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....

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Getting Myself Prepared Day

Today is a Getting Myself Prepared Day for our visit to Uist and Berneray next week.   


Loz and I will be driving up on Thursday - Loz to meet Anna-Wendy Stevenson and talk with other local musicians; myself to work with Chris Spears on putting together a rough stage-set for later the following week when Joanne B Kaar, plus Alison (with Christina and Jonny) arrive. Together we'll spend a couple of days workshopping ideas for the show - and putting together a 5-minute performance for the National Theatre of Scotland film.

There's going to be a lot of improvisation involved in the couple of days we have together in Berneray Community Hall. We'll be taking up a number of masks, puppets and films to play around with. Chris has told me we'll have 4 x 500w lamps, a rack and dimmer board available. He also pointed out (memories of our horse-drawn days flood back) that the hall has a domestic-type 13amp power circuit and we won't be able to draw much more power than this (plus sound and video) in any case. He has a simple but decent CD player we can use too, while Christina will bring projectors, a Mac with Q-lab, and film equipment that we'll need to operate the technical equipment. 

Joanne will (possibly) improvise some grass shadow puppets once we meet up on the island. I'm really looking forward to meeting Joanne, who has thrown herself into this work despite never have met me - come to think of it we've never even spoken on the phone; everything has been done through email.

In addition to the workshopping and rehearsing, there are publicity shots to be taken for future marketing of the show, and material to gather in order to provide content for animations and film-work to be used in the show, as well as recording material for the soundtrack of the production. On our return journey we'll be making a diversion to Fife, where we'll record Joyce Laing reading extracts from her book 'Weaver of Grass'.

Above is a horse-in-the-making, a puppet Alison is trying to get ready for the trip, and at the top two of the Angus masks that have been brought to a further stage of their painting.

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