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, 26 May 2012

Angus and the Dragon!

One of the more complex puppet jobs for Angus - Weaver of Grass, something that Alison Duddle is working on with Christina's help, is carving and assembling puppets based loosely on Sicilian marionettes. This is for a section of the show relating to Angus leaving Uist for war; it was the last time he was seen on the island before being returned as an invalid, with unspecified mental health problems. 

It's the beginning of a section of Angus's life that we know almost nothing about, and it heralds what must have been, for him, the traumatic period that eventually led to his breakdown. Because of the lack of information, among other things, I've chosen to represent this whole period at a kind of remove - giving it an archaic feel both formally as well as in the storyline. The going off to war puts me in mind of a tourney, a word incidentally I've always loved because not only does it mean 'taking part in a tournament', but because it sounds (and looks) so like 'journey' - and both of these things Angus surely undertook at this point in his life.

In particular I'm reminded of the anonymous pre-Shakespearean Tom O'Bedlam

....By a knight of ghostes and shadowes
I summon'd am to tourney
Ten leagues beyond the wild world's end.
Methinks it is no journey.

A wonderful lyric poem and allegorical journey that also inspired Kenneth Patchen's Journal of Albion Moonlight.

Above the photographs show Alison assembling the Dragon, which has yet to have its wings fitted, and the head of Angus as a Knight, with the armour that Christina has been making and fitting to the carved wood. 

1 comment:

  1. thank you for another process piece. the making is fascinating.