Our May started at The Traverse, with a work-in-progress from InMotion, Lily
. It was a haunting piece in their signature style of poetic realism. A play with songs, it told the story of missing teenager Lily, and the impact on those left wondering.
Then we were at a showcase for a new production of The Scarlet Pimpernel.
A romping historical adventure, starring the world's first superhero with a secret identity. It's a great night out and we hope to see the full version on a stage soon.
We had a great night of spoken word at the Flying Duck with JB Barrington and Friends
. Organised by Derek Steel of Razur Cuts this was a terrific line up of poets and writers, both local and from the north of England. First up was Dickson Telfer
with some amusing stories of social media. Stephen Watt
is a regular on the spoken word scene and it's easy to see why he appears on numerous bills with some entertaining poems and engaging between poem chat. David Ross
read from his latest novel Welcome to the Heady Heights
, while providing a few primers in between. The star of the show for me was Jim Higo
. He paced the stage with boundless energy, interspersing his engaging poems with hilarious rants. SAST's own Chris McQueer was the penultimate act, delivering his usual easy going style of storytelling. We were more excited though by getting to look after his dog Timmy while Chris was on stage. JB Barrington
strolled his headline set saving his classic Sunglasses for last. Derek and Razur Cuts
deserves much credit for putting the bill together, and it was a night that certainly deserved a much bigger audience, although everyone who turned out had a great night.
In The Mistress Contract
at The Tron a Californian couple spent thirty years taping conversations about their sex lives. It was low on drama but high on human interest. Were they widening their horizons with thier new self-awareness or were they victims of extreme navel-gazing, trapping themselves in words when they should be lost in sensuality?
The West Dunbartonshire Booked Festival is a wonderful entry in the literature calendar. All the talks are free and there's always an excellent line up. First we saw Alan Parks
discussing his books
Bloody January and February's Son. Both are set in 70s Glasgow and part of a planned 12 book series. Alan was very humble about his writing success and talked about how the inspiration for the books lay in being taken into Glasgow shopping by his mother when he was a young boy.
The first of a double header at Dumbarton Library was Madeline Bunting
, who spoke about her novel Island Song
. The book is set in German-occupied Guernsey in 1940. It was borne out of her research for her 1995 non-fiction book The Model Occupation. It was a fascinating hour as she spoke about the era.
The second event at Dumbarton saw Wendy Erskine
read from her short story collection, Sweet Home, recently long listed for the Gordon Burn Prize
. She spoke about her writing and how she put together her collection over the course of a year.
American author James Ellroy
was at St Luke's in the Gallowgate to read from and talk about his latest book This Storm
. He has a unique style as a reader and a refreshing candour as a speaker. Some snippets we noted - On writing about historical events and characters: "I make a lot of this shit up." On Orson Welles: "A doofus's idea of a genius." On the characters in his books: "You're trying to tell the truth about human beings, the karmic consequences of immoral acts." When asked why the public perception of him doesn't always chime with the content of his books: "You can't make a woman love you if they're not that way inclined. No matter how hard you try." He was interviewed recently in The Guardian
We were at another work-in-progress, the first act of, Arketype by Andy Edwards
, at The Tron. A retelling of the story of Noah, after a climate change induced flood, with an unhappy family working out their problems in the few dry corners they have left. We're looking forward to seeing how it ends.
Then we went to San Diego by David Greig, performed by the students at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. A sprawling, dream-like epic about belonging and ritual in a nondescript town devoid of either, it had some stand-out performances and great energy.
And lastly we went to a new sci-fi play, Unconventional
, at Websters by new writer and director Matthew Barton from Bickering Theatre. It's refreshing to have a new play in a mainstream genre that theatre doesn't usually touch. It 's mostly a homage to Doctor Who with nods to Terry Pratchett, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Futurama, held together by the brilliantly puppyish Kristy Pickering as the time travelling Baz.