... with the theatrical
equivalent of a Proclaimers gig!
Tryst to revive John McGrath’s The Cheviot,
The Stag and The Black, Black Oil.
Falkirk's Tryst Theatre celebrate their fortieth anniversary
this year...and the play they’ve chosen to highlight
this milestone comes from the same decade they were
Premiered in 1973 by the 7:84 Theatre Company, John
McGrath’s The Cheviot, The Stag and The
Black, Black Oil is an epic, angry and innovative
account of the exploitation of the Scottish people.
In its day the play revitalised theatre. It’s
a vivid, passionate Scottish history lesson about a
subject that’s often swept under the carpet –
the Highland Clearances.
Writer and critic Joyce McMillan said it’s arguably
the single most important show in the whole history
of Scottish theatre.
Described as “a ceilidh play”, it tells
the story of how Scottish people have been consistently
dispossessed since the eighteenth century. By mixing
elements of farce, satire, poetry, pantomime, music
hall, Gaelic song, country and western and dance, the
play is far more fun than its serious subject matter
One critic said it’s the rousing theatrical equivalent
of a Proclaimers gig!
The 7:84 name comes from a 1960s statistic that pointed
out only seven per cent of the UK’s population
owned eighty-four per cent of its wealth. So McGrath’s
clear aim was to stage radical, popular theatre with
a strong political message.
Tryst Director Jim Allan said: “We’re delighted
to celebrate our fortieth anniversary with this great
play that gets standing ovations everywhere it goes.
“Its central theme is control of Scotland’s
natural resources and it remains as relevant today as
it did over forty years ago.
“Simultaneously surreal, hilarious and deeply
moving, it’s a fantastic piece of agit-prop theatre
which covers two hundred years in two hours, taking
us from the forced emigration of rural Highlanders via
the stag-hunting upper classes to the mad rush for oil
in the North Sea.
“McGrath wanted to offer a good night out to
people who don’t usually go to the theatre and
he succeeded brilliantly, presenting the story in an
accessible and entertaining way.”
Tryst Chairman Frank Murray added: “There’s
a nice local connection, as one of the first performances
of 7:84’s play was in Falkirk’s old Callendar
Park College of Education in 1973. So Falkirk’s
getting another chance to see it forty-five years on!”
Tryst’s fourteen-strong cast will be joined on-stage
by local historian and musician Ian Scott plus fellow
musicians Peter Davie and Robin Duncan.
Tryst’s The Cheviot, The Stag and The
Black, Black Oil will be staged in Falkirk
Town Hall’s Studio Theatre on Friday 26, Saturday
27 and Sunday 28 October at 7.30pm. Tickets, £12,
are available now from www.ticketsource.co.uk/trysttheatre