Saturday, 23 November 2013

Home at The Oran Mor

Previous production from PPP
Being the champion of the experimental, the painfully hip and the downright challenging, I'd like to disrespect Oran Mor's Play, Pie and a Pint. Now that I have found out that the theatre which has inspired me over the past decade has a category (it's called post-dramatic), I am all set to attack the very idea that a script is the foundation of theatre.

Unfortunately, I can't argue PPP. It offers a new play every week, pretty much, and has had plenty of shows move onto bigger tours. It has given Scotland new works by David Harrower and Rona Munro. It even hosted a few of my own post-dramatic heroes (Monfrooe, McNair). It's a good thing. I have to silence my angst-ridden post-modern trickiness, and salute the audience - loyal - the producers - persistent -  and the artistic director - the best Omar Sharif impersonator north of Manchester.

The following press release is another example of why PPP  is a good thing. It arrived from Edinburgh University.

 Writing student takes centre stage, with a pie and pint on the side

A playwriting student has won a new prize to have her work performed as part of a popular lunchtime theatre programme. Jenny Knotts from the University of Edinburgh has been awarded the inaugural David MacLennan Prize for her play, Home. It will be showcased in Glasgow theatre Oran Mor’s long-standing series, A Play, a Pie and a Pint.

Jenny’s winning piece is a comedy tinged with sadness, centring on twin sisters Maggie and Agnes’ last day in a house that has been their home for decades. Maggie suffers from Alzheimer’s and Agnes uses a wheelchair.The twins are from Ireland and their voices are inspired by Jenny’s own grandmother.

I am restraining myself from suggesting that the characters were inspired by Oran Mor's audience. 

Jenny was moved to write Home after watching a documentary about the care of elderly people in Scotland. Jenny said: “Winning the David MacLennan Prize is a dream come true – I have been going to see plays at Oran Mor for years and know how important it is to the Scottish theatre scene. I think it is so generous of them to support a new writer like myself with a fully commissioned play, and I can’t wait to see where this takes me.”

David MacLennan is an acclaimed Artistic Director at Oran Mor who champions new writing – producing more than 30 weeks of new plays every year. He initiated the new award exclusively with the University of Edinburgh, offering Postgraduate students in Playwriting the opportunity to have their work performed as part the renowned theatre series.

I am hoping that MacLennan has a look round the corner of Byres Road later this year: there are a bunch of immensely talented playwrights up at Glasgow this year, on the Playwriting and Dramaturgy course. I've heard a rumour that one of the writers has written a twenty minute tragedy called 'Trigger Warning.'

David said: “We are delighted to produce Home at Oran Mor – Jenny’s distinctive voice is unlike any I have heard before and I think our audiences will really enjoy it. The calibre of the students’ writing was incredibly high this year and it was a challenge to choose a winner. Moreover, the partnership with the University has been a success and we hope it continues.”

Jenny is a student on the University of Edinburgh’s MSc in Playwriting, led by award-winning playwright Nicola McCartney. The programme aims to give its students real experience in Scotland’s theatre scene.

Jenny Knott’s Home will be performed in Oran Mor at 1pm from 25-30 November. Tickets can be purchased here:

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