All the mince in the west end

I am not a theater lover. I won’t normally go willingly to see a play. I have fallen asleep at some top rated events, and snored my way through some much loved (by others) musicals. But there was one play that was deeply significant in my life. It inspired me to find out more. It intrigued me with its style of presentation and its arguments. It toyed with my emotions as no stage production ever had – or would again. And it burned itself on my consciousness, never to be forgotten:

John McGrath‘s The Cheviot, the Stag, and the Black, Black oil.

It was a play that sent shockwaves through society. Arguably, it marked the rebirth of Scottish Nationalism as a political reality. It revitalized theater (for those who like that sort of thing) and gave vested, comfortable interests a kick up the backside. It challenged the status quo. It challenged the affected to do something. It was a political and social catalyst.

Check out this post at Bella Caledonia. I especially enjoyed this:

Here’s what theatre writer and director Davey Anderson said about the play.

“I saw the Cheviot on my honeymoon. It was October 1973, we’d got married in my home town, Rutherglen, and decided to take a road-movie holiday, hippies that we were …

“First stop Kyleakin, Skye. The gig – Kyleaking Village Hall. The Audience – the good people of Skye. The Performers – a bunch of folk who didn’t seem ready: five minutes to go and they were still setting costumes, tuning instruments and blethering with each other and the audience.

“Where were the curtains, the hushed reverence, the dinner jackets, the blue rinses?

“… That night in a community hall in Skye proved to me that theatre was far from dead, as I has assumed it to be.

“All the mince in the West End, where the actors couldn’t even be arsed acknowledging the presence of the audience was forgotten. Here was theatre that spoke to you about your life, the important things, the daft things, the things that give you joy and the things you can change. The company were startling in their energy, anarchic versatility and joyous commitment.”

Glorious. And, yes, very appropriate in the light of the forthcoming independence referendum. I won’t be voting, but I haven’t stopped caring.

Share: