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....

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Work begins..

Images from Deep Time Cabaret 2008

Work on Angus started last week; though slowly. Alison and I found two half-days to talk about the script, and Esther is in Scotland, starting to talk about a tour of the show. Next week we'll clear out our workshop and start for real - making a space for a stage area, and beginning perhaps to make puppets and masks.

We spent a lot of the time talking about the set; about how it might work; its feel and its look. I brought in a book about the work of Anselm Kiefer, the German painter whose work I admire. I hope that the set will have the feel of some of his work - the worn, tired but not exhausted look of it. In particular it'll be about how the films will work projected onto the stage cloths. Not using pristine and taut sheets, but slightly tainted and knocked around fabric, combined with rich black and white film. It emerged from our discussions that the design should use colour carefully, placing occasional rich textures against a general muted monochrome, and using straw or grasses among muds and dust as a playing floor.

One of our starting points is the set for 'Deep Time Cabaret', a show that we developed for touring in 2008. The subject and approach will be very different, but there is something about the organic way the DTC set (above) developed - the mixture of simple forms, rough fabric drapes, and projections, that will be similar to the Angus work. We will also use suspended lamps, hand-held cameras and levels within the stage that can be easily transformed by the cast. 

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