News Column

Bite-size dramas bring news stories straight to the bar

August 21, 2014

neil cooper; neil cooper

Theatre Uncut

Traverse Theatre

REVOLUTIONS don't often start on Monday mornings.

For the last three Mondays, however, Theatre Uncut has suggested otherwise in a series of lo-fi presentations of relatively hot-off- the-press bite-size playlets in response to burning issues of the moment.

Founded in 2010 by directors Emma Callander and Hannah Price as an open access style operation in response to the Westminster Government's cut-driven austerity culture, Theatre Uncut has become an annual fixture of the Traverse bar, where their three programmes were presented as script-in-hand works in progress.

This year's first session featured five new works, including Anders Lustgarten's The Finger of God, which sees what happens when the National Lottery is sexed up to extreme proportions; and Inua Ellams This is Us, in which direct action against the bedroom tax is the only solution.

It is a timely co-opting of someone else's words that made Hayley Squires' piece, Ira Provitt and the Man, so special, closing as it did with Charlie Chaplin's rousing plea for humanity and justice in his film The Great Dictator.

It is a powerful and increasingly pertinent way to close.

The forthcoming Scottish referendum has been pretty hard to avoid on this year's Fringe, and Theatre Uncut's response came in the form of six very different plays. The absurdity of Lewis Hetherington's The White Lightning and the Black Stag, in which a woman is questioned exactly how Scottish she feels, is heightened even more in AJ Taudevin's The 12.57.

Here border guards in Berwick upon Tweed keep an eye on the trains with an increasing pointlessness.

Davy Anderson's two monologues see the referendum through the cynical non-voters who will decide the referendum's result, Kieran Hurley's Close is its weary hangover, and Rob Drummond's Party Pieces asks who, given the chance, will sing up in their own voice.

The final Theatre Uncut programme featured work by writers from Turkey and Scotland responding to the wave of protests in and around Istanbul'sGezi Park. Performed by actors from the Turkish theatre company, DOT Tiyatro alongside Theatre Uncut regulars, the programme looked at how young people can be politicised by police brutality, how news of the protest is disseminated, and the very real threat of dissent being crushed without discrimination.

This is a powerful insight into a situation rarely heard about in any form on these shores, and is perhaps the most telling example of why Theatre Uncut remains such a vital platform for writers.


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Source: Herald, The (Scotland)


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