbols of Scottishness – pipes, tartan, Scottish soldiers – in ways that, although theatrically highly effective, are not entirely politically unproblematic. Certainly, the production earned and deserved widespread applause for both embodying and reinvigorating Scotland’s eclectic and populist theatre traditions, and opening up a space where Black Watch soldiers could be represented in something like their own terms. Its engagement with Scottish identity politics nevertheless remains complex. Demonstrably, for instance, key and deeply-disturbing events in the regiment’s history – especially its Ireland involvements – are effaced in the production in favour of a totalising narrative of continuity through heroism. As David Archibald has pointed out, in Black Watch the individual soldiers’ histories are given real context only within the history of the regiment itself: ‘the two are fused together as the soldiers’ stories are collected, ordered and placed within a broader historical narrative – ‘The Golden Thread’.22 It is this notion of continuity through the centuries, of ‘The Golden Thread’ the production privileges, celebrates and singularly fails to interrogate. While the notion of lions led by donkeys is given some prominence, absolving individual soldiers of responsibility for successive governments’ political decisions, especially the Iraq conflict, the tone is overwhelmingly of pride in Scottish soldiering traditions. In Stephen Hogget’s beautifully choreographed central section, for example, the regimental history is related by a serving member, emphasising its importance to the Black Watch’s sense of pride and identity. So, aye, like I say, formed in 1739. By George the Second. And ye can see why they wanted us on the firm ay. We’re useful cunts tay hay on board. We’re warriors, we’re Celts [. . .] Since 1745 the Black Watch has fought all over the world. A lot ay the time we’ve been used in tribal conflicts. We’re good at them.23

While these comments may appear unmediated since they are drawn accurately from Burke’s interviews preparing the production, the production wholeheartedly buys into their version of history. In his Introduction to the published text, Burke describes soldiering as ‘arguably the only indigenous industry to have lasted into the twenty-first century’, contrasting its fate

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favourably with that of fishing, shipbuilding and mining.24 Moreover, he stresses the benefits of pronounced regionalism to the regiment, arguing that ‘fighting units tend to be more at home with homogeneity’.25 Suffice to say the production privileges a version of Scottish identity at some remove from the inclusive, heteroglot and hybrid one Adam suggested in The People Next Door. The essentialist and exclusive conception of identity Black Watch privileges is doubly problematic because the production lacks any significant or sustained attempt to address how heavily the regiment, and Scotland in general, was implicated in, and benefited from, British colonial violence. In the context of reimaging Scottish identity that devolution has inspired, it seems imperative to acknowledge Scotland was perpetrator as well as victim of British imperialism. Black Watch avoids the embarrassment of this, however, by simply not addressing it. In this its reviewers, who have determinedly turned a blind eye to these omissions, have greatly enabled it. So uniformly ecstatic were reviews, in fact, they can be viewed as a cultural phenomenon in themselves. Black Watch’s unchallenged status as the NTS flagship production – the published text is entitled The National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch – has had the unwelcome effect of making full-bodied critical engagement with it appear bad faith. Nevertheless, in the terms described here, its extraordinary success raises uncomfortable questions about the robustness of internationalist models for engagement suggested by writers like David Greig, and companies like his own Suspect Culture. In 2007, the newly-elected SNP government mounted two Gala productions of Black Watch to mark the opening of the new parliamentary session. Not all Scottish playwrights are so directly concerned with Scotland’s history and cultural traditions. For more than a decade Anthony Neilson, for example, was identified, alongside Sarah Kane and Mark Ravenhill, as a leading member and progenitor of the ‘in-yer-face’ school of British playwriting with its attendant trademark focus on sexual violence and intense explorations of ‘the darker side of the human psyche’.26 As a result, in the earlier part of his career his major plays, including Normal (1991), Penetrator (1993), The Censor (1997) and Stitching (2002), were rarely interpreted as Scottish in any sustained or meaningful sense. The Censor and Stitching, which respectively won The Writer’s Guild Award and the Time Out Off West End Award, for instance, were largely understood as intense and troubling relationship plays. For the Daily Mail, Michael Coveney considered The Censor a ‘gripping parable of the critic and artist as a healing, and finally tragic, love story’ while five years later, Toby Young described Stitching in similar tones in the Spectator, as ‘a mesmerising two-hander about a dysfunctional sexual relationship’.27 The new century has seen Neilson repositioned as a specifically Scottish

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artist, a shift that partly relates to circumstance, and particularly the establishment of the NTS for whom Neilson is an associate artist. In 2004 Simon Stokes and David Prescott at Plymouth Theatre Royal, who had produced Nielson’s comedy Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness (2002), agreed to co-produce a new play, The Wonderful World of Dissocia, with Glasgow’s Tron Theatre and Edinburgh International Festival (EIF). The production went on to win five of the ten awards at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland, including Best Direction and Best New Play for Neilson, and Best Theatre Production for the company. In 2005 the newly-established NTS commissioned Neilson to direct one of its inaugural projects, Home Edinburgh, and write and direct Realism (2006) in a co-production with EIF. NTS subsequently revived and extensively toured The Wonderful World of Dissocia in 2007. Besides enhancing his reputation as an important artist, this activity enabled a re-evaluation of Neilson as a specifically Scottish artist.28 In 2007, for instance, Adrienne Scullion identified Neilson as one of a number of contemporary Scottish playwrights wrestling with identity politics by employing ‘a catalogue of relevant metaphors of mutable edges and liminal terrains’. In the same volume, Ian Brown noted the extent Neilson’s work can be usefully located within an identifiably Scottish tradition in ‘the strategic use of register shifts’ to subvert dominant or conventional modes of perception.29 At first glance Neilson’s engagement with questions of identity appears more personal than political, more concerned with subjective than social experience, and certainly not explicitly related to national identity politics. One might certainly argue that a significant marker of his Scottishness consists in the extent the radical performance register shifts characterising his recent work are determinedly populist and eclectic, drawing on musichall and variety-theatre conventions, as well as popular film and television forms. But it is also clear Neilson shows no particular interest in Scottish settings. He is, however, consistently concerned with characters that occupy the margins, whether between sanity and insanity, or acceptance and exclusion. Lisa Jones, the central character of The Wonderful World of Dissocia, is mentally ill. She suffers from a severe dissociative disorder that, because she refuses medication, allows her access to a simultaneously seductive and terrifying world inside her own head. She spends the first half of the play in this extraordinarily vivid world encountering strange and wondrous characters, including a pair of insecurity guards, a melancholic and sexually aggressive scapegoat, and a singing polar bear who comforts her with his rendition of, ‘Who’ll hold your paw when you die?’30 The play is a work of extreme contrast, however, and Lisa spends the second half in a muted and colourless psychiatric unit, virtually bed-ridden and heavily sedated. Demonstrating similarly intense engagement with the problematics of representing subjective realities Dissocia’s companion piece, Realism, focuses on

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one ordinary day in the life of its ordinary subject, Stuart McQuarrie, played by Scottish actor Stuart McQuarrie. McQuarrie is ostensibly sane but nonetheless exists in a state of emotional confusion and crisis. Like its predecessor, Realism takes place largely inside its protagonist’s head. A deliberately confusing cocktail of fantasy, memory, reality and musical interlude, it demonstrates that ‘even those with the most mundane lives have a rich emotional hinterland upon which to draw’ and complicates the very assumptions on which many stable constructions of identity are built.31 Both Dissocia and Realism are products of Neilson’s interest in developing a ‘way of writing that somehow moves in the way the mind moves’: each has the welcome effect of foregrounding the unstable and multiple perspectives that constitute every individual subject.32 In addition, by employing similar techniques in staging conventionally sane and insane subjects – rejection of conventional linear narrative techniques; insistence on the importance of fantasy to the life of the individual; abrupt changes of tone and performance register – Neilson privileges a political identity that transcends narrow or fixed definitions, or at least insists lived experience must, and should, take precedence over definitive or essentialist identity construction. To this end, the palpable quality of lived experience, whether highly pleasurable or intensely painful, is determinedly and consistently placed at his work’s centre. According to Neilson himself he learned in childhood ‘to think of personal, political, emotional and theatrical as intricately entwined’, substantially through the experience of watching his parents, both of whom were Scottish actors, rehearse Donald Campbell’s powerful play The Jesuit in 1976.33 In common with Realism, Neilson’s Relocated (2008) is deliberately organised in such a way as to make it difficult for audiences to distinguish between fantasy and reality or indeed develop a clear sense of the basis on which its characters are drawn. Charles Spencer described how Neilson, who was both writer and director of the piece, conjured ‘a mood of tense unease with image and suggestion rather than lucid narrative’ and wondered whether ‘the whole play might consist of the dark imaginings of a dying woman’.34 Relocated also marked Neilson’s return to controversial subject matter and earned a rare, and frankly bizarre, one-star Michael Billington review in The Guardian.35 It begins with the physical collapse of its central female character, played at points by three different actresses, and ‘proceeds as a series of elliptical, enigmatic episodes, sometimes rerun with niggling variations’.36 Inferences and allusions dominate and the spectres of Ian Huntley, Ian Brady and Josef Fritzl are variously conjured to extremely disturbing effect. We understand the woman at the play’s centre lives under an assumed name, that she is forced to exist in permanent transit and that she is implicated, however unwittingly, in crimes against children. We understand little else in terms of plot and action. Again, Neilson rejects dramatic theatre’s more comfortable certainties,

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particularly the laws of cause and effect that structure realist narrative, in favour of a theatre of indeterminacy and atmosphere. While a dramatic collision between conflicting realities in one person’s mental state defines Dissocia, and Realism focuses on a character in such a state of confusion and deterioration that no single sequence or action necessarily leads anywhere, in Relocated the focus is on a marginalised and silenced character, forced by circumstance to occupy transitional and unfamiliar spaces. In Relocated as in Realism confusion is expressed at more than just the level of text. In both plays it is not clear from the staging, for instance, which sequences are intended to be read as fantasy and which as reality. In addition, neither produces a stable perspective from which an audience might develop a coherent interpretation of events in terms of plot. In summary, then, we might describe Neilson’s practice in the new century as championing the ambiguous, damaged and excluded over the allegedly coherent and intact. Although Scotland does not feature as an issue in his plays that is not to say they are devoid of Scottishness or relevance to current debates around identity politics. In Neilson’s work engagement with identity issues does not consist only in the topics, but also in the forms of engagement. This might be said also of Douglas Maxwell’s work and indeed of Henry Adam’s although in different ways and with different emphases. Times have certainly changed. As the success of Black Watch has demonstrated, Scottish theatre need no longer seek international audiences in continental Europe but further afield in the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In the event, the playwrights discussed in this chapter have staged work in multiple contexts to varied audiences at home and abroad. They have responded to the pressures of contemporary Scottish life in ways both inventive and disturbing, focusing often on misfits and outsiders. Taken together their practice provides a useful antidote to the potentially totalising discourses of a nationalism that might veer towards the ethnocentric or exclusive. In this they demonstrate both Scottish playwriting in rude health and the stage’s continuing importance to Scottish cultural life. While they sometimes share Cairns Craig’s vision of a new inclusive, non-threatening civic nationalism, as in The People Next Door, or even The Wonderful World of Dissocia, they nevertheless work in various ways to problematise this notion by staging the lives of marginalised and excluded Scottish people. In addition, by engaging with other discourses of identity like class, gender, ethnicity, globalisation and multiculturalism, they insist that, if we are to take seriously the notion of post-devolutionary Scotland developing a ‘new non-threatening nationalism’, one that can accommodate both the nation’s internal plurality and its ambition towards international engagement, we must carefully consider how these positive ambitions are culturally animated and not simply take them for granted.

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CHAP T E R SEVE N T E E N

The Experience and Contexts of Drama in Scotland David Hutchison

How do most people experience dramatic narratives in the twenty-first century? The crucial point is that in many parts of the world such narratives are all-pervasive, largely because of television and its associated technologies of videocassette and DVD. Even before it became possible to access films and television via the internet, or in miniature via mobile phones, the dominance of television as the medium of first choice meant that not a day might pass for the average viewer but (s)he would have some experience of drama, though in a domestic context with all the distractions that might entail. The contrast with the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods – let alone earlier – when theatre-based dramatic narratives were available on a regular basis only in large urban centres, and involved significant commitment of time and money on the part of audiences, is stark. That is a world almost beyond our imagining. The academic discipline of performance studies, which has developed recently in the United States, is founded on the contention that performances are to be found not only in theatres but also in religious services, court rooms and indeed in everyday life.1 And as Ian Brown’s chapter points out and others have done earlier,2 at a time when the Scottish public had little in the way of theatrical diversion, there was much Sturm und Drang available several times each Sunday from Presbyterian pulpits.3 However for the purposes of this chapter attention will largely be on dramatic narratives, that is to say narratives where actors impersonate other people, usually fictional, in order to tell stories. So theatre, feature film, radio and television drama are included, as are some aspects of music hall and variety, but other kinds of performance – religious, sporting, judicial – are not. Liveness is of the essence of the theatrical experience. The audience is present at a performance where other people act out a story in the flesh, with all the risks – excitement, danger, unpredictability – attendant on that situation. But while a nineteenth-century audience would always experience liveness when exposed to dramatic narratives, today it is the exception rather than the rule. Indeed there are millions of our fellow citizens who rarely, if

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the experience and co ntexts of d r a m a i n s c o t la n d 201 ever, have gone through that live experience, although they may consume hours upon hours of drama. The crucial date in the move from the live to the recorded is usually taken to be 1895, when the Lumière brothers at a performance in Paris presented film of various events – a train coming into a station, for example, or a crowd leaving a factory. The Lumières’ show was repeated in London the following year and soon music halls were adapting their programmes to incorporate film alongside conjurers, comedians and singers. In Glasgow in 1896, a film lasting several minutes of the Gordon Highlanders leaving Maryhill Barracks was shown to considerable sensation.4 Nor was it long until cinemas proper began to appear throughout the world. In the UK music hall was the first victim of the new medium’s success and many theatres built as halls became cinemas, Glasgow’s Panopticon and Falkirk’s Grand, for example. New-build cinemas began to appear at a rapid rate: by 1920 there were 557 cinemas in Scotland, twenty years later 615.5 Cinema, as has just been noted, greatly damaged music hall: the latter’s largely working-class audience abandoned liveness for the spectacle and exoticism of recorded images, despite the fact the imagery on film lacked sound until 1927, and colour until the mid-1930s. Music hall did not die out completely: the more respectable form of variety, the genesis of which Paul Maloney’s chapter discusses, continued well into the twentieth century. It survives today in resorts, holiday camps and cruise ships. In Scotland music hall and variety were always substantially imbued with tartanry and sentimental nostalgia, although these were often combined with contemporary working-class comedy of a shrewd and unsentimental nature. That combination could still be seen in the first decade of the new millennium when Johnny Beattie and the Alexander Brothers regularly appeared on the same stage in a Pride of the Clyde type of show. It is also the case that pantomime, a British phenomenon, with particular kinds of inflection north of the Border, still has at heart something of the music-hall tradition. Cinema enjoyed a boom between the wars, and post-1945. Radio appeared in the 1920s, with the BBC being established in 1922 (initially as the British Broadcasting Company, then in 1927 Corporation), and transmissions beginning in Scotland in 1923. Drama was an important part of broadcasting output from the early days: the Glasgow station, for example, put out a version of Rob Roy in its first year of operation.6 The range of radio drama was, and continues to be, extensive. It has always drawn heavily on theatre, most obviously in adaptations of plays originally performed onstage but also in writing, acting and directing talent. Some observers – and practitioners, including the BBC’s first drama head, Val Gielgud – anticipated that the new medium would be able to be much more experimental than theatre could be, but, although there is no doubt that radio plays are very different from theatre

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ones in their use of short scenes, their remarkable ease in shifting location and their ability to move backwards and forwards through time, the taste of the audience has usually inclined towards the conventional. Saturday Night Theatre always had a much greater following than experimental work on the Third Programme. Saturday Night Theatre was launched in 1943 as the then National Service’s flagship drama transmission, and in the late 1940s was attracting twelve million listeners.7 The very title acknowledges the debt to a kind of dramatic experience that many listeners would rarely, if ever, have had. Radio drama continues to be produced in Scotland, although most of the current output is broadcast on the BBC’s UK channels Radio 4 and Radio 3, with only occasional presentations on the Radio Scotland service. For many Scottish dramatists in the last forty years radio has been an important source of secondary income when their theatrical pieces have been transmitted, or when they have been commissioned to write specifically for the medium, or to adapt novels as serials. Hector MacMillan and Tom McGrath, from the older generation of dramatists, and Rona Munro, from the younger, are examples who spring to mind. The work of producers such as Gordon Emslie, Stewart Conn and Patrick Rayner has been important in sustaining dramatic craft – and the acting profession – north of the Border. Experimental television transmissions in Britain began before World War Two, but the embryonic service was closed on the outbreak of hostilities, and in the austere post-war conditions expanded slowly, arriving in Scotland in 1952 when the Kirk o’ Shotts transmitter opened.8 As with radio, drama was an important part of the new medium’s offering to the public. And theatrical dependence was very clear in the early days, with adaptations of classic plays and live transmissions from theatres. In Scotland’s first year, for example, there was a broadcast of J. M. Barrie’s The Old Lady Shows her Medals from the Glasgow Citizens.9 The vast bulk of BBC Scotland’s productions has been commissioned by the UK networks, for only then can the costs be easily justified. BBC Scotland’s soap opera River City (2002–), which is not, as yet, networked is a marked exception to that rule. As with radio, there have been many literary adaptations over the years, with R. L. Stevenson, for example, represented by The Master of Ballantrae (1962) and Weir of Hermiston (1973), and Walter Scott by Rob Roy (1977). The adaptation of Grassic Gibbon’s Sunset Song scripted by Bill Craig (1971) is generally regarded as a highlight of this strand of output, as the plays of Peter McDougall are considered to be outstanding examples of contemporary single plays. BBC Scotland, however, was initially much less keen on the harsh social realism that characterises McDougall’s work than BBC London; the latter was responsible for Just Another Saturday (1975). Series drama is one of the mainstays of television output and Dr

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the experience and co ntexts of d r a m a i n s c o t la n d 203 Finlay’s Casebook (1962–71) was BBC Scotland’s most successful foray into this territory before Hamish Macbeth (1995–7) and Monarch of the Glen (2000–5). The major commercial broadcaster north of the Border, STV, has also made an important contribution to drama output. Its soap operas – High Living (1968–71), Garnock Way (1976–9) and High Road (1980–2003) – never achieved complete networking throughout the UK, but its series drama has had considerable success in that respect, most obviously Taggart (1983–) It has also enjoyed more modest network – and critical – success with a reprise of Doctor Finlay (1993–6) and its adaptations of Ian Rankin’s Rebus novels (2000–). Scottish feature film output was paltry before the 1970s when directors such as Bill Douglas and Bill Forsyth began to produce work, despite almost impossible odds. With its subsequent expansion, it has become much easier for Scottish audiences to see representations of their country on the large as well as the small screen.10 While this marks a major advance, in that no longer are we at the mercy of ‘foreign’ (American and English) constructions of Scottishness, arguments continue to rage about the extent to which these constructions, when they are not over-indebted to tartanry, might equally be accused of a kind of ‘miserabilism’ in their depiction of the grim postindustrial landscapes of some parts of modern Scotland. The same debate has inevitably been joined about television drama.11 The relationships between radio drama and theatre on the one hand, and television drama and theatre on the other are different. Both have in practice lent on the theatre for texts and personnel, but television inevitably, because of the visual aspect, seems closer to theatre than radio does, as it lacks radio’s remarkable – and remarkably cheap – flexibility. Yet television drama also owes something to cinema, and its development shows a constant desire to break free of theatre and to be more like film, regardless of the actual technology of recording imagery. This has sometimes been video-based, at other times film-based, a distinction currently being eroded. But television is not film, at least it is not film in the purest sense of being a series of images projected in a darkened room where we sit in the company of strangers confronting an image much larger than ourselves. The problem with that definition, however, is that it fails to take account of the fact that, as cinema attendance dropped from the 1950s on, people watched more, not fewer, films but did so in their own homes in the company of folk they knew intimately – or alone – on screens that were far smaller than those to be found in cinemas. And with videocassettes, DVDs and now downloading via the internet, that tendency has accelerated. At times it has been tempting to say that films are recorded dramatic narratives which are made to be watched initially on cinema screens, then to be seen by far more

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people on television – or computer – screens, while television dramas are narratives designed to be exhibited in exactly the same way, except that they do not begin life on cinema screens. If this is the general picture, what can we say of the peculiarities of the Scottish situation? The theatre in Scotland is now almost devoid of commercial houses. The Pavilion in Glasgow and the Playhouse in Edinburgh (a vast former cinema) are the only two left. Elsewhere theatres are in the hands of local authorities, charitable trusts and similar bodies, the ultimate survival of all of which depends on public subsidy. That pattern in the urban centres, which developed after World War Two, is replicated in smaller towns and non-urban areas. There the various arts centres and multi-purpose venues also depend on taxpayer support, and recent enhancements have very often been financed from the funds generated by the operation of the voluntary taxation system known as the National Lottery. As the existence of buildings depends on public funds, so too does the continuation of theatre companies that rely on annual subsidies from the Scottish Arts Council, which merged with Scottish Screen to become Creative Scotland in 2010, and from local authorities. Commercial sponsorship, and even audience donations beyond the ticket price may also play a role, but the foundation on which Scotland’s theatre is built is taxpayer funding. And the other arts enjoy similar support; even cinema, in the shape of the network of film theatres which has grown up in the last thirty years, is subsidised from the public purse. Amateur theatre, which enjoyed a period of remarkable activity in the inter-war period, remains an important part of the Scottish scene. As a glance at the website of the Scottish Community Drama Association, founded in 1926, demonstrates, there are still many clubs offering a wide variety of material, as is also the case in the amateur musical/operatic field. It might be thought that these clubs operate without benefit of subsidy, but in fact most perform in venues that are municipally owned and normally do not cover their running costs from rental charges. And the SCDA itself and also some clubs – the larger operatic ones, for example – obtain subsidy directly from public funds. The high dependence on the taxpayer does to some extent distinguish Scotland from England, which still has a thriving commercial sector, most obviously in London. The Scottish theatre is not to be compared with, for example, the National Health Service in this respect, nor with education, but its reliance on subsidy does make it vulnerable in difficult times. The financial crisis precipitated by the profligate behaviour of the banking sector – in which Scotland was over-represented – has brought about a situation where the previous fifteen years or so might come to be regarded as a

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the experience and co ntexts of d r a m a i n s c o t la n d 205 golden age. How theatre will cope with the inevitable economic constraints without serious damage is far from clear. Even when the going is good, there are questions to be asked about the consequences of being so dependent on public funds. Might even the most benevolent quango have an inclination to push companies in preferred directions, and might that danger be starker if a company is financed directly by the Scottish Government, as is the National Theatre of Scotland? It can also be argued that because of generous public subsidy Scottish theatre has been able to charge its customers rather less at the box office than might be desirable if a fair balance is to be struck between the obligations of the taxpayer and those of patrons. In the audio-visual sector the BBC stands out as the world’s premier public broadcaster, and it would not exist without the tax on television receivers known as the licence fee. The commercial broadcasting companies and the publicly owned Channel 4 are obliged to live off revenue gained from advertising and programme sales, although they have benefited historically from a succession of government decisions that limited competition, a situation which has radically changed in recent years. The major consequence of the change has been the destruction of ITV as a public service broadcaster; indeed that network now demands subsidy to produce public service content. Despite the strong presence of the film theatres, it is the commercial sector that dominates in exhibition. But when it comes to production, public subvention again comes into play. No Scottish film is likely to be made without a contribution from either the film fund of the National Lottery, Scotland’s share of which Scottish Screen administered until 2010, or the BBC. There is no ‘cinema industry’ as such in Scotland, although far more films are now produced than was the case thirty years ago. And the availability of public money has been a major factor in making that possible. The vulnerability of theatre to cuts in public funding is shared by a public broadcaster considered by some observers to be over-generously provided for – and harried by its successful rival BSkyB, which to date has made a great deal of money without substantial investment in original programming, least of all in drama. That vulnerability is also found in Scotland’s fragile cinema production sector. Anxiety about the future and a realistic assessment of the risks to current levels of financial support from public funds should not blind us, however, to the richness of what is now available. One might have reservations about the rather narrow range of drama currently presented on British television, and one might wish to argue that BBC radio performs a more effective role as transmitter and originator of original plays. Nevertheless, what is offered on a daily basis remains impressive, as is the variety of cinema films, however accessed by viewers. Scottish material may not predominate in these media but it does have a presence. And the theatrical situation too is a strong one. Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, Pitlochry, St Andrews all have venues, some

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relatively new, like Pitlochry’s beautifully situated building opened in 1981, some much older, like Aberdeen’s His Majesty’s opened in 1906 and designed by the astonishingly prolific Frank Matcham who was also responsible for the King’s Theatre in Glasgow. Glasgow and Edinburgh each currently have five theatres in operation. The programming in both cities is wide indeed. The Lyceum and the Citizens’ are traditional repertory companies, as are the Traverse and the Tron; although none of them plays strictly in repertoire, with the exception of the Traverse during the Edinburgh Festival. These four theatres offer a mixture of the classical repertoire and contemporary drama, with the Traverse designated as Scotland’s new writing theatre, although this does not mean it alone premières new plays; that would be a limitation on both it and the other repertory companies in Scotland. In Glasgow the Theatre Royal and the King’s host travelling productions, mainly from south of the Border, as do the King’s and Festival Theatres in Edinburgh. These may be dramas or musicals, although in the capital musicals are more likely to be presented at the Playhouse. The Glasgow King’s also hosts musicals performed by local amateur clubs. Both the King’s in Edinburgh and the King’s in Glasgow offer annual pantomimes, in which the strong Scottish traditions in that form are honoured and up-dated. The national ballet and opera companies play in the Theatre Royal in Glasgow and the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh. The productions of the National Theatre of Scotland are presented in different venues in both cities, usually the Citizens’ and the King’s respectively. The Pavilion in Glasgow continues to plough a popular line with broad comedy, Scottish nostalgia and middle of the road pop music. The theatregoer of broad tastes is overwhelmed by choice in these cities and if (s)he is also interested in music and cinema then the decision-making process becomes impossible. Of course the situation elsewhere in the country is not comparable, but even in sparsely populated areas travelling companies perform in modern arts centres, and the Screen Machine brings the latest cinema releases, including those produced in 3D, to the remotest corners of the land. This French-built mobile cinema enfolded on the back of a lorry was initially created using Lottery funding in 1998 as an initiative of HI-Arts, the Highland regional arts agency. It tours currently released films in the Highlands and Islands and other areas and is now managed by Regional Screen Scotland. This volume has an interest in writers, and so it would be useful now to look at the nature of the situation in which our indigenous dramatists work and to consider whether there are features of that situation distinctive to Scotland. Making a living as a writer in a small market is not easy. Finnish novelists are unlikely to secure the financial rewards which accrue to a Martin Amis or Ian McEwan. Scottish novelists enjoy varied fortunes. Clearly Ian Rankin and

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the experience and co ntexts of d r a m a i n s c o t la n d 207 Alexander McCall Smith have large incomes, but James Kelman has pointed out that, despite his success d’estime, he has always had to be supported by his wife.12 Kelman is an uncompromising writer in his subject matter. This does not make for great financial success, even as a literary novelist; furthermore, he often uses a demotic Scots dialect which can be difficult to penetrate, even for readers whose first language is English. But at least Scottish novelists today are likely to be published, either in their own country or in London, by companies that have a vested interest in selling their books. The situation of theatre writers is rather different, in that while dramatists certainly have an interest in seeing their work performed widely, that interest, although their agents may share it, is only going to be fitfully shared by the theatres where their work is premièred. Theatres exist to put on plays, but the back catalogue is immense and theatres are not under the pressure publishers are constantly to discover new writers. Productions of classics, with or without well-known actors, can do just as well, if not better, at the box office. In England the reluctance of many theatres outside of London to première new work consistently is offset by the situation in the capital. There, several theatres – the Royal Court, the Bush, Hampstead, Soho, for example – exist largely to develop new writing. Furthermore, a lively fringe, often operating with meagre or no subsidy – other than from the often-unpaid efforts of those involved – adds to the opportunities available to writers. And the willingness of provincial theatres then to take up work premièred in London means that plays can and do have a life beyond their original presentations in the capital. The situation in Scotland is rather different. As has been noted, only one theatre, the Traverse, has new writing at the core of its programming. Other theatres and companies do première new work, but without the Edinburgh theatre’s consistency. And inevitably that theatre will have a particular policy orientation at any one time, depending on who is artistic director. In addition, the economics of smaller auditoria mean that scripts that call for more than a small number of actors are unlikely to be commissioned very often. Furthermore, the willingness of other theatres to offer second and third productions of plays presented elsewhere varies considerably. What all of this means is that the Scottish dramatist hoping to have work presented ‘at home’ does not have the range of opportunity available to writers in England. The arrival of the National Theatre of Scotland has improved matters, but it has not transformed the situation. Nor, given its broad remit, could it be expected do so. Scottish playwrights therefore are unlikely to make a decent living working in the Scottish theatre. They are obliged to seek opportunities elsewhere. It is a very striking characteristic of the contemporary situation that several of our notable dramatists have pursued that course (as before them did, most notably, J. M. Barrie and James Bridie, discussed in this volume respectively

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by R. D. S. Jack and Gerard Carruthers). David Greig, David Harrower and Rona Munro are examples whose work has been presented south of the Border and beyond. This is not surprising, given the wide-ranging subject matter they tackle, which is much less ‘ethnic’ than the material favoured by some other writers. Where a dramatist is firmly rooted in peculiarly Scottish concerns and Scots language or Scottish forms of English, then that can be a limitation when it comes to financial success. Subtitles are not really an option in the theatre as they are in the cinema and television (Paul Laverty and Ken Loach’s Greenock-based film Sweet Sixteen (2002), for example, was provided with subtitles for English audiences). Even a writer as successful furth of Scotland as David Greig has acknowledged that to make a living in the theatre might mean writing too many plays too quickly. One solution is to write for television, most obviously for soap opera and other forms of continuing drama. Rona Munro, Stephen Greenhorn and Anne Marie di Mambro have done just that with considerable success. But it is not a route that suits all playwrights, despite the high financial rewards. Many Scottish dramatists would love the opportunity to write one-off plays for television of the kind that the BBC used to transmit before its controllers – and their counterparts in ITV and Channel 4 – became convinced that crime and medicine ought to be the mainstays of drama output. John Byrne’s much lauded Tutti Frutti, first transmitted in 1987, was finally released on DVD twenty-two years later and, despite the odd longueur, stands up remarkably well as a dark and comic exploration of gender relations. But the sad fact is that the BBC would be unlikely to offer a writer like Byrne the kind of carte blanche he was given two decades ago to write six hours of television drama as he saw fit. And what is even more depressing is that it can be argued that, without Tutti Frutti, Byrne would not have the reputation he now enjoys; his theatre pieces, engaging as they are, do not explore character and context to the same depth. While, on the other hand, radio does still offer writers the chance to work with stories and themes of their own choosing, television’s reluctance to do so is a major cultural loss. Tutti Frutti boasted excellent performances and skilled direction. Unlike novelists and poets, dramatists are nothing without actors and directors. Emma Thompson, Robbie Coltrane and Richard Wilson gave life to the central characters in the serial, as did Maurice Roëves, whose performance as the disintegrating ‘iron man of Scottish rock’ was one of the most memorable aspects of Tutti Frutti. Black Watch (2006), the Scottish National Theatre’s most successful production to date, had a rather uneven script by Gregory Burke. In the hands of an excellent young cast and director John Tiffany (with support from military advisers), however, it became an exciting and moving piece of theatre, which could in turn be broadcast by the BBC in 2007.

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the experience and co ntexts of d r a m a i n s c o t la n d 209 Like a number of dramatists, Scottish actors are obliged to work in several media if they are to make a tolerable living in a profession that suffers chronic under-employment. In recent times more and more of them have been able to move beyond their home territory without sacrificing their Scottish identity in the process. The contrast between Ian Richardson and Bill Paterson bears this out. Both graduated from the College of Drama in Glasgow but Richardson sounded like an English actor, whereas Paterson – younger by ten years – continues to speak Standard English with a clear Scottish – some might say Dennistoun – inflection. The same point can be made about, for example, Brian Cox, Ewan McGregor, Siobhan Redmond, Kelly Macdonald, Alan Cumming, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd and Robert Carlyle, although several of these are perfectly capable of shifting dialect effortlessly, not least when they are cast in American films or television series. Because Scottish actors work for much of their time in television, and to a lesser extent film, there is a danger that live theatre presents them with challenges they do not have enough opportunity to deal with as well as they might. If you never get much of a chance to play in the classical repertoire, how do you handle long speeches? If your words are usually picked up by super sensitive microphones, or the director in charge of a film is more interested in the visual than the verbal, when you do work on a stage, how do you make sure that every word you utter is heard in the back row of the circle clearly and distinctly? It is a long time since Kenneth Tynan caused uproar by using the word ‘fuck’ on a live television broadcast (in 1965), and the Lord Chamberlain had the right to censor theatre texts prior to performance in order to ensure, inter alia, that they contained nothing disrespectful of the monarchy or overt depictions of certain kinds of sexual behaviour. But constraints do still exist, and they vary from medium to medium. Broadcasting comes into people’s homes. There is, therefore, a constant concern on the part of programme controllers and regulatory bodies that in such matters as language and the depiction of sex and violence clear rules exist as to what is and is not permitted. Such issues are subject to constant review in the light of what are perceived to be the attitudes of the generality of viewers and listeners. The later in the evening, the more liberal the rules; the more likely that children are in the audience, the less liberal. The sheer quantity of broadcasting output – not least in such niches as the clusters of pornography channels available through satellite and cable – makes the task of Ofcom, the UK’s broadcasting content regulator of last resort, very difficult indeed. Film, because of the system of categorisation employed, does enjoy rather more freedom than broadcasting, and in recent years the British Board of Film Classification has become much more tolerant, certainly as far as the depictions of sexual behaviour and the use of obscenities are concerned.

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Theatre is probably the freest of all the media. That does give it an opportunity to tackle difficult subjects and to allow highly partisan voices to be heard. This can be trickier on a public broadcasting channel. Further, drama has for the most part been exempt from the requirement to be impartial required of news and current affairs programming. It does not follow, of course, that such freedom is always put to optimal use in the theatre. At its best, however, the freedom afforded to theatre means that it can explore the pressing issues of the day – and more timeless issues – without worrying about causing offence or incurring the wrath of those in authority, even those in authority who pay such a large percentage of the bills. This means that important as radio, television and film are for the understanding and experience of Scottish drama in the twenty-first century, live theatre remains crucial to its existence and success. In the end, what the audience sees or hears is live performance, whoever the writer or director is, and it is often in live performance new visions of drama emerge through innovation and experiment. It is the thrill of moments of performance that stay with us. These can be remarkably varied. The present writer vividly remembers watching Laurence Olivier in Ibsen’s The Master Builder, which the National Theatre (of England) brought to Glasgow in the 1960s. At the moment in the play when Solness says he will climb the tower he has built, the frisson of danger, even terror, that went round the theatre was astonishing. Olivier was the kind of actor from whom an audience took its eyes at its peril because it would inevitably miss some telling inflection or movement. The doyen of Scottish pantomime dames, Stanley Baxter, could have a similar impact on a stage, albeit to comic rather than tragic effect. Peter Stein’s Chekhov productions at the Edinburgh Festival in recent years have had several such moments. Readers can no doubt cite their own examples, all of which exemplify the fact that drama – live or recorded – is a collaborative venture. The writer is important, but is one of a team whose efforts combine, sometimes in a workmanlike fashion, sometimes even in a dull fashion, but sometimes to magical and mesmerising effect.

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Endnotes

Introduction – Brown 1. Liz Lochhead, ‘Introduction’, Educating Agnes (London: Nick Hern, 2008), p. 7. 2. Joseph Donohue (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). 3. See page 130. The reference is to ‘James Bridie on the Theatre: Address to Glasgow Students’ (Glasgow Herald, November 1933), in Margery Palmer McCulloch (ed.), Modernism and Nationalism: Literature and Society in Scotland, 1918–1939 (Glasgow: ASLS, 2004), p. 140. 4. Edwin Morgan, ‘Scottish Drama: An Overview’, ScotLit 20 (Spring 1999), http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/scotlit/asls/Scottishdrama.html, accessed 31 May 2010. 5. For further information on Aitken’s career, see Chapter 10, note 8. 6. See Noel Peacock, Molière in Scotland (Glasgow: University of Glasgow French and German Publications, 1993). 7. ‘Theatrical Pasts, Dramatic Futures and Creative Amnesia’, paper presented at Dramatising Scotland, ASLS Annual Conference, Netherbow Theatre, Edinburgh, May 2008. 8. Bill Findlay (ed.), Scots Plays of the Seventies (Dalkeith: Scottish Cultural Press, 2001). 9. Michelle Macleod and Moray Watson, ‘In the Shadow of the Bard: The Gaelic Short Story, Novel and Drama since the early Twentieth Century’, in Ian Brown et al. (eds), The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007), III: pp. 273–82. Chapter 1 – Carpenter 1. See Anna J Mill, Mediaeval Plays in Scotland (Edinburgh: Blackwood, 1927), p. 159. Mill collects almost all the evidence for early drama in Scotland. 2. For definitions see Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (http://www.dsl. ac.uk/dsl/).

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3. John J. McGavin, Theatricality and Narrative in Medieval and Early Modern Scotland (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), p. 3. 4. Margo Todd, The Culture of Protestantism in Early Modern Scotland (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), p. 147. 5. John Knox, The Works of John Knox, ed. David Laing, 6 vols (Edinburgh: Wodrow Society, 1846–64), III: pp. 66–7. 6. John Knox, History of the Reformation in Scotland, ed. William Croft Dickinson, 2 vols (London: Nelson, 1949), I: p. 259. 7. Mill, Mediaeval Plays, p. 116. 8. Ibid., p. 120. 9. Ibid., pp. 271–2. 10. Ibid., pp. 225–7. 11. Ibid., pp. 173, 261. 12. Ibid., pp. 115–17. 13. Ratis Raving and Other Early Scots Poems on Morals, ed. Ritchie Girvan (Edinburgh: Scottish Text Society, 1939), p. 83; Knox, History, I: p. 138. 14. For discussion of this in an English context see Mervyn James, ‘Ritual, Drama and the Social Body in the Late Medieval English Town’, Past and Present 98 (1983), pp. 3–29. 15. Mill, p. 123. 16. Ibid., p. 120; Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, A.D. 1403– 1528, ed. James D. Marwick (Edinburgh: Scottish Burgh Records Society, 1869), p. 122. 17. Ibid., p. 31. 18. Mill, p. 124. 19. Ibid., p. 351. 20. Ibid., p. 150. 21. Ibid., p. 141. 22. Ibid., p. 220. 23. Ibid., pp. 250–1. 24. Alexander Scott, The Poems of Alexander Scott, ed. James Cranstoun (Edinburgh: Scottish Text Society, 1896), p. 23. 25. Mill, p. 137. 26. The Asloan Manuscript, ed. William Craigie (Edinburgh: Scottish Text Society, 1923) p. 154, ll. 138–43. 27. See Douglas Gray, ‘The Royal Entry in Sixteenth-Century Scotland’, in Sally Mapstone and Juliette Wood (eds), The Rose and the Thistle: Essays on the Culture of Late Medieval and Renaissance Scotland (East Linton: Tuckwell Press, 1998), pp. 10–37. 28. Mill, pp. 178–9. 29. Ibid., pp. 192–4; see Michael Lynch, ‘Court Ceremony and Ritual during the Personal Reign of James VI’, in Julian Goodare and Michael Lynch (eds), The Reign of JamesVI (East Linton: Tuckwell Press, 2000), pp. 74–8.

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30. Mill, p. 130. 31. See Helena M. Shire and Kenneth Elliott, ‘Pleugh Song and Plough Play’, Saltire Review 2.6 (1955), pp. 39–44. 32. See Katie Stevenson, Chivalry and Knighthood in Scotland, 1424–1513 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2006). 33. David Lyndsay, Selected Poems, ed. Janet Hadley Williams (Glasgow: ASLS, 2000) p. 75, ll. 502–4. 34. See Louise Olga Fradenburg, City, Marriage, Tournament: Arts of Rule in Late Medieval Scotland (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991). 35. Mill, pp. 325–8. 36. See Michael Lynch, ‘Queen Mary’s Triumph: The Baptismal Celebrations at Stirling in December 1566’, Scottish Historical Review LXIX.1 (1990), pp. 1–21. 37. Mill, pp. 50–1. 38. See Sarah Carpenter, ‘Performing Diplomacies: The 1560s Court Entertainments of Mary Queen of Scots’, Scottish Historical Review LXXXII.2 (2003), pp. 194–225, at p. 217; The Poems of James VI of Scotland, ed. James Craigie, 2 vols (Edinburgh: Scottish Text Society, 1955), II: pp. 134–45. 39. Alexander Montgomerie, Poems, ed. David John Parkinson, 2 vols (Edinburgh: Scottish Text Society, 2000), I: pp. 90–7. 40. Carpenter, ‘Performing Diplomacies’, pp. 212–14. 41. See I. D. McFarlane, Buchanan (London: Duckworth, 1981). 42. Ibid., p. 201; George Buchanan Tragedies, ed. Peter Sharratt and P. G. Walsh (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1983). 43. Text in The Mercat Anthology of Early Scottish Literature, 1375–1707, ed. R. D. S. Jack and P. A. T. Rozendaal (Edinburgh: Mercat Press, 1997). 44. Jamie Reid-Baxter, ‘Philotus: The Transmission of a Delectable Treatise’, in Theo van Heijnsbergen and Nicola Royan (eds), Literature, Letters and the Canonical in Early Modern Scotland (East Linton: Tuckwell Press, 2002), pp. 52–68; R. D. S. Jack, The Italian Influence on Scottish Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1972), pp. 42–4. 45. Mill, pp. 287, 189–91. 46. Ibid., p. 223. 47. See Sarah Carpenter, ‘Drama and Politics: Scotland in the 1530s’, Medieval English Theatre 10.2 (1988), pp. 81–90. 48. Mill, p. 291. 49. Ibid., p. 175. 50. Ibid., p. 288. 51. See Greg Walker (ed.), Medieval Drama: An Anthology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), pp. 538–40. 52. The Warkis of the Famous and Vorthie Knicht Schir Dauid Lyndesay of the Mont, vol. 4 (Edinburgh: Henrie Charteris, 1568).

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53. See Carol Edington, Court and Culture in Renaissance Scotland: Sir David Lyndsay of the Mount (East Linton: Tuckwell Press, 1995). 54. For full analysis see Greg Walker, The Politics of Performance in Early Renaissance Drama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 117–62. 55. Ibid., pp. 141–2. 56. See Todd, Culture of Protestantism, pp. 84–126. 57. Ibid., pp. 183–226. 58. Mill, pp. 163, 258–60, 283. 59. Ibid., pp. 92–3. 60. Mill, pp. 300–6. Chapter 2 – Brown 1. Michael F. Graham, The Blasphemies of Thomas Aikenhead: Boundaries of Belief on the Eve of the Enlightenment (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008), p. 4. 2. J. McKenzie, ‘School and University Drama in Scotland, 1650–1760’, Scottish Historical Review 34 (1955), p. 103. I am grateful to Professor Thomas Clancy for drawing my attention to this important article. 3. Ibid., p. 104. 4. H. G. Graham, Social Life of Scotland in the Eighteenth Century, 4th edn (London, 1937) p. 439, quoted in McKenzie, ‘School’, p. 104. 5. McKenzie, ‘School’, pp. 104, 119. 6. Ibid., p. 106. 7. Ibid., pp. 106–7. 8. John McGavin, ‘Drama in Sixteenth-Century Haddington’, European Medieval Drama 1 (1997), pp. 156–7. 9. Margo Todd, The Culture of Protestantism in Early Modern Scotland (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), p. 127. 10. Ibid., p. 129. 11. Ibid., p. 149. 12. For example, Alasdair Cameron, Donald Campbell, Bill Findlay and Adrienne Scullion; see Further Reading. 13. Edwin Morgan, ‘Scottish Drama: An Overview’, ScotLit 20 (Spring 1999), http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/scotlit/asls/Scottishdrama.html, accessed 31 May 2010. 14. Todd, pp. 213–21. 15. Ibid., pp. 185–6. 16. Ibid., pp. 221–2. 17. Janet Sorensen, ‘Varieties of Public Performance: Folk Songs, Ballads, Popular Drama and Sermons’, in Ian Brown et al. (eds), The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007), II: p. 133.

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18. Ibid., p. 135. 19. William Clark, Marciano; or, The Discovery, ed. W. H. Logan (Edinburgh: privately published, [1663] 1871), pp. 5–6. 20. Ibid., p. 52. 21. Ibid., p. 19. 22. Ibid., p. 41. 23. Bill Findlay (ed.), A History of Scottish Theatre (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1998), pp. 68–71. 24. Ibid., pp. 72–3. 25. Archibald Pitcairne, The Assembly (London: 1722), p. 50. 26. Terence Tobin, Plays by Scots 1660–1800 (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1974). 27. Adrienne Scullion, ‘The Eighteenth Century’ in Findlay, History, p. 81; this section draws on Professor Scullion’s analysis, pp. 81–6. 28. Donald Campbell, Playing for Scotland: A History of the Scottish Stage 1715– 1965 (Edinburgh: Mercat Press, 1996), p. 4. 29. Ibid., p. 8. 30. Allan Ramsay, Some Few Hints [. . .] (Edinburgh, 1728), p. 2. 31. Scullion, ‘Eighteenth Century’, p. 93. 32. Allan Ramsay, The Gentle Shepherd (Edinburgh, [1729] 1880), p. 149. 33. Tobin, Plays, p. 23. 34. Ibid., p. 22. 35. Ibid., p. 134. 36. Quoted in Tobin, p. 135. 37. Sandro Jung, David Mallet, Anglo-Scot: Poetry, Patronage and Politics in the Age of Union (Newark: Delaware University Press, 2008), pp. 17–23, 72–4. 38. Ibid., p. 15. 39. Thomas Arne, Alfred, ed. Alexander Scott (London: Stainer and Bell, 1981), p. 142ff. 40. Tobin, p. 140. 41. Arne, Alfred, p. 175. 42. Tobin, p. 140. 43. James Thomson, Tancred and Sigismunda (London: A. Millar, 1745), p. iv. 44. Ibid., p. 7. 45. Ibid., p. 8. 46. Sandro Jung, ‘Love, Honour, and Duty in James Thomson’s Tancred and Sigismunda (1745)’, MLR 99.4 (October 2004), p. 900. 47. Scullion, p. 93. 48. John Jackson, The History of the Scottish Stage (Edinburgh: Peter Hill, 1793), p. 16. 49. Campbell, Playing, pp. 29–31. 50. Richard B. Sher, ‘Literature and the Church of Scotland’, in Andrew Hook (ed.) (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1987), II: p. 264.

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51. Tobin, p. 163. 52. Ian D. L. Clark, ‘From Protest to Reaction: The Moderate Regime in the Church of Scotland, 1752–1805’, in Nicholas T. Philipson and Rosalind Mitchison (eds), Scotland in the Age of Improvement (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1970), p. 204. 53. Scullion, p. 99. 54. Ibid., pp. 107–8. 55. Quoted in Donald Mackenzie, Scotland’s First National Theatre (Edinburgh: Stanley Press, 1963), p. 8. 56. Jackson, History, p. 77. 57. Its southern arch collapsed in 1769, killing at least five people, and it was not permanently re-opened until 1772. 58. Quoted in Tobin, p. 50. 59. Ibid., p. 51. 60. Scullion, p. 111. 61. Ibid., pp. 128–31. 62. John Galt, Annals of the Parish (London: Foulis, [1821] 1919), p. 207. 63. Scullion, p. 129. 64. Alasdair Cameron, ‘Theatre in Scotland 1660–1800’, in Hook, History, p. 203. 65. Ibid. 66. John Finlayson, The Marches Day (Edinburgh, 1771), p. iii. 67. Tobin, p. 48. 68. Gioia Angeletti, ‘Scottish Women Playwrights: Gender and Performativity in Romantic Theatre’, in Lyndsay Lunan, Kirsty A. Macdonald and Carla Sassi (eds), Re-Visioning Scotland: New Readings of the Cultural Canon (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2008), p. 32. 69. Ibid., p. 39. 70. Tobin, p. 61. 71. Ibid., p. 64. 72. Archibald McLaren, The Highland Drover (Thomas Murray: Greenock, 1790), p. 9. 73. Archibald McLaren, The Negro Slaves (London, 1799), p. 7. 74. Mackenzie, National Theatre, p. 11. 75. Cameron, ‘Theatre’, p. 191. 76. I am grateful to David Bradby, John McGavin, Sarah Carpenter, Barbara Bell, Murray Pittock and, above all, Karin Bowie for their advice in the drafting of this chapter. Chapter 3 – Newton 1. Thomas Green, ‘Toward a Definition of Folk Drama’, The Journal of American Folklore 91.361, pp. 843–50; Tom Pettitt, ‘Customary Drama: Towards a

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2. 3.

4. 5. 6.

7. 8. 9.

10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.

217

Contextual Typology’, Roomer: Newsletter of the Traditional Drama Research Group, 7.4 (1990), pp. 49–56. Anne Burson, ‘Model and Text in Folk Drama’, The Journal of American Folklore 93.369, p. 316. There is no entry for Gaelic folk drama, for example, in David Daiches’ The New Companion to Scottish Culture (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1993) or the multivolume The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007). There is only a brief reference to dance-drama in John MacInnes’ entry for ‘Dance in Gaelic Society’ in Derick Thomson’s The Companion to Gaelic Scotland (Glasgow: Gairm, [1983] 1994) and a mention of folk drama in MacInnes, Dùthchas nan Gàidheal (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2006), pp. 177–8. This can be heard on track 25 of the album Celtic Mouth Music, Ellipsis Arts, 1997. Alexander Carmichael, Carmina Gadelica, 2nd edn (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, [1928] 1971), II: pp. 60–1. Stuart Harris-Logan, ‘Nam Bithinn Mar Eun (“If I were a Bird”): Re-Accessing the Paralinguistic Dimension of Traditional Scots Gaelic Storytelling’, eSharp 10 (2007). Accessed July 2010.http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_ 64275_en.pdf Quoted and discussed in Gerard Murphy, Duanaire Finn/The Book of the Lays of Fionn, part III (Dublin: Irish Texts Society, 1953), p. 132. James Logan, The Scottish Gaël; or Celtic Manners as Preserved amongst the Highlanders, 2 vols (London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1831), II: pp. 247–8. The classic text is Seán Ó Súilleabháin, Irish Wake Amusements (Cork: Mercier Press, 1967); see also Gearóid Ó Crualaoich, ‘The Merry Wake’, in James S. Donnelly, Jr and Kerby A. Miller (eds), Irish Popular Culture, 1650–1850 (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1998), pp. 173–200. Thomas Pennant, A Tour in Scotland and Voyage to the Hebrides, 1772, (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 1998), p. 218. Roger Abrahams, ‘Folk Drama’, in Richard Dorson (ed.), Folklore and Folklife: An Introduction (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972), pp. 355. Quoted in J. F. Flett and T. M. Flett, ‘Dramatic Jigs in Scotland’, Folk-Lore 67 (1956), pp. 84–5. Michael Newton, Warriors of the Word (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2009), pp. 274–6. Quoted in J. F. Flett and T. M. Flett, ‘Some Hebridean Folk Dances’, Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society 7 (1952–5), p. 115. Roger Abrahams, ‘British West Indian Folk Drama and the “Life Cycle” Problem’, Folklore 81.4 (Winter, 1970), p. 241. Alan Gailey, Irish Folk Drama (Cork: Mercier Press, 1969); Cailleach an Dùdain is mentioned on p. 98. Tom Pettitt, ‘Customary Drama: Social and Spatial Patterning in Traditional

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18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

23.

24.

e ndno t es Encounters’, Folk Music Journal 7.1 (1995), p. 28. See also Abrahams, ‘British West Indian Folk Drama’. Flett and Flett, ‘Some Hebridean Dances’, pp. 114–17; ‘Dramatic Jigs’, pp. 87–8, 91–4; Newton, Warriors, pp. 276, 386. Thomas Sinton, The Poetry of Badenoch (Inverness: The Northern Counties Publishing Co., 1906), p. 4. Flett and Flett, ‘Some Hebridean Folk Dances’, p. 125. Tiber Falzett, ‘“Fhir Dhuibh nan Spòg”: Òrain a’ Mhathain and the Bear in the Scottish Gaelic Imagination’, Scottish Gaelic Studies (forthcoming). Probably the best discussion to date is Domhnall Uilleam Stiùbhart, ‘Uses of Historical Traditions in Scottish Gaelic’, in John Beech et al. (eds), Oral Literature and Performance Culture, Scottish Life and Society 10 (Edinburgh: John Donald, 2007), pp. 124–52. Printed as a column in The Scottish American Journal 31 October 1868, originally printed in the Inverness Courier at a previous date. Stewart’s papers and manuscripts seem to have been lost after his death. J. H. Dixon, Gairloch and Guide to Loch Maree (Edinburgh: Cooperative Printing Company, 1886), pp. 165–6; Keith Norman MacDonald, Puirt-aBeul – Mouth Tunes (Oban: Oban Times, 1901), pp. 35–6. Chapter 4 – Bell

1. See, for example, Catherine B. Burroughs (ed.), Women in British Romantic Theatre: Drama, Performance and Society, 1790–1840 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000) and Catherine Burroughs, Closet Stages: Joanna Baillie and the Theater Theory of the British Romantic Women Writers (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997). 2. Penelope Cole, ‘The “Ethno-Symbolic Reconstruction” of Scotland: Joanna Baillie’s The Family Legend in Performance’, Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies 1.2 (March 2008), pp. 95–105; http://www.abdn.ac.uk/riss/JISS/Penelope_ Cole.pdf 3. Penny Fielding, Nationality, Culture and Nineteenth-Century Scottish Fiction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996). 4. See Martin Meisel, Realisations: Narrative, Pictorial and Theatrical Arts in Nineteenth-Century England (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983). 5. This song first appears on a bill for Edinburgh Theatre Royal (12 May 1819) – Main Piece ‘Guy Mannering’, supporting piece ‘The Clachan of Aberfoil’ – while the reference to ‘a gentleman of Edinburgh’ comes from a bill for Glasgow, Theatre Royal (11 August 1819): Mackay was the Guest Artist, his Benefit. 6. Glasgow Sentinel 1.52 (Wednesday Morning, 2 October 1822). 7. Playbill, 27 May 1831, Edinburgh Theatre Royal.

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8. Playbill, 2 August 1831. 9. Playbill, Glasgow Theatre Royal, 19 May 1841: Guest Artist Mackay. 10. Barbara Bell and John Ramage, ‘Meg Dods – Before the Curtain’, International Journal of Scottish Theatre 1.2 (December 2000), www.arts.gla.ac.uk/ScotLit/ ASLS/ijost/Volume1_no2/B_Bell.htm 11. Recent developments in digitisation and print-on-demand mean works by several significant Scottish playwrights and writers, notably Archibald Maclaren, Joanna Baillie and William Sharp/Fiona Macleod are now becoming more generally available. 12. ‘John O’Arnha’’ was not published at the time. Fortunately a prompt copy survived to be published by Montrose printers, George Walker, in 1878 by which time there was antiquarian interest in the production details. Walker appears to have reproduced everything in the script: music cues, effects instructions/cues, et al. 13. W. F. Frame’s Songs and Stories (Glasgow: Leggat Brothers, 1900?), p. 20. Chapter 5 – Maloney 1. Glasgow Evening Times, Tuesday, 4 December 1951, p. 4. 2. Femi Folorunso, ‘Scottish Drama and the Popular Tradition’, in Randall Stevenson and Gavin Wallace (eds), Scottish Theatre since the Seventies (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1996), pp. 177, 182. 3. Michael Coveney, The Citz: 21 Years of the Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre (London: Nick Hern Books, 1990), p. 8. 4. The Guardian, 6 January 2009, p. 22. 5. For Glasgow Unity Theatre see Randall Stevenson, ‘Introduction’, in Bill Findlay (ed.), Scottish People’s Theatre: Plays by Glasgow Unity Writers (Glasgow: ASLS, 2008); Linda Mackenney, ‘Glasgow Unity Theatre, 1941– 51’, in The Activities of Popular Dramatists and Drama Groups, 1900–1952 (Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 2000), pp. 152–237; Adrienne Scullion, ‘Glasgow Unity Theatre: The Necessary Contradictions of Scottish Political Theatre’, Twentieth Century British History 13.3 (2002), pp. 215–52; and Mackenney’s critical introductions to 7:84 editions of Men Should Weep (Edinburgh: 7:84 Publications, 1983) and The Gorbals Story (Edinburgh: 7:84 Publications, 1985). 6. N. Thomson, ‘Native Drama’, Scots Theatre 2 (October 1946), p. 7. 7. Ibid. 8. Bill Findlay, ‘“By Policy a Native Theatre”: Glasgow Unity Theatre and the Significance of Robert Mitchell’s Scottish Adaptation of The Lower Depths’, International Journal of Scottish Theatre 2.1 (June 2001), http://www.arts.gla. ac.uk/ScotLit/ASLS/ijost/Volume2_no1/B_Findlay.htm 9. References to The Gorbals Story are to text in Findlay, Scottish People’s Theatre.

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10. For the revised 1982 version, see Men Should Weep, with a critical Introduction by Linda Mackenney (Edinburgh: 7:84 Publications, 1983). 11. For 7:84 (Scotland)’s history see Linda Mackenney, ‘The People’s Story: 7:84 Scotland’, in Stevenson and Wallace, Scottish Theatre, pp. 65–72; and Maria DiCenzo, The Politics of Alternative Theatre in Britain, 1968–1990: The Case of 7:84 (Scotland) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996). 12. McGrath, A Good Night Out. Popular Theatre: Audience, Class and Form (London: Methuen, 1982), pp. 55–6, 60. 13. Ibid., p. 25. 14. See Ros Merkin, ‘A Life Outside 7:84: John McGrath and the Everyman Theatre Liverpool’, in David Bradby and Susanna Capon (eds), Freedom’s Pioneer: John McGrath’s Work in Theatre, Film and Television (Exeter: Exeter University Press, 2005), pp. 25–38. 15. McGrath, ‘The Year of the Cheviot’, in The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil (London: Methuen, 1981), p. x. 16. John McGrath, The Game’s A Bogey (Edinburgh: EUSPB, 1975). 17. Published in John McGrath, Six-Pack: Plays for Scotland (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1996). 18. Blood Red Roses in Six-Pack, pp. 257–8. 19. So entitled in the Clydebuilt season. The ‘of’’ appears in the original Corrie production in Scots as ‘o’, and is so cited elsewhere in this volume. 20. Bill Findlay, ‘7:84’s Scottish Popular Plays Series’, Radical Scotland 17 (Oct/ Nov. 1985), pp. 30–1. 21. Scullion, ‘Glasgow Unity Theatre’. 22. Interview with David MacLennan, Scottish Theatre News 5.3 (October 1981), p. 8. 23. ‘Wildnights and After’, Radical Scotland 19 (Feb.–March 1986), pp. 30–1. 24. Edwin Morgan, ‘The Wildcat’s Play and Prey’, in Roadworks: Song Lyrics for Wildcat by Dave Anderson and David MacLennan (Glasgow: Third Eye Centre, 1987), p. 4. 25. Roper, The Steamie, in Alasdair Cameron (ed.), Scot-Free (London: Nick Hern Books, 1990), p. 257. 26. Folorunso, ‘Scottish Drama’, p. 183. 27. Ibid. 28. Stevenson, ‘Introduction’, Scottish People’s Theatre, p. xv. 29. ‘Family Life’, from The Complete History of Rock ‘N Roll; reproduced in Morgan, Roadworks, p. 11. Chapter 6 – Stevenson 1. Donald Campbell, The Jesuit, in Bill Findlay (ed.), Scots Plays of the Seventies (Dalkeith: Scottish Cultural Press, 2003), p. 206. Subsequent references are to this edition of the play.

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2. Roddy McMillan, The Bevellers, in Findlay, Plays, pp. 274, 298. Subsequent references are to this edition of the play. 3. Edwin Morgan, ‘Scottish Writing Today II: The Novel and the Drama’, English XVI.96 (Autumn 1967), pp. 228. 4. Tom Leonard, ‘Unrelated Incidents’, in Intimate Voices: Selected Work 1965– 1983 (London: Vintage, [1984] 1995), p. 86. 5. Findlay, Plays, p. xvi. 6. Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Sunset Song (Edinburgh: Canongate, [1932] 2006), p. 32. 7. Tom Gallacher, ‘To Succeed at Home’, Chapman 43–4: On Scottish Theatre (Spring 1986), p. 89. 8. Hugh MacDiarmid, ‘R. F. Pollock and the Art of the Theatre’, in Alan Riach (ed.), Contemporary Scottish Studies (Manchester: Carcanet, [1926] 1995), p. 181; ‘Gairmscoile’, in Michael Grieve and Alexander Scott (eds), The Hugh MacDiarmid Anthology: Poems in Scots and English (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1972), p. 18. 9. Alexander Reid, ‘Foreword’, Two Scots Plays (London: Collins, 1958), pp. xii. 10. Ibid., p. xiii. 11. Liz Lochhead, ‘Introduction’ to Tartuffe: A Translation into Scots from the Original by Molière (Glasgow: Third Eye Centre/Polygon, 1985). Subsequent references are to this edition. 12. Mikhail Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays, ed. Michael Holquist, trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981), p. 47. 13. Alasdair Gray, Lanark: A Life in Four Books (London: Panther, [1981] 1984), p. 243. 14. Cairns Craig, ‘1979, Edinburgh and Glasgow: Devolution Deferred’, in Brian McHale and Randall Stevenson (eds), The Edinburgh Companion to TwentiethCentury Literatures in English (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006), pp. 225, 226. 15. Aaron Kelly, ‘“I Just Tell the Bloody Truth, as I See it”: James Kelman’s A Disaffection, the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Melancholy Knowledge’, Études Écossaises 12 (2009), p. 91. 16. In Gavin Wallace and Randall Stevenson (eds), The Scottish Novel since the Seventies: New Visions, Old Dreams (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1993), pp. 222, 218. Chapter 7 – Archibald 1. The company derived its name from an article in The Economist in 1966, which stated that 7 per cent of the population owned 84 per cent of the nation’s wealth. 7:84 (England) was founded in 1971 and closed in 1984; 7:84 (Scotland) was a separate entity founded in 1973 by McGrath, his wife

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2. 3. 4. 5.

6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

19.

20.

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e ndno t es Elizabeth MacLennan and brother-in-law David MacLennan. McGrath resigned from the company in 1988 and it closed in 2008. Quotations are from the 1981 Methuen edition. Drew Milne, ‘Cheerful History: The Political Theatre of John McGrath’, New Theatre Quarterly 18.4 (2002), p. 313. So entitled in the Clydebuilt season. The ‘of’’appears in the original Corrie production in Scots as ‘o’, and is so cited elsewhere in this volume. For further reading on McGrath, see David Bradby and Susanna Capon (eds), Freedom’s Pioneer: John McGrath’s Work in Theatre, Film and Television (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2005). Francis Fukuyama, ‘The End of History?’, National Interest 16 (1989), p. 4. For a recent critique, see Slavoj Zizek, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce (London: Verso, 2009). Jean-Francois Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984), p. xxiv. Hans-Thies Lehmann, Postdramatic Theatre, trans. Karen Jürs-Munby (London: Routledge, 2008), p. 39. Patrice Pavis, Theatre at the Crossroads of Culture, trans. Loren Kruger (London: Routledge, 1992), p. 59. I am grateful to Robert Walton of Reeling and Writhing for providing me with this exact quotation. Gregory Burke, Gagarin Way (London: Faber and Faber, 2001), p. 68. David Greig, The Speculator (London: Methuen, 1999), pp. 5–6. Zinnie Harris, Further Than The Furthest Thing (London: Faber and Faber, 2000), Author’s Note, n.p. Nicola McCartney, Heritage (Edinburgh: Traverse Publishing, 2001), p. 62. Gregory Burke, The National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch (London: Faber and Faber, 2007), p. 25. See further David Archibald, ‘“We’re Just Big Bullies . . .” Gregory Burke’s Black Watch’, The Drouth 26 (2008) pp. 8–13. Caledonia received a mixed critical reception: Joyce McMillan suggests that ‘it makes an interesting, debatable, and hugely theatrical start on the long collective process of coming to terms with a decisive national disaster’ (The Scotsman, 23 August 2010), while Thom Dibdin describes it as ‘a mishmash of great ideas, poor execution and misguided opportunism’ (The Stage, 27 August 2010). Ian Brown, ‘Plugged into History: The Sense of the Past in Scottish Theatre’, in Randall Stevenson and Gavin Wallace (eds), Scottish Theatre since the Seventies (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1996), p. 98. In 2010, Peter Arnott staged a version of McGrath’s Events while Guarding the Bofors Gun (1967) and Nicola McCartney staged a reading of Arnott’s White Rose (1985) indicating renewed interest in earlier periods’ political plays. Meanwhile Abigail Docherty’s Sea and Land and Sky (2010) won the Tron’s

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Open Stage new play competition (and was produced) with its harrowing exploration of the experiences of three Scottish nurses from different social backgrounds on the World War One Russian front. Chapter 8 – Corbett 1. Roderick Lyall (ed.), The Thrie Estaitis, Sir David Lindsay (Edinburgh: Canongate, 1989), pp. xxiii–xxv. 2. Bill Findlay, ‘Beginnings to 1700’, in Bill Findlay (ed.), A History of Scottish Theatre (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1998), p. 44. 3. Findlay, ‘Beginnings’, pp. 47–50. 4. Findlay, ‘Beginnings’, p. 47; Jamie Reid-Baxter, ‘Rich and Rollicking or Flat and Unfocussed? Barnaby Rich’s Phylotus Contrasted with the Scottish Philotus’, in Neil McMillan and Kirsten Stirling (eds), Odd Alliances: Scottish Studies in European Contexts (Glasgow: Cruithne Press, 1999), pp. 11–24; and ‘Politics, Passion and Poetry in the Circle of James VI: John Burel and his Surviving Work’, in Luuk A. J. R. Houwen, Alasdair A. MacDonald and Sally Mapstone (eds), A Palace in the Wild: Essays on Vernacular Culture and Humanism in Late Mediaeval and Renaissance Scotland (Leuven: Peeters Publishers, 2000), pp. 199–248. 5. Findlay, ‘Beginnings’, p. 50. 6. Adrienne Scullion, ‘The Eighteenth Century’, in Findlay, History, p. 107. 7. Scottish Theatre Archive, online catalogue 8. Cordelia Oliver, Magic in the Gorbals (Ellon: Northern Books, 1999), p. 16. 9. John Corbett and Bill Findlay (eds), Serving Twa Maisters: Five Classic Plays in Scots Translation (Glasgow: ASLS, 2005), pp. x–xiii, 329. 10. The ‘MacMolière’ tradition is discussed in Bill Findlay, ‘Talking in Tongues: Scottish Translations 1970–1995’, in Randall Stevenson and Gavin Wallace (eds), Scottish Theatre since the Seventies (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1996), pp. 186–97; Corbett and Findlay (eds), Serving Twa Maisters, pp. x–xiii, xvii–xxii; Noël Peacock, Molière in Scotland (Glasgow: University of Glasgow French and German Publications, 1993) and ‘Robert Kemp’s Translations of Molière’, in Bill Findlay (ed.), Frae Ither Tongues: Essays on Modern Translations into Scots (Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2004), pp. 87–105; and Randall Stevenson, ‘Triumphant Tartuffification: Liz Lochhead’s Translation of Molière’s Tartuffe’, in Findlay, Frae Ither Tongues, pp. 106–22. 11. J. Derrick McClure, ‘The Puddocks and The Burdies by Aristophanes and Douglas Young’, in Findlay, Frae Ither Tongues, pp. 215–30; Corbett and Findlay, Serving Twa Maisters, pp. xiii–xvi. 12. Liz Lochhead (trans.), Thebans: Oedipus Jokasta Antigone, after Sophocles and Euripides (London: Nick Hern, 2003), p. v. 13. John Corbett, ‘“Nae Mair Pussyfootin: Ah’m Aff, Theramenes”: Demotic

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14. 15. 16.

17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28.

29. 30. 31. 32.

e ndno t es Neoclassical Drama in Contemporary Scotland’, in James McGonigal and Kirsten Stirling (eds), Ethically Speaking: Voices and Values in Modern Scottish Writing (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2006), pp. 1–20. David Greig, Euripides: The Bacchae, from a literal translation by Ian Ruffell (London: Faber, 2007), p. 7. Findlay, ‘Talking in Tongues’, p. 190. Joseph Farrell, ‘Tallies and Italians: The Italian Impact on Scottish Drama’, in Valentina Poggi and Margaret Rose (eds), A Theatre that Matters: Twentieth Century Scottish Theatre and Drama (Milan: Unicopoli, 2000), pp. 121–34. Stuart Hood, ‘Dario Fo’s Mistero Buffo into Scots’, in Findlay, Frae Ither Tongues, pp. 53–65. Findlay, ‘Talking in Tongues’, pp. 186–7. In a panel discussion: see Scottish Society of Playwrights, The Gathering 1970–2005, DVD (Edinburgh: Scottish Society of Playwrights, 2005). Oliver, Magic in the Gorbals, p. 86. Ibid. Lochhead, in The Gathering. Jacques Chupeau (ed.), Molière, Le Misanthrope (Paris: Gallimard, 2000), pp. 50–1. Liz Lochhead (trans.), Misery Guts and Tartuffe: Two Plays by Molière (London: Nick Hern, 2002), p. 8. Lawrence Venuti, The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation (London: Routledge, 1995), p. 148ff. Robert David MacDonald (trans.), Goldoni Volume Two: Don Juan, Friends and Lovers, The Battlefield (London: Oberon, 1999), p. 153. Robert David MacDonald (trans.), Pirandello, Enrico Four (London: Oberon, 1990), p. 17. Robert David MacDonald, Philip Prowse, Giles Havergal and the Editors of P. A. J., ‘Interview: The Citizens Company in Glasgow: “Four Hundred Miles from Civilization” ’, Performing Arts Journal 5.1 (1980), pp. 56–7. MacDonald, Pirandello, p. 17. Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay, ‘Translating Register in Michel Tremblay’s Québécois Drama’ in Findlay, Frae Ither Tongues, p. 73. David Kinloch, ‘Edwin Morgan’s Cyrano de Bergerac’, in Findlay, Frae Ither Tongues, p. 136. Munro, Rona (trans.), Federico García Lorca, The House of Bernarda Alba (London: Methuen, 2009). Chapter 9 – Jack Manuscripts referred to in the Beinecke Research Library, Yale: Barrie Vault Shelves (BVS): BVS (1883): T63 – ‘Tom Nash’.

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1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

23. 24.

225

BVS (1884): S354 – ‘John Skelton or the Rector of Diss’. BVS (1903): P45 – ‘Peter Pan: Fairy Notes’. William Archer, The Old Drama and the New (London: Heinemann, 1923), p. 331. George Blake, Barrie and the Kailyard School (London: Arthur Barker, 1951); Harry M. Geduld, James Barrie (New York: Twayne, 1971). Peter Hollindale, J. M. Barrie: Peter Pan and Other Plays (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. xxx. Jacqueline Rose, The Case of Peter Pan or the Impossibility of Children’s Fiction (London: MacMillan, 1984), p. 76. H. J. Eysenck, Decline and Fall of the Freudian Empire (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985); Catherine Meyer (ed.), Le Livre noir de la psychanalyse (Paris: Arenes, 2005). BVS (1903) P45. J. M. Barrie, Sentimental Tommy (London: Cassells, 1896), p. 380. J. M. Barrie, The Greenwood Hat (London: Peter Davies, 1930), p. 2. David Masson, British Novelists and their Style (Cambridge: MacMillan, 1859), p. 201. David Masson, Shakespeare Personally, ed. Rosemary Masson (London: Smith and Elder, 1914), pp. 134, 137. Masson, British Novelists, pp. 4, 250–1; Shakespeare, pp. 134, 137. J. M. Barrie, Margaret Ogilvy (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1896), p. 42. BVS S354, T 63. Denis Mackail, The Story of J. M. B. (London: Peter Davies, 1941), pp. 49–77; cf. R. D. S. Jack, Myths and the Myth-Maker: A Literary Account of J. M. Barrie’s Formative Years (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2010), pp. 31–78. Leonee Ormond, J. M. Barrie (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1987), p. 85. J. M.Barrie in Nottingham Journal, 24 April 1884, p. 5. Joseph Harker, Studio and Stage (London: Ernest Benn, 1924), p. 239. Penny Griffin, ‘The First Performance of Ibsen’s Ghost’, Theatre Notebook 33, p. 32. See R. D. S. Jack, The Road to the Never Land (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1991), pp. 164–5. 16 April 1883, p. 5; 15 September 1884, p. 7. J. M. Barrie, Auld Licht Idylls (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1888), pp. 1–6. R. D. S. Jack, ‘Barrie and the Extreme Heroine’, in Christopher Whyte (ed.), Gendering the Nation (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1995), pp. 137–67. Ormond, ‘J. M. Barrie’s Mary Rose’, Yale University Library Gazette 58, pp. 59–63. See Jack, The Road, pp. 125–7.

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25. J. M. Barrie, McConnachie and J. M. B., ed. Horace Walpole (Edinburgh: Constable, 1938), p. vii. Chapter 10 – Smith 1. Linda Mackenney (ed.), Joe Corrie: Plays, Poems and Theatre Writings (Edinburgh: 7:84 Publications, 1985), pp. 112–13. 2. Robert McLellan, Collected Plays: Volume 1 (London: John Calder, 1981), p. 79. 3. Ibid., p. 264. 4. Alexander Reid, ‘The World’s Wonder’, Act II, scene 3 (unpublished typescript, private collection). 5. Randall Stevenson, ‘Introduction’, in Bill Findlay (ed.), Scottish People’s Theatre: Plays by Glasgow Unity Writers (Glasgow: ASLS, 2008), p. xv. 6. Ena Lamont Stewart, ‘Men Should Weep’, in Findlay, Scottish Peoples Theatre, pp. 89–90. 7. George Munro, ‘Gay Landscape’, Act II, p. 5 (unpublished typescript, private collection). 8. For further information on Sadie Aitken’s career see Kathleen Gilmour, ‘Sarah (Sadie) Ross Aitken, MBE: A Study of a Career in Theatre’, International Journal of Scottish Theatre 1.2. http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/ScotLit/ ASLS/ijost/Volume1_no2/K_Gilmour.htm and ‘Sadie Aitken: The “Caledonian Lilian Baylis” ’, in Ian Brown (ed.), Journey’s Beginning: The Gateway Theatre Building and Company, 1884–1965 (Bristol: Intellect, 2004), pp. 37–52. Chapter 11 – Carruthers 1. See for instance, James Bridie’s letter to the Observer (10 August 1930) (University of Glasgow Special Collections, STA 2Bc 6) where he admonishes St John Ervine for such an attack on the SNP. 2. Press cutting (unidentified source) reporting a speech by Bridie to the Eastern Players Dramatic Club in Shettleston, Glasgow, no date (University of Glasgow Special Collections, STA Bn 11, p. 171). 3. ‘James Bridie on the Theatre: Address to Glasgow Students’ (Glasgow Herald November 1933), in Margery Palmer McCulloch (ed.), Modernism and Nationalism: Literature and Society in Scotland, 1918–1939 (Glasgow: ASLS, 2004), p. 140. 4. ‘A Scottish Theatre’ (1945), broadcast talk by Bridie, typescript (University of Glasgow Special Collections, STA Bridie 642n), pp. 4–5. 5. Winifred Bannister, James Bridie and his Theatre (London: Rockliff, 1955), p. 50. 6. Ibid., pp. 75, 82.

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7. Ronald Mavor, Dr Mavor and Mr Bridie (Edinburgh: Canongate and National Library of Scotland, 1988), p. 77. 8. Reah Denholm, ‘The National Theatre Movement’, originally from Scots Magazine (July 1924), in McCulloch, Modernism, p. 133. 9. Jan McDonald, ‘“We Simply Could Not Wait” — James Bridie and the Citizen’s Theatre’ (unpublished lecture delivered on the 50th anniversary of the RSAMD). I am grateful to Professor McDonald for giving me a copy of her lecture. 10. Letter to the editor of the Scots Independent (11 January 1945) (University of Glasgow Special Collections, STA Bridie 96). 11. Randall Stevenson, ‘Introduction’, in Bill Findlay (ed.), Scottish People’s Theatre: Plays by Glasgow Unity Writers (Glasgow: ASLS, 2008), p. xvi. 12. Neil Cooper, ‘Obituary: Ena Lamont Stewart’, The Herald (16 February 2006), p. 20. 13. Note in programme of Clifford Odet’s Golden Boy (1943); see Stevenson in Findlay, Scottish People’s Theatre, for full citation, p. xii. See in this connection too Bridie’s ‘The Theatre. A Paper Read to the Thirteen on the Evening of 24th November 1939’ (Glasgow, 1939). 14. An interestingly particular, perhaps over-particular, reading of Bridie’s main intellectual wellsprings is found in Anne Greene, ‘Bridie’s Concept of the Master Experimenter’, Studies in Scottish Literature 2 (1964), pp. 96–110. 15. The treatment of Bridie’s religious themes is thoughtfully handled in Gerald Weales, Religion in Modern English Drama (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1961), pp. 79–90. 16. See the excellent discussion of Daphne Laureola and The Baikie Charivari as ‘poetic experimental’ plays in John Thomas Low, Doctors, Devils, Saints and Sinners: A Critical Study of the Major Plays of James Bridie (Edinburgh: Ramsay Head Press, 1980), pp. 88–112. 17. Ernest G. Mardon, The Conflict between the Individual and Society in the Plays of James Bridie (Glasgow: William MacLellan, 1972). For a fine overview of Bridie’s art, see Alastair Cording, Twentieth Century Scottish Drama, unpublished PhD thesis, 3 vols (University of Glasgow, 1974), II: pp. 1–92. 18. Morgan, ‘Scottish Drama: An Overview’, ScotLit 20 (Spring 1999), http:// www.arts.gla.ac.uk/scotlit/asls/Scottishdrama.html, accessed 31 May 2010 19. Brown, Letter, Sunday Herald, 21 February 2010. Chapter 12 – Varty 1. Arthur Miller, ‘Notes on Realism’, Echoes Down the Corridor. Collected Essays 1944–2000, ed. Steven Centola (London: Methuen, 2000), p. 304. 2. Joan Ure, Five Short Plays, ed. Christopher Small (Glasgow: Scottish Society of Playwrights, 1979), p. 4. 3. Miller, ‘Notes’, p. 308.

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4. This quotation forms the title of Jan McDonald’s excellent analysis of Ure’s work in International Journal of Scottish Theatre 3.1 (2002). 5. Read by Anne Mitchell, 13 May 1970, Radio 4 Scotland, 8.30–9.30 pm, Scottish Theatre Archive (University of Glasgow Special Collections, K y Box 16). 6. Scottish International, November 1971, p. 29. 7. Ure, Five Short Plays, p. 33. 8. Scottish International, November 1971, p. 56. 9. McDonald, International Journal. 10. ‘Generations’, The Adoption Papers (Newcastle: Bloodaxe, 1991), pp. 29–30. 11. Philip Osment, Gay Sweatshop: Four Plays and a Company (London: Methuen, 1989), p. lxv. 12. Ibid. 13. For complete listing see http://www.doollee.com/PlaywrightsC/conn-stewart. html 14. Ian Brown, ‘Stewart Conn’, in John Bull (ed.), Dictionary of Literary Biography: Volume 233: British and Irish Dramatists since World War II (Columbia, SC: Broccoli Clark Publications, 2000), p. 78. 15. Ibid. 16. ‘The Border Crossers’, Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007), III: p. 265. 17. See Stolen Light. Selected Poems (Newcastle: Bloodaxe, 1997), pp. 60–2, 15, 42. 18. Stewart Conn, The Aquarium, The Man in the Green Muffler and I Didn’t Always Live Here (London: John Calder, 1976), p. 9. 19. Ibid., p. 99. 20. Douglas Gifford et al. (eds), Scottish Literature in English and Scots (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2002), pp. 817–27. 21. A Decade’s Drama. Six Scottish Plays, ed. Alan Wright (Todmordern: Woodhouse Books, 1980), p. 130. 22. Gifford, Scottish Literature, pp. 824–5. 23. A Decade’s Drama, p. 120. 24. ‘Plugged into History’, in Randall Stevenson and Gavin Wallace (eds), Scottish Theatre since the Seventies (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991), p. 91. 25. Thistlewood (Todmorden: Woodhouse Books, 1979), p. 26. 26. Stolen Light, p. 83. 27. Brown, ‘Stewart Conn’, p. 80. 28. Colin Nicholson, Poem, Purpose and Place: Shaping Identity in Contemporary Scottish Verse (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1992), p. 74. 29. Brown and Nicholson, ‘The Border Crossers’, pp. 267–8. 30. Edwin Morgan, Poems of Thirty Years (Manchester: Carcanet, 1982), p. 237. 31. Ibid., p. 406.

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end notes 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50.

229

Ibid., p. 434. Ibid., pp. 278–82. Ibid., p. 401. Edwin Morgan, A Book of Lives (Manchester: Carcanet, 2007), pp. 56–64. Theatre Record, 7–20 October 1992. Ibid. Ibid. Nicholson, Poem, Purpose, p. 59. Edwin Morgan, Edmond de Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac (Manchester: Carcanet, 1992), p. 72. Poems of Thirty Years, p. 149. Ibid., pp. 249–51. A Book of Lives, pp. 69–71. Ibid., pp. 69–71. Edwin Morgan, A. D. A Trilogy on the Life of Jesus Christ (Manchester: Carcanet, 2000), p. 214. Ali Smith, The Guardian, 14 January 2006. Edwin Morgan, The Play of Gilgamesh (Manchester: Carcanet, 2005), p. vi. Ibid., p. vii. Edwin Morgan, Nothing Not Giving Messages. Reflections on his Work and Life, ed. Hamish Whyte (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1990), p. 175. Ibid., p. 185. Chapter 13 – Maguire

1. Joyce McMillan, ‘Women Playwrights in Contemporary Scottish Theatre’, Chapman 43–4 (1986), pp. 69–76. 2. Ksenija Horvat, ‘Scottish Women Playwrights against Zero Visibility: New Voices Breaking Through’, Études écossaises 10 (2005), pp. 143–58. 3. Audrey Bain, ‘Loose Canons: Identifying a Women’s Tradition in Playwriting’, in Randall Stevenson and Gavin Wallace (eds), Scottish Theatre since the Seventies (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1996), pp. 138–45. 4. Cited in Lizbeth Goodman, ‘Rona Munro’, in K. A. Berney (ed.), Contemporary Women Dramatists, 5th edn (London: St James, 1994), p. 168. 5. Susan C. Triesman, ‘Transformations and Transgressions: Women’s Discourse on the Scottish Stage’, in Trevor R. Griffiths and Margaret Llewellyn-Jones (eds), British and Irish Women Dramatists since 1958: A Critical Handbook (Buckingham: Open University Press, 1993), p. 124. 6. Jan McDonald, ‘Scottish Women Dramatists since 1945’, in Douglas Gifford and Dorothy McMillan (eds), A History of Scottish Women’s Writing (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997), p. 505. 7. Doreen Massey, Space, Place and Gender (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1994). 8. A phrase from Rona Munro cited in Goodman, ‘Rona Munro’, p. 168.

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9. Joseph Farrell, ‘Tallies and Italians: The Italian Impact on Scottish Drama’, in Valentina Poggi and Margaret Rose (eds), A Theatre that Matters: Twentieth-Century Scottish Theatre and Drama (Milan: Unicopli, 2000), p. 125. 10. McMillan, ‘Women Playwrights’, p. 75. 11. See, for example, Philip Howard (ed.), Scotland Plays (London: Nick Hern Books, 1998). 12. Ksenija Horvat and Barbara Bell, ‘Sue Glover, Rona Munro, Lara Jane Bunting: Echoes and Open Spaces’, in Aileen Christianson and Alison Lumsden (eds), Contemporary Scottish Women Writers (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000), pp. 65–78. 13. Alison Smith, ‘Liz Lochhead: Speaking in her Own Voice’, in Robert Crawford and Anne Varty (eds), Liz Lochhead’s Voices (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1993) pp. 1–16. 14. Margaret Rose and Emanuela Rossini, ‘Playwriting in Scotland Today’, in Poggi and Rose, A Theatre That Matters, p. 232. 15. Horvat and Bell, ‘Echoes and Open Spaces’, p. 66. 16. McDonald, ‘Scottish Women Dramatists’, p. 44. 17. Allen Wright (ed.), A Decade’s Drama (Todmorden: Woodhouse Books, 1980); Bill Findlay (ed.), Scots Plays of the Seventies (Dalkeith: Scottish Cultural Press, 2001); Ian Brown and Mark Fisher (eds), Made in Scotland: An Anthology of New Scottish Plays (London: Methuen, 1995); Alasdair Cameron (ed.), Scot-Free (London: Nick Hern Books, 1990); Philip Howard (ed.), Scotland Plays; and Cairns Craig and Randall Stevenson (eds), TwentiethCentury Scottish Drama (Edinburgh: Canongate, 2001). 18. Texts for schools include Anne Gifford and Jane Robertson, Contemporary Scottish Plays for Higher English and Drama (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2000); Ann Marie Di Mambro, Tally’s Blood: A Playscript for Higher Drama (Edinburgh: Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2002); and Rona Munro Bold Girls, end notes and activities by Elisabeth Sharp (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1993). 19. Olga Taxidou, ‘From Cheviots to Silver Darlings: John McGrath interviewed by Olga Taxidou’, in Stevenson and Wallace, Scottish Theatre, p. 157. 20. Massey, Space, p. 10. 21. Ibid., p. 137. 22. Ibid., p. 138. 23. Cameron, Scot-Free, p. xiii. 24. Randall Stevenson, ‘In the Jungle of the Cities’, in Stevenson and Wallace, Scottish Theatre, pp. 100–11. 25. Horvat and Bell, ‘Echoes and Open Spaces’, p. 67. 26. Massey, Space, p. 11. 27. Ibid., p. 179. 28. Ibid., p. 11.

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29. 30. 31. 32.

Farrell, ‘Tallies and Italians’. Massey, Space, p. 2 Horvat, ‘Scottish Women Playwrights’, p. 144. Susan C. Triesman, ‘Sharman Macdonald: The Generation of Identity’, in Christianson and Lumsden, Contemporary Scottish Women Writers, p. 56. 33. Sue Glover, Bondagers and The Straw Chair (London: Methuen, 1997), pp. 2–3. 34. McDonald, ‘Scottish Women Dramatists’, p. 510. Chapter 14 – Cramer 1. Joyce McMillan, The Traverse Theatre Story (London: Methuen, 1988), pp. 86–99. 2. Ibid., p. 91. 3. Ibid., p. 93. 4. Ian Brown, ‘Plugged Into History: The Sense of the Past in Scottish Theatre’, in Randall Stevenson and Gavin Wallace (eds), Scottish Theatre since the Seventies (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1996), pp. 84–99. 5. McMillan, Traverse, p. 92. 6. Steve Cramer, ‘Interview: Peter Arnott on the Power and Responsibility of the Playwright Today’, The Scotsman, 22 August 2009. 7. Arnott, White Rose (unpublished manuscript provided by author). 8. Clifford, Losing Venice, in Alasdair Cameron (ed.), Scot Free: New Scottish Plays (London: Nick Hern, 1990), pp. 41–98. 9. Cameron, ‘Introduction’, Scot Free, p. xiv. 10. Hannan, Elizabeth Gordon Quinn, in Cameron, Scot Free, pp. 105–46. 11. In an interview, ‘Aids, education and the year 2000!’, Woman’s Own, 31 October 1987, pp. 8–10. 12. Colin Clark, ‘Interview with Chris Hannan’, in Hannan, Elizabeth Gordon Quinn (London: Nick Hern, 2006), p. viii. 13. Aleks Sierz, In-Yer-Face Theatre: British Drama Today (London: Faber, 2000), p. 39. 14. Harrower, Knives in Hens (London: Methuen, 1995). 15. Greig, Europe (London: Methuen, 1996). 16. Greig, ‘Internal Exile’, Theatre Scotland 3.11 (1994), p. 10. 17. Greenhorn, Passing Places (London: Nick Hern, 1997). Chapter 15 – Horvat 1. ‘The Writers, Liz Lochhead (1947–): Biography’, in Writing Scotland, A Journey through Scotland’s Literature. BBC Scotland, http://www.bbc.co.uk/ scotland/arts/writingscotland/writers/liz_lochhead/ (accessed 25 March 2010).

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2. Ibid. 3. Quoted in Alison Smith, ‘Speaking in Her Own Voice’, in Robert Crawford and Anne Varty (eds), Liz Lochhead’s Voices (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1993), p. 5. 4. Brian Taylor, ‘Interview with Liz Lochhead’, Edinburgh International Book Festival, 29 August 2005, http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/downloads/05_08_29_ liz_lochhead.doc (accessed 30 March 2010). 5. Tom Pow, ‘A Voice with a Vision’, in New Statesman Scotland, 3 April 2000, http://www.newstatesman.com/200004030028 (accessed 20 March 2010). 6. Liz Lochhead, ‘Revelation’, in Dreaming Frankenstein & Collected Poems 1967–1984 (Edinburgh: Polygon, [1984] 2003), p. 147. 7. Ibid. 8. Lochhead, in Dreaming Frankenstein, p. xi. 9. Lochhead, in Educating Agnes (London: Nick Hern, 2008), p. 6. 10. Lochhead, ‘Kidspoem/Bairnsong’, in The Colour of Black and White (Edinburgh: Polygon, 2005), pp. 19–20. 11. Ibid., p. 20. 12. Lochhead, in Tartuffe (Edinburgh, Glasgow: Polygon, Third Eye Centre, 1985), p. 4. 13. Pow, ibid. 14. Lochhead, in True Confessions and New Clichés (Edinburgh: Polygon, [1985] 2003), p. 1. 15. Ibid. 16. Ibid. 17. Ibid. 18. Anne Varty, ‘Scripts and Performances’, in Crawford and Varty, Voices, p. 149. 19. Jan McDonald and Jennifer Harvie, ‘Putting New Twists to Old Stories: Feminism and Lochhead’s Drama’, in Crawford and Varty, p. 136. 20. Lochhead, ‘Letter to Emma Tennant’, in The National Library of Scotland Manuscripts, Acc. No. 9870, 1980, n.p. 21. Robert Crawford, ‘The Two-faced Language of Lochhead’s Poetry’, in Crawford and Varty, pp. 67–8. 22. Ibid., p. 68. 23. Sigmund Freud, ‘The Uncanny’, in James Strachey and Anna Freud (trans.), The Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud (London: W. W. Norton, [1919] 1976), XVII: p. 245. 24. Quoted in Stephen J. Boyd, ‘The Voice of Revelation: Liz Lochhead and Monsters’, in Crawford and Varty, p. 48. 25. Ibid. 26. Gillian Somerville-Arjat and Rebecca E. Wilson, ‘Interview with Liz Lochhead’, in Somerville-Arjat and Wilson (eds), Sleeping with Monsters:

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27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32.

233

Conversations with Scottish and Irish Women Poets (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1990), pp. 13–14. Lochhead, ‘A Giveaway’, in Dreaming Frankenstein, p. 43. Lochhead, ‘Introduction’, in Tartuffe, n.p. Ibid. Graham McLaren, ‘Introduction’, in Liz Lochhead, Medea (London: Nick Hern, 2000), n.p. Lochhead, ‘Foreword’, in Medea, n.p. Lochhead, in Educating Agnes, p. 4. Chapter 16 – Reid

1. Tom Nairn, After Britain: New Labour and the Return of Scotland (London: Granta, 2000), p. 155. 2. Douglas Maxwell, Promises Promises (London: Oberon Books, 2010), p. 30. 3. Ibid., p. 42. 4. Mark Fisher, ‘Promises, Promises/Theatre Review’, The Guardian, 9 February 2010. 5. Paul Basu, ‘Hunting Down Home: Reflections on Homeland and the Search for Identity in the Scottish Diaspora’, in Barbara Bender and Margot Winer (eds), Contested Landscapes: Movement, Exile and Place (Oxford: Berg, 2001), p. 333. 6. David A. Hollinger, Postethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism (New York: Basic Books, 2000), p. 1. 7. Randall Stevenson and Gavin Wallace (eds), Scottish Theatre since the Seventies (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1996), p. 10. 8. Ibid., p. 11. 9. Adrienne Scullion, ‘Devolution and Drama: Imagining the Possible’, in Berthold Schoene (ed.), The Edinburgh Companion to Contemporary Scottish Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007), pp. 68–77. 10. Scullion, ‘Devolution and Drama’, p. 71. 11. Nadine Holdsworth, ‘Travelling across Borders: Re-Imagining the Nation and Nationalism in Contemporary Scottish Theatre’, Contemporary Theatre Review 13.2 (2003), pp. 25–39. 12. Ibid., p. 39. 13. Lyndsay Paterson, The Autonomy of Modern Scotland (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1994), p. 180. 14. Craig Cairns, ‘Constituting Scotland’, Irish Review 28 (2002), p. 21. 15. Ian Brown, ‘Alternative Sensibilities: Devolutionary Comedy and Scottish Camp’, in Schoene, Contemporary Scottish Literature, p. 324. 16. Henry Adam, The People Next Door (London: Nick Hern Books, 2003), p. 85. 17. Henry Adam, Petrol Jesus Nightmare # 5 (In the Time of the Messiah) (London: Nick Hern, 2006), p. 76.

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18. Mark Fisher, ‘’e Polish Quine/Theatre Review’, The Guardian, 29 May 2007. 19. See Robert Leach, ‘The Short, Astonishing History of the National Theatre of Scotland’, New Theatre Quarterly 23.2 (2007), pp. 171–83; and Trish Reid, ‘“From Scenes like these Old Scotia’s Grandeur Springs”: The New National Theatre of Scotland’, Contemporary Theatre Review 17.2 (2007), pp. 192–201. 20. Joyce McMillan, ‘Review of the Decade: Theatre – Black Watch Leads Triumphant March Forward for Scots Theatre’, The Scotsman, 17 December 2009. 21. Ibid. 22. David Archibald, ‘“We’re Just Big Bullies . . .”: Gregory Burke’s Black Watch’, in The Drouth 26 (2008), p. 8. 23. Gregory Burke, The National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch (London: Faber and Faber, 2007), p. 31. 24. Ibid., p. viii. 25. Ibid. 26. Aleks Sierz, In-Yer-Face Theatre: British Drama Today (London: Faber, 2000), p. 68. 27. Michael Coveney, ‘The Censor/Theatre Review’, Daily Mail, 13 June 1997; Toby Young, ‘Stitching/Theatre Review’, The Spectator, 24 August 2002. 28. See Trish Reid, ‘“Deformities of the Frame”: The Theatre of Anthony Neilson’, Contemporary Theatre Review 17.4 (2007), pp. 487–98. 29. Scullion, ‘Devolution and Drama’, p. 74; and Brown, ‘Alternative Sensibilities’, p. 327. 30. Anthony Neilson, The Wonderful World of Dissocia, in Plays 2 (London: Methuen, 2008), p. 242. 31. Lyn Gardner, ‘ Realism/Theatre Review’, The Guardian, 17 August 2006. 32. Neilson, ‘Introduction’, Plays 2, p. x. 33. Quoted in Brown, ‘Alternative Sensibilities’, pp. 322–3. 34. Charles Spencer, ‘Relocated/Theatre Review’, Daily Telegraph, 16 June 2008. 35. Michael Billington, ‘Relocated/Theatre Review’, The Guardian, 18 June 2008. 36. Paul Taylor, ‘Relocated/Theatre Review’, The Independent, 17 June 2008. Chapter 17 – Hutchison 1. For an introduction to the subject see Erin Striff (ed.), Performance Studies (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003). 2. See, for example, Janet Sorensen, ‘Varieties of Public Performance: Folk Songs, Ballads, Popular Drama and Sermons’, in Susan Manning (ed.), The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007), II: pp. 133–42. 3. See Christopher Small’s introduction to David Hutchison, The Modern Scottish Theatre (Glasgow: Molendinar, 1977).

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4. See, for example, Richard Butt, ‘Looking at Tartan in Film: History, Identity and Spectacle’ and David Goldie, ‘Don’t Take the High Road: Tartanry and its Critics’, in Ian Brown (ed.), From Tartan to Tartanry: Scottish Culture, History and Myth (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010), pp. 166–79 and 232–45. 5. See Hutchison, Modern Scottish Theatre, pp. 28–9. 6. W. H. McDowell, The History of BBC Broadcasting in Scotland 1923–1983 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1992), p. 16. 7. Asa Briggs, The BBC: The First Fifty Years (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), p. 253. 8. For a brief history of broadcasting in Scotland, see Maggie Sweeney, ‘Broadcasting from Birth to Devolution . . . and Beyond’, in Neil Blain and David Hutchison (eds), The Media in Scotland (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008), pp. 87–103. 9. See John Cook, ‘Three Ring Circus: Television Drama about, by and for Scotland’, in Blain and Hutchison, Media, pp. 107–22. 10. For an interesting succinct review of this, see Richard Butt, ‘Literature and the Screen Media since 1908’, in Ian Brown (ed.), The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007), III: pp. 53–63. 11. See, for example, Duncan Petrie, Screening Scotland (London: BFI, 2000) for an extended discussion of that debate. 12. See interview with Joan McAlpine in The Sunday Times, 5 April 2009 – http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/ fiction/article6035337.ece?token=null&offset=36&page=4 (accessed 20 September 2009).

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Further Reading

Bannister, Winifred, James Bridie and his Theatre (London: Rockliff, 1955). Barlow, Priscilla, Wise Enough to Play the Fool: A Biography of Duncan Macrae (Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers Limited in association with Theatre Studies Publications, University of Glasgow, 1995). Beech, John et al. (eds), Oral Literature and Performance Culture, Scottish Life and Society 10 (Edinburgh: John Donald, 2007). Blake, George, Barrie and the Kailyard School (London: Arthur Barker, 1951). Bradby, David and Susanna Capon (eds), Freedom’s Pioneer: John McGrath’s Work in Theatre, Film and Television (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2005). Brown, Ian (ed.), Journey’s Beginning: The Gateway Theatre Building and Company, 1884–1965 (Bristol: Intellect Books, 2004). Brown, Ian and Alan Riach, The Edinburgh Companion To Twentieth-Century Scottish Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009). Brown, Ian, Thomas Clancy, Susan Manning and Murray Pittock (eds), The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature, 3 vols (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007). Brown, Ian and Mark Fisher (eds), Made in Scotland. An Anthology of New Scottish Plays (London: Methuen, 1995). Cameron, Alasdair (ed.), Scot-Free (London: Nick Hern Books, 1990). Cameron, Alasdair and Adrienne Scullion (eds), Scottish Popular Theatre and Entertainment: Historical and Critical Approaches to Theatre and Film in Scotland (Glasgow: Glasgow University Library, 1996). Campbell, Donald, Playing for Scotland: A History of the Scottish Stage 1715–1965 (Edinburgh: Mercat Press, 1996). Carruthers, Gerard, The Devil to Stage: Five Plays by James Bridie (Glasgow: The Association of Scottish Literary Studies, 2007). Corbett, John, Written in the Language of the Scottish Nation: A History of Literary Translation into Scots (Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 1999). Corbett, John and Bill Findlay (eds), Serving Twa Maisters: Five Classic Plays in Scots Translation (Glasgow: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 2005). Corrie, Joe, Plays, Poems & Theatre Writings (Edinburgh: 7:84 Publications, 1985).

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Craig, Cairns and Randall Stevenson (eds), Twentieth-Century Scottish Drama (Edinburgh: Canongate, 2001). Christianson, Aileen and Alison Lumsden (eds), Contemporary Scottish Women Writers (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000). Crawford, Robert and Anne Varty (eds), Liz Lochhead’s Voices (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1993). Findlay, Bill (ed.), A History of Scottish Theatre (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1998). Findlay, Bill (ed.), Scots Plays of the Seventies (Dalkeith: Scottish Cultural Press, 2001). Findlay, Bill (ed.), Frae Ither Tongues: Essays on Modern Translations into Scots (Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2004). Findlay, Bill, Scottish People’s Theatre: Plays by Glasgow Unity Writers (Glasgow: The Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 2008). Geduld, Harry M., James Barrie (New York: Twayne, 1971). Greene, Roger L., Fifty Years of Peter Pan (London: Peter Davies, 1954). Hendry, Joy (ed.), Chapman 43–4 (1986). Hollindale, Peter, J. M. Barrie: Peter Pan and Other Plays (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995). Howard, Philip (ed.), Scotland Plays (London: Nick Hern Books, 1998). Hutchison, David, The Modern Scottish Theatre (Glasgow: Molendinar, 1977). Jack, R. D. S., The Road to the Never Land (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1991). Jack, R. D. S., Myths and the Myth-Maker: A Literary Account of J. M. Barrie’s Formative Years (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2010). Low, John Thomas, Doctors, Devils, Saints and Sinners: A Critical Study of the Major Plays of James Bridie (Edinburgh: The Ramsay Head Press, 1980). Lubyen, Helen L., James Bridie: Clown and Philosopher (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1965). McDonald, Jan, ‘Scottish Women Dramatists since 1945’, in Douglas Gifford and Dorothy McMillan (eds), A History of Scottish Women’s Writing (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997), pp. 494–513. McGavin, John J., Theatricality and Narrative in Medieval and Early Modern Scotland (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007). MacInnes, John. Dùthchas nan Gàidheal: Selected Essays of John MacInnes, ed. Michael Newton (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2006). Mackail, Denis, The Story of J. M. B. (London: Peter Davies, 1941). Mavor, Ronald, Dr Mavor and Mr Bridie (Edinburgh: Canongate and the National Library of Scotland, 1988). Mill, Anna J., Mediaeval Plays in Scotland (Edinburgh: Blackwood, 1927). Oliver, Cordelia, Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre, Robert David MacDonald and German Drama (Glasgow: Third Eye Centre, 1984). Oliver, Cordelia, Magic in the Gorbals (Ellon: Northern Books, 1999). Ormond, Leonee, J. M. Barrie (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1987).

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Peacock, Noël, Molière in Scotland (Glasgow: University of Glasgow French and German Publications, 1993). Poggi, Valentina and Margaret Rose (eds), A Theatre that Matters: Twentieth Century Scottish Theatre and Drama (Milan: Unicopoli, 2000). Rose, Jacqueline, The Case of Peter Pan or the Impossibility of Children’s Fiction (London: MacMillan, 1984). Scottish Society of Playwrights, The Gathering 1970–2005, DVD (Edinburgh: Scottish Society of Playwrights, 2005). Sommerville-Arjat, G. and Rebecca E. Wilson (eds), Sleeping with Monsters: Conversations with Scottish and Irish Women Poets (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1990). Stevenson, Randall and Gavin Wallace (eds), Scottish Theatre since the Seventies (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1996). Tobin, Terence, Plays by Scots 1660–1800 (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1974). Todd, Margo, The Culture of Protestantism in Early Modern Scotland (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002). Triesman, Susan C., ‘Transformations and Transgressions: Women’s Discourse on the Scottish Stage’, in Trevor R. Griffiths and Margaret Llewellyn-Jones (eds), British and Irish Women Dramatists since 1958: A Critical Handbook (Buckingham: Open University Press, 1993), pp. 124–34. Wright, Allen (ed.), A Decade’s Drama (Todmorden: Woodhouse Books, 1980).

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Notes on Contributors

David Archibald teaches in Theatre, Film and Television at Glasgow University. His research concentrates on the relationship between culture and politics. He has published articles in a diverse range of areas including James Kelman’s dramatic writings, images of conflict situations and film festivals. Barbara Bell researches and publishes on nineteenth-century theatre topics, notably the Scottish National Drama, performance of Victorian Medievalism and contemporary Scottish playwriting. She is currently exploring computerbased techniques behind some of her research, having developed a blended and networked drama degree for UHI Millennium Institute. Ian Brown is playwright, poet and Professor in Drama at Kingston University. General editor of The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature (2007) and coeditor with Alan Riach of The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century Scottish Literature (2009), he is visiting professor at Glasgow and Glamorgan Universities and publishes on theatrical, literary and cultural topics. Sarah Carpenter is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Edinburgh University. Her primary research interests are medieval and early modern drama and practices of performance. Author of many articles on early performance and, with Meg Twycross, Masks and Masking in Medieval and Early Tudor England (2002), she is currently working on sixteenth-century performance at the Scottish royal court. Gerard Carruthers is editor of The Devil to Stage: Five Plays by James Bridie (2007) and author of Scottish Literature, A Critical Guide (2009). John Corbett is a Professor of English at Macau University. Published on many aspects of Scottish literature, Scots language and translation studies, he directed two AHRC-funded projects – the Scottish Corpus of Texts and

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Speech and the Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing (1700–1945), both available freely at www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk. These corpora inform his current work on a history of spelling in modern literary Scots. Steve Cramer is a Lecturer in Drama and Performance at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. He is a widely published theatre critic and scholar and was theatre editor for many years of The List. Ksenija Horvat is a Lecturer in Drama and Performance at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Her research areas include contemporary Scottish theatre, gender in theatre, dramaturgy and theatre history. She has worked as playwright, translator, researcher and theatre reviewer. David Hutchison is Visiting Professor in Media Policy at Glasgow Caledonian University. A former member of the BBC’s General Advisory Council and the Scottish Film Council, he chairs Regional Screen Scotland. Author of The Modern Scottish Theatre (1977) and Media Policy (1999), he co-edited The Media in Scotland (2008) with Neil Blain. He has written widely on media policy, the media in Canada and theatre in Scotland. Ronnie Jack is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Professor Emeritus in English Literature at Edinburgh University. He has written widely on Renaissance Scottish Literature, on Robert Burns and on J. M. Barrie. His latest Barrie monograph is Myths and the Myth Maker: A Literary View of Barrie’s Formative Years (2010). Tom Maguire is a Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies at the University of Ulster. Chair of the Standing Conference of University Drama Departments and of Big Telly Theatre Company, Northern Ireland, he is an Advisory Board member of PALATINE, the Higher Education Academy’s subject centre for performing arts and the About Performance Editorial Board. Paul Maloney is author of Scotland and the Music Hall, 1850–1914 (2003) and Research Fellow on Pantomime in Scotland: ‘Your other national theatre’, an AHRC-funded research project based at Glasgow University’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies. He has researched the Britannia Music Hall and the development of urban popular entertainments in Glasgow. Michael Newton is Assistant Professor in Celtic Studies of St Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia. Widely published on Highland tradition and history in Scotland and North America, he edited Dùthchas nan Gaidheal: Selected Essays of John MacInnes, winner of the 2006 Saltire Society Research

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Book Award and wrote Warriors of the Word: The World of the Scottish Highlanders, nominated for the 2009 Katharine Briggs Award for folklore research. Trish Reid is Director of Studies in Dance and Drama at Kingston University. She has published studies of Anthony Neilson and the National Theatre of Scotland in Contemporary Theatre Review and is currently writing Theatre & Scotland for Palgrave’s ‘Theatre &’ series and on Neilson’s 1990s plays for the forthcoming Methuen series Decades of British Playwriting. Donald Smith is Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre, a poet and novelist. He chaired the National Theatre for Scotland Campaign Committee in the 1990s. His publications include Storytelling Scotland: A Nation in Narrative (2001) and God, The Poet and the Devil: Robert Burns and Religion (2008). Randall Stevenson is Professor of Twentieth-Century Literature at Edinburgh University. General editor of the Edinburgh History of TwentiethCentury Literature in Britain, he reviews theatre for Times Literary Supplement, The Independent and Radio Scotland and edited Scottish Theatre since the Seventies (1996) with Gavin Wallace, Twentieth-Century Scottish Drama: An Anthology (2001) with Cairns Craig, The Edinburgh Companion to TwentiethCentury Literatures in English with Brian McHale and The Oxford English Literary History vol. 12: 1960–2000 – The Last of England? (2004). Anne Varty is Reader in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture in the English Department at Royal Holloway University, London. She has published on Wilde and Victorian theatre. She also has strong research interests in contemporary culture and is editing The Edinburgh Companion to Liz Lochhead.

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Index

Adam, Henry, 192–4, 196, 199 Aeschylus, 99 Aikenhead, Thomas, 22, 40 Aitken, Sadie, 3, 127 Alexander, Sir William, 15–16 Allan, Esther, 157, 180 Anderson, Dave, 70, 71, 72, 178 Angeletti, Gioia, 38, 39 Anna of Denmark, 20 Anne, Queen, 27 Annexe Theatre, 157 Anouilh, Jean, 99 Ansell, Mary, 110, 112 Archer, William, 57–8, 107 Archibald, David, 195 Arden, John, 121 Aristophanes, 99, 127–8 Armstrong, Sue, 157 Arnott, Peter, 166, 172, 176, 191 The Boxer Benny Lynch, 87 McGrath’s Events while Guarding the Bofors Gun, 222n translations, 105 White Rose, 4, 69, 165, 166–8, 169, 222n Arts in Motion, 95 Arts Theatre Group, 141 Aston, Anthony, 1, 29–30 Auber, Daniel, 97 Baillie, Joanna, 40, 48–9, 55, 57, 219n Baillie, John/James, 36 Bain, Audrey, 154 Bakhtin, Mikhail, 3, 25, 81–2, 182 Bannister, Winifred, 132 Barrie, J. M., 4, 57, 58, 107–17, 118, 207 Bridie on, 130 radio broadcast, 202 Bass, Charles, 55–6 Baxter, Jamie Reid, 96 Baxter, Stanley, 61, 210 Baylis, Lilian, 4 Beaton, Alistair, 94

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Beattie, George, 52, 54–5 Beattie, Johnny, 201 Beckett, Samuel, 89 Bellamy, Mrs., 37 Bernhardt, Sarah, 97 Bett, John, 68 Billington, Michael, 149, 198 Binnie, John, 157 Bisson, Alexandre, 97 Blair, Hugh, 34, 35, 36 Blake, George, 107, 108–9 Boswell, James, 35–6, 96 Bouok, William, 24 Bowick, James, 55 Bowman, Martin, 100, 105 Boyd, Michael, 156 Boyd, Stephen, 183 Brandane, John, 5, 131 Brecht, Bertolt, 90, 101, 105, 145, 147 Brennan, Mary, 180, 181 Bridie, James, 3, 70, 123, 128–39, 207 Brill, Tot, 157 Brook, Peter, 190 Brown, Ian (director), 166 Brown, Ian (playwright and scholar) Greek classic adaptations, 99–100 Mary, 87 on 1970s and 1980s playwrights, 94 on Adam, 192 on Bridie, 139 on Conn, 144, 147 on Morgan, 148, 150 on Neilson, 197 Bryden, Bill, 5, 76, 87, 88 Buchan, Tom, 67 Buchanan, George, 2, 14–15, 16 Bunting, Lara Jane, 154, 157, 158 Burel, John, 14, 96 Burke, Gregory, 91, 93–4, 192, 194–6, 199, 208 Burns, Robert, 25, 54, 55–6, 101 Burson, Anne, 41 Butlin, Ron, 83

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ind ex Butterworth, Jez, 171 Byrne, John, 78, 87, 101, 208 Cameron, Alasdair, 37–8, 40, 158, 168 Campbell, Alexander, 45 Campbell, Donald, 3, 5, 29–30, 73, 79–81, 82, 198 Campbell, Janet, 42 Campbell, John F., 42 Campbell, Mrs. Patrick, 97 Carin, Victor, 98–9, 168 Carlyle, Alexander, 34, 35 Carlyle, Robert, 209 Carmichael, Alexander, 42 Carpenter, Sarah, 3 Carstair, [Christian], 38 Cathcart, Eleonore, Lady Houston, 35, 96 Catholic Church 7–9; see also Reformation, the Chekhov, Anton Pavlovich, 101, 210 Three Sisters, 99, 186 Church of Scotland, 19–21, 23–5, 34–5 opposition to drama, 1–2, 20, 24, 25, 26, 29–30, 35, 40 in Pitcairne’s The Assembly, 28 school drama, 20, 23–4 use of drama, 1, 6–7, 19, 24–5 see also Reformation, the Citizens’ Theatre, 206 All in Good Faith, 74, 125 Armstrong’s Last Goodnight, 121 Bridie and, 132–3, 134, 138 The Cheviot, 68 MacDonald and, 101–2 McLellan and, 133–4 The Old Lady Shows her Medals, 202 translations, 100, 101–2 Clark, Grace, 60 Clark, Ian, 34 Clark/Clerke, William, 26–7 clerk plays, 8–9 Clifford, Jo (John), 5, 165, 168–9, 172, 176, 191 closet drama, 38, 39, 40, 49, 50, 55, 96 Clyde Unity, 157 Cole, Penelope, 49 Coltrane, Robbie, 208, 209 Communicado, 123, 148 Conan Doyle, Arthur, 111 Conn, Stewart, 5, 76, 87, 140, 143–8, 153, 202 Connolly, Billy, 67 Cooper, Neil, 134, 135 Corneille, Pierre, 2, 15, 96 Corneille, Thomas, 35, 96 Corrie, Joe, 66, 70, 87, 118–20, 122, 123 Cousse, Raymond, 100 Coveney, Michael, 61, 196 Cox, Brian, 209 Craig, Bill, 202

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Craig, Cairns, 83, 191, 194, 199 Cranfield, Jules, 157 Crawford, David, 2, 28–9 Crawford, Robert, 182, 183 Cruz, Nilo, and Botello, Catalina, 92 Cullen, Mike, 88 Cumming, Alan, 100, 106, 187, 209 Curtain Theatre Company, 97 Czerkawska, Catherine Lucy, 154, 156 Daldry, Stephen, 139 Dalier Sylw, 99 dance drama, 41, 43–6 D’Artois, Armand, 96–7 Delisle, Jeanne-Mance, 100 Deslandes, Raymond, 97 Dibdin, Thom, 222n Docherty, Abigail, 222–3n Dolan, Chris, 92 Donald, Simon, 191 Douglas, Bill, 203 Douglas, Gavin, 96 Downie, Anne, 154, 158, 160 Dunbar, William, 14 Dundas, Henry, 40 Dunlop, Bill, 99 Duval, Alexandre, 48 Edinburgh Company of Players, 30, 31, 33 Edinburgh Repertory Theatre, 133 Elibank, Lord, 34, 35 Eliot, T. S., 75, 140 Elizabeth I, 13–14 Emslie, Gordon, 202 Erskine, Andrew, 36 Este, Thomas, 33–4 Euripides, 14, 99, 148, 186 Evans, Edith, 138 Evaristi, Marcella, 102, 154, 155–7, 161–2, 180 Farrell, Joseph, 101, 155 Fauchois, René, 98 Ferguson, Adam, 35 Fielding, Penny, 50 Findlay, Bill, 3, 126 on 7:84, 70 on Burel, 96 on Perry, 76 on Sydserf, 27 on translations, 100, 101 Scots Plays of the Seventies, 5 Stewart’s Men Should Weep, 124 translation work, 100, 105, 126, 179 Finlay, Alec, 60 Finlay, John, 54, 55, 56 Finlayson, John, 38

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Fisher, Mark, 194 Fleming, Tom, 126 Flett, Joan and Tom, 45 Fo, Dario, 100–1, 127 Focus Theatre Company, 157 folk drama, 1–2, 3, 12, 25, 26, 38, 41–6 Folorunso, Femi, 61, 72 Forsyth, Bill, 203 Foulis of Ravelston, Sir John, 27 Frame, W. F., 59 Franceschild, Donna, 156 Frank, Charles, 38 Fraser, John, 55 Freud, Sigmund, 183 Fry, Christopher, 75 Fukuyama, Francis, 88–9 Fulton, Rikki, 61 Fyffe, Alexander, 40 Fyffe, Will, 60 Gaelic language, 2, 5, 39, 41–6, 54, 95 Gallacher, Tom, 78 Galloway, Janice, 83 Galt, John, 37, 55 Garrick, David, 33, 34, 35 Gateway Theatre Company, 3, 98, 126, 127 Gay, John, 90 Gay Sweatshop, 143 Geddes, Patrick, 57, 119 Geduld, Harry, 107, 108 Gibbon, Lewis Grassic, 77, 82, 84, 90, 202 Gielgud, Val, 201 Gifford, Douglas, 146 Glasgow Repertory Theatre, 132, 133 Glasgow Unity Theatre, 62–6, 70, 74, 97–8, 100, 119, 123, 125 7:84 and, 67 Bridie and, 134, 135 Scots language, 63, 66, 74, 77, 79, 98, 123 Glenorchy, Lord, 35 Glover, Sue, 88, 154, 156, 158, 159, 160–1, 162–3 Gogol, Nicolay Vasilyevich, 101 Goldoni, Carlo, 98, 99, 101, 104, 127 Goldsmith, Pauline, 90 Gordon, Giles, 141 Gordon, Harry, 60 Gorki/Gorky, Maxim, 63, 98 Gosse, Sir Edmund, 97 Goya, Francisco, 183 Graham, H. G., 23 Gray, Alasdair, 82–3, 178, 187 Greek language, translations from, 14, 99–100, 105–6, 123, 127–8, 148, 186–7 Greenhorn, Stephen, 88, 175–6, 191, 208 Greig, David, 91, 173–5, 191, 196, 208 The Bacchae adaptation, 100, 105–6

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Caledonia Dreaming, 88 Europe, 173–5, 191 Suspect Culture and, 90, 196 Greig, Marjorie, 98 Grieve, Christopher see MacDiarmid, Hugh Guthrie, Tyrone, 4, 75, 127, 131 Halliday, Andrew, 58 Hamilton, Duke of, 34, 40 Hamilton, Newburgh, 2, 29 Hannan, Chris, 87, 94, 165, 169–71, 172, 176, 191 Hardie, Amy, 156 Hardie, Sean, 178 Harris, Zinnie, 91–2 Harrison, Ben, 189–90 Harriston, William, 55 Harrower, David, 91, 171–3, 191, 208 Harvie, Jennifer, 181 Hauptmann, Gerhart, 100 Havergal, Giles, 70, 101 Hawkins, Stephen, 90 Henryson, Robert, 14 Hitchcock, Alfred, 133 Hobsbaum, Philip, 178 Hogg, James, 55 Hogget, Stephen, 195 Holberg, Ludwig, 99 Holdsworth, Nadine, 191 Hollindale, Peter, 107 Hollinger, David, 189 Home, Rev. John, 34, 35 Douglas, 34, 35, 37, 48 Homer, 123 Hood, Stuart, 101 Houston, Lady see Cathcart, Eleonore, Lady Houston Howard, Philip, 156 Hume, David, 35 Hurley, Kieran, 94 Ibsen, Henrik, 98, 101 Archer and, 57–8 Barrie and, 110, 111, 112 Hedda Gabler, 97 The Master Builder, 210 Jackson, John, 34, 36, 37 James IV, 11, 12–13 James V, 12, 13, 17, 18 James VI, 12, 13, 15, 20–1, 29, 50, 77 in The Burning, 146–7 see also McLellan, Robert, Jamie the Saxt James VII, 22, 27, 28 Johnson, Dr, 31 Johnston, Annie, 42 Johnston, Henry Erskine, 38

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ind ex Jouvet, Louis, 98 Jung, Sandro, 32–3 Kames, Lord, 35 Kane, Sarah, 171, 196 Kay, Ada F., 154 Kay, Jackie, 140, 142–3 Keegan, Rose, 187 Kelly, Aaron, 83 Kelly, Cara, 171 Kelman, James, 83, 87, 178, 179, 207 Kemp, Robert, 70, 75, 80, 98, 126–8, 168, 179–80 Kesson, Jessie, 158 Killick, Jenny, 156, 165, 166, 168 Kinloch, David, 105 Kleist, Heinrich von, 99 Knowles, Fiona, 156 Knox, John, 7, 16 Kyllour, Friar, 16 Lacy, John, 29 Latin language, 2, 14, 23, 96 Lauder, Harry, 4, 60 Laverty, Paul, 208 Lean, Feri, 70 Legouvé, Ernest, 97 Lehmann, Hans-Thies, 89 Leonard, Tom, 76, 178, 179 Leslie, Charles, 26 Leslie, John, 24, 30, 31 Lichtenfels, Peter, 155, 156, 165 Lloyd-Evans, Gareth, 181 Loach, Ken, 208 Lochhead, Liz, 154, 177–87 Blood and Ice, 102, 155, 180–2 Dracula, 102, 181 Jock Tamson’s Bairns, 155, 185 Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, 87, 102, 181, 183, 185 on Citizens Theatre productions, 101–2 on Reformation and drama, 1 Scots language, 81, 179, 183, 184, 185, 186 Sugar and Spite, 102, 155, 156–7, 180 translations/adaptations by, 99, 102–3, 186: Chekhov’s Three Sisters, 99, 186; Educating Agnes, 98, 179–80, 185, 186; Greek plays, 99, 186–7; Miseryguts, 98, 103–4, 186; Patter Merchants, 185; Tartuffe, 80, 81, 101, 102, 185–6 Ure and, 142 Logan, James, The Scottish Gael, 43 Logan, James (Jimmy), 61 Lomax, Alan, 42 Lope de Vega, Felix, 9 Lorca, Federico García, 92, 98, 101, 106 Lorne, Tommy, 60

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Lowe, William, 58 Lumière brothers, 201 Lyndsay (Lindsay), Sir David, 17 Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis, 17–19, 74–5, 96, 126–7, 131 ‘flytings’, 14 on James IV, 12, 13 Lyotard, Francois, 89 McCartney, Nicola, 92, 222n MacColl, Ewan, 70, 87 MacDiarmid, Hugh, 79, 82, 119, 133–4 MacDonald, Father Allan, 44 Macdonald, Flora, 51 McDonald, Jan, 142, 157, 163, 181 Macdonald, Kelly, 209 MacDonald, Robert David, 101–3, 104, 106 Macdonald, Sharman, 154, 156, 157, 158, 159–60, 162 Macdonald, Stephen, 148 McDougall, Peter, 202 McGavin, John, 3, 6, 24, 26 Macgee, Paula, 156, 157 McGrath, John, 67–9, 71, 86–7, 221–2n The Cheviot, 67, 68, 69, 71, 79, 86, 89, 94, 102, 190 McGrath, Tom, 4, 5, 67, 202 McGregor, Ewan, 209 Mackail, Denis, 110 Mackay, Charles, 53–4 Mackenzie, Donald, 40 Mackenzie, Henry, 36 McKidd, Kevin, 209 Maclaren, Archibald, 39–40, 54, 57, 219n McLaren, Graham, 179, 182, 186 McLeish, Robert, The Gorbals Story, 63–6, 74, 123 McLellan, Robert, 70, 75, 98, 120–2 Jamie the Saxt, 74, 76, 79, 120–1, 133–4 The Flouers o’ Edinburgh, 120, 134 MacLennan, David (Dave), 70–1, 178 Maclennan, Dolina, 68 MacLennan, Elizabeth and David, 222n Macleod, Fiona, 57, 219n McLeod, Michelle, 5 MacMillan, Hector, 5, 76, 78, 87, 88, 98, 202 McMillan, Joyce, 154, 166, 194, 222n McMillan, Roddy, 5, 73–4, 76–7, 123 All in Good Faith, 74, 125, 128 The Bevellers, 73–4, 76, 78, 79–80, 81, 125 MacNeacail, Aonghas, 178 McNeill, A. D., 57 McNiven, David, 71 McQuarrie, Stuart, 198 Macrae, Duncan, 46, 61, 97, 98, 120 Maley, John and Willy, 87, 88

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Mallet/Malloch, David, 31–2, 33 Mambro, Ann Marie Di, 154, 156, 157, 158–9, 161, 162, 208 Mar(i)shall, Jean, 36, 38–9 Marra, Michael, 187 Martin, Pete, 60 Mary of Guise, 16, 17, 18, 19 Mary, Queen of Scots, 13–14, 15, 16, 18 Masque Theatre Company, 131 Massey, Doreen, 157, 160 Masson, David, 109–10, 113, 114–15 Matcham, Frank, 206 Mavor, Osborne Henry see Bridie, James Maxwell, Douglas, 92, 188–90, 192, 199 Medieval Players, The, 148 Melville, Herman, 148 Miller, Arthur, 140–1, 146, 153 Milne, Drew, 86 Milne, Lennox, 126 Milton, Lord, 35 Mitchell, Robert, 62, 63, 98 Moffatt, Graham, 5 Molière Kemp’s translations, 75, 80, 98, 127, 179–80 Lochhead’s translations/adaptations, 99: Educating Agnes, 98, 179–80, 185, 186; Miseryguts, 98, 103–4, 186; Patter Merchants, 185; Tartuffe, 80, 81, 101, 102, 185–6 Scottish performers and, 4 Sydserf influenced by, 27 Tartuffe, 80, 81, 97, 101, 102, 185–6 translations/adaptations of, 97, 98, 99, 101, 104, 121, 127 Monboddo, Lord, 35 Montaigne, Michel de, 14 Montgomerie, Alexander, 13 Morgan, Edwin, 140, 148–53 Cyrano de Bergerac version, 105, 148, 149–50 Lochhead and, 178, 179 on Bridie, 139 on folk drama, 3, 25, 26 on Scottish drama, 74, 82 on Wildcat, 71 Phaedra, 99, 148 Morgan, Tommy, 60 Mother Hen Theatre Company, 157 MsFits, 156 Mulgrew, Gerry, 150 Mulrine, Stephen, 100 Munro, George, 63, 70, 74, 123, 125–6 Munro, Rona, 154, 156, 163, 208 Bold Girls, 162 Fugue, 156, 157–8, 162 The House of Bernarda Alba, 92, 106 The Last Witch, 92, 158 The Maiden Stone, 161, 162–3

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radio drama, 202 Your Turn to Clean the Stair, 156, 159, 162 Murray, Colin, 60 Murray, W. H., 51, 52, 53 Nairn, Tom, 188 National Drama, 2–3, 4, 47–59, 80, 132 National Theatre of Scotland, 94, 194, 205, 206, 207 The Bacchae, 100, 105–6 Black Watch, 194, 196 Elizabeth Gordon Quinn, 170–1 Neilson and, 197 translations/adaptations for, 92, 100, 105–6 Neilson, Anthony, 171, 191, 192, 196–9 Nicholson, Colin, 144, 148, 150 Nightingale, Benedict, 149 Nippy Sweeties, 157 Norton, Alex, 68, 100–1 O’Casey, Sean, 63, 98, 140 O’Hagan, Andrew, 61 Oliver, Cordelia, 97–8, 102, 180, 181 Olivier, Laurence, 210 Ord, Mr., 53 Owen, Lloyd, 187 Parr, Chris, 155 Paterson, Bill, 68, 209 Paterson, Lyndsay, 191, 194 Paterson, Stuart, 5, 191 Pavis, Patrice, 89 Peacock, Noel, 4 Pennant, Thomas, 43 Perry, Clive, 76, 79 Petrushevskaya, Ludmilla, 100 Philotus, 15, 96 Pirandello, Luigi, 101, 104 Pitcairne, Archibald, 23, 28 Plath, Sylvia, 141 Pocock, Isaac, 52 Pow, Tom, 177, 180 Prescott, David, 197 Prospect Theatre Company, 99 Prowse, Philip, 101 Racine, Jean, 2, 15, 99, 101 Ramsay, Allan, 3, 30–1 Aston and, 1, 29, 30 Carrubers Close theatre, 33 The Gentle Shepherd, 24, 30–1, 37, 40, 48 Leslie and, 24, 30 political and religious stance, 23 Rankin, Ian, 203, 206 Ravenhill, Mark, 171, 175, 196 Rayner, Patrick, 202 Redmond, Siobhan, 106, 209

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ind ex Reekie, Tony, 5 Reeling and Writhing, 90 Reformation, the, 1–2, 3, 4, 7, 19, 23; see also Church of Scotland Reid, Alexander, 70, 75, 79, 80, 122–3 Reid Gouns, The, 99 Reith, Lord, 76 Richardson, Ian, 209 Richardson, Ralph, 132 Rickson, Ian, 171 Ritchie, Aileen, 154, 157, 158 Ritchie, Crae, 141 Robertson, William, 34, 35 Roëves, Maurice, 208 Roman Catholic Church, 7–9; see also Reformation, the Roper, Tony, 72, 87 Rose, Anneika, 179 Rose, Jacqueline, 108 Rostand, Edmond de, 105, 148, 149 Ruffell, Ian, 100, 106 rural drama, 2, 24, 26, 40 Russell, Willy, 98 Ryder, Corbet, 50, 52, 53 Sanchis Sinisterra, José, 92 Schiller, Johann, 48, 101, 102 Schlink, Bernard, 92 school drama, 1, 20, 23–4, 26, 31, 38, 40 Scott, Alexander, 11, 14 Scott, Benedick, 63, 65–6, 98, 123, 125 Scott, Clement, 112 Scott, Sir Walter, 48, 49–51, 53–4, 55, 58, 92 Rob Roy, 50, 52–3, 201, 202 The Antiquary, 42 Scottish National Players, 98, 119, 130, 131, 132 Scottish Theatre Company, 128 Scribe, Augustin Eugène, 97 Scullion, Adrienne, 3 on 1980s drama, 191 on Crawford, 28–9 on Hume’s Douglas, 35 on Lady Houston, 96 on Neilson, 197 on Ramsay’s The Gentle Shepherd, 30 on regional theatre, 37 on theatre studies, 70 on Thomson’s Sophonisba, 31 on Trotter, 28 on Wilson’s ‘The Spouter’, 37 7:84 Theatre Company (England), 67, 86, 221n 7:84 Theatre Company (Scotland), 67–70, 72, 86–7, 165–6, 171, 190 The Cheviot, 67, 68, 86, 190 Clydebuilt season, 67, 69–70, 87, 124, 158 foundation, 67, 221–2n The Letter Box, 158–9

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Men Should Weep, 66, 87, 124, 158 Wildcat and, 70–1 Shakespeare, William, 2, 58 A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 13 Barrie and, 109–10, 113, 114–15 Clifford and, 168 compressed versions of plays, 54 Hamlet, 57, 141, 142 King Richard the Third, 34 Macbeth, 29, 48, 55, 56, 91 Sharp, William, 57, 219n Shaw, Bernard, 43, 114, 116, 132 Shelley, Mary, 147, 181, 182, 183, 187 Shepphard, Nona, 143 Sher, Richard B., 34 Siddons, Sarah, 35 Sidney, Sir Philip, 14 Silver, R. S., 75 Sinclair, Sir John, 43 Small, Christopher, 140 Smith, Adam, 43 Smith, Alexander McCall, 207 Smith, Ali, 152 Smith, Alison, 177 Smith, Elaine C., 72 Smith, Stevie, 141 Smith, Sydney Goodsir, 75, 128 Smollett, Tobias, 31, 33 Smout, T. C., 86 Sophocles, 99 Sorensen, Janet, 25–6 Spark, Muriel, 188 Spencer, Charles, 198 Stage Company (Scotland), 141 Stayley, George, 36 Steel, Judy, 92 Stein, Peter, 210 Stevenson, R. L., 58, 202 Stevenson, Randall, 72, 123, 134, 190 Stewart, Alexander, 45 Stewart, Ena Lamont, 98, 123–4, 154 Bridie and, 134–5 Men Should Weep, 63, 64, 65, 66, 70, 74, 123–4, 134–5: Clydebuilt season, 66, 87, 124, 158 Stewart, Sophie, 132 Stokes, Simon, 197 Stott, Antonia Sansica, 98 Strathclyde Theatre Group, 157 street drama, 2, 26 Suspect Culture, 90, 190, 196 Švankmajer, Jan, 90 Sydserf, Thomas, 27, 28 Taylor, Brian, 177 Taylor, C. P., 5 Tennant, Emma, 182

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Theatre Alba, 123 Theatre Babel, 92, 98, 99, 186 Theatre Centre, 143 Theatre Cryptic, 190 Theatre Hebrides, 95 Third Eye Centre, 4 Thompson, E. P., 86 Thompson, Emma, 208 Thomson, Elizabeth Clark see Ure, Joan Thomson, James, 31, 32–3 Tiffany, John, 176, 194, 208 Tobin, Terence on 18th-century playwrights, 28 on closet plays, 39 on Mackenzie, 36 on Maclaren, Archibald, 39 on Mar(i)shall, 38 on Ramsay, 30, 31 on Thomson, 31, 32 Todd, Margo, 1, 6–7, 24–5 Toole, J. L., 109, 110, 112 Torrington, Jeff, 178 Tosg (theatre company), 95 Townley, James, 34 translations, 75, 80, 81, 95–106, 121, 127–8 Bowman and Findlay’s, 100, 105, 126, 179 Buchanan’s, 14 Kemp’s, 75, 80, 98, 127, 168, 179–80 Lochhead’s, 102–3, 186: Chekhov’s Three Sisters, 99, 186; Greek plays, 99, 186–7; Molière, 80, 81, 98, 99, 101, 102, 103–4, 179–80, 185–6 Morgan, 148 for National Theatre of Scotland, 92, 100, 105–6 see also Molière Traverse Theatre, 89, 165–76, 206, 207 Adam’s work, 194 international links, 190 The Jesuit, 73 opening, 75 performance styles, 163 playtext publication, 4, 157 The Slab Boys, 78 translations, 100 women playwrights, 155–6, 180–1 Tree, Sir Herbert Beerbohm, 116

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Tremblay, Michel, 100, 104, 126 Triesman, Susan, 154, 157, 162 Tron Theatre, 156, 197, 206 Trott, Harry, 70 Trotter, Catherine, 2, 28, 29 Tudor, Margaret, 11–12 Tynan, Kenneth, 209 Unity see Clyde Unity; Glasgow Unity Theatre Ure, Joan, 140, 141–2, 154, 162, 163 Vanbrugh, Sir John, 24 Vanishing Point, 90 Varty, Anne, 180–1 Venuti, Lawrence, 104, 105 Wallace, Gavin, 83–4, 190 Walpole, Horace, 49 Walpole, Hugh, 117 Ward, Sarah, 35 Wareing, Alfred, 133 Warren, Ernest, 97 Watson, Marriott, 111 Watson, Moray, 5 Weber, Carl von, 97 Wedderburn, James, 16 Weill, Kurt, 90 Welsh, Irvine, 83 White, Betsy, 160 Wildcat Stage Productions, 70–2, 165 Wilkes, Jenny, 187 Williams, Emlyn, 98 Willis, Dave, 60 Wilson, Alexander, 37, 58–9 Wilson, John, 36 Wilson, Richard, 208 Wishart, George, 8 Wood, John, 39 Woolf, Virginia, 141 Yeats, W. B., 57, 78 York, Duke of see James VII Young, Douglas, 99, 127–8 Young, Toby, 196 Zajac, Matthew, 93

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