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, 21 May 2011

Angus and the 5 minute film

Today was a long and rather fulfilling day. From the successes and uncertainties of yesterday we put together a sequence of performed sections and music that had a kind of internal logic and balance. The NTS film had to be no more than 5 minutes long, and our first run was well over 7 minutes. We then chipped away at it - clipping the narrations; cutting parts of the performance; curtailing film sections; and generally making things flow more easily. Soon we were down to 6 minutes; then 5'30", and then 5'20"...and so on until we hit 5 minutes exactly. We found we could repeat this run after run - and so the 5 minutes version of 'Angus' was born. 

We then put on two 6 o'clock shows to a small invited audience, but also an unexpected 2.30pm run when three visitors turned up at the community hall to shelter from a squall. Turned out one worked for the National Theatre (of England)! Tea was brewed and all went very well and each of the shows were duly recorded on film. 

But we also had to discuss and brainstorm several problematic parts of the show; take publicity shots (see a selection above); test focal length for projections and finally dismantle the set and pack everything away so the hall was clean and shiny for tomorrow's Berneray Youth Club session.

The evening was rounded off by a group trip to Tigh Dearg for a great meal for all eleven of us. Many, many thanks to Chris, Mary, Joanne, Joe, Alison, Loz, Jonny, Christina for making this expedition so effective, and such fun; not to forget young Joseph for the terrible jokes and Nicky for grimacing at them. 

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