ANGUS MCPHEE - Weaver of Grass

ANGUS MCPHEE or MACPHEE was a crofter from Uist who spent almost 50 years in a Highland psychiatric hospital. During this time he chose not to speak - instead he wove a series of incredible costumes out of grass. These he hung on trees in the hospital grounds.

This blog follows the progress of HORSE + BAMBOO THEATRE as they develop and tour a show about Angus....

Monday, 11 October 2010

Feel the draft

Esther phoned me on Friday. She wanted to confirm that I was happy for her to take the draft script along to Inverness today in order to show anyone who might want to look at it. Presumably so they could get a sense of the general drift of the production. Sure, I said - meanwhile pointing out that my own version has already been modified. 

At this time the script is simply a draft. It's there so other people who may get involved with the production, whether artistically or organisationally, can get a feel of how it might be. So what we have now is no more than a general approach to telling a story. It combines a narrative about Angus McPhee with stage directions, such as whether a scene is accompanied by film, or whether the scene is played using masks or puppets, and where I see songs being placed amongst the action. 

The script tells a broadly sequential story of Angus's life. It's held together by narratives told as if by 'Joyce' - Joyce Laing, that is, and using her book 'Weaver of Grass' as a guide. Film is used to suggest some of the textures of the islands, and there are puppetry interludes that broaden the context to include Scottish and Celtic stories and histories. As I've mentioned there is also a thread of song. Probably largely Gaelic song.

In a way I've tried to write a script as a kind of analogy to a piece of work by Angus himself. To weave together threads of material that make connection with one another. To, in the end, create a complete artifact that says something about the man himself and his life, the place he came from (and goes back to), the historical and social circumstances of the time, and finally the cultural context of the whole. 

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