Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Fuaigh - Dramaturgy: Rona MacDonald @ Edfringe 2017

Fuaigh, written by Rona MacDonald will be showing at SSC during the Edinburgh Fringe on 17 and 21 August at 3pm. 

Using song, story, imagery and dance, Fuaigh – Interweaving looks at the consequences of losing words, land and language and being forced to the edge. 

Fuaigh starts at a ceilidh on the Hebridean island of South Uist, leaves for the big city of Glasgow and comes back again; Performed in Gaelic and English, and exploring the stories of  celebration of the spirit of belonging, leaving and returning to home.

Originally commissioned and presented in 2016 as part of Home/Away, the National Theatre of Scotland’s international festival of participatory arts, Fuaigh- Interweaving is an exciting new Gaelic ceilidh theatre experience, exploring the tensions between Gaelic life on the islands and the cities and the quest to preserve cultural ties. 

The show was devised collaboratively by a core artistic team made up of acclaimed singer and musician Gillebride McMillan, South Uist-born playwright, poet and writer Rona MacDonald, visual artist and photographer Judith Parrott and director and writer John Binnie. 

Answers from author Rona MacDonald 

What was the inspiration for this performance?

We are in such a rush to make progress, for progress sake, to move forward - that in that process we can lose meaning and value.  Stories, hidden histories and the names of places are lost, cultural significance is diluted and neglected – and in our English-centric world we forget the nuances and subtlety of language, the Gaelic Language in this case.  What gets lost in our hurry to be homogeneous.

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

I believe that performance, all art, can be an agent for change, and it’s the best platform to touch people on a different level to political persuasion and social agendas.  If done well, it reaches deeper, in a profound and emotional way and this is far more important and life changing than any other medium. 

How did you become interested in making performance?  

I come from a family of singers, storytellers and pipers from the island of South Uist, but from an early age I’ve been writing poetry.   For a few years I’ve been writing in different forms and I am interested in theatre and was driven to bring to life some of these stories I’d been writing.  It was a natural medium for me as I’m a theatre producer by day.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

I come from a community of non-theatre goers, but who have little experience of seeing themselves, their identity, on the stage.  We wanted to bring the performance to the floor, to the level of the audience, and a well-liked and recognisable format is the ceilidh.  Very often in Gaelic culture you will have a main stage with a big name and a passive audience in that experience.  We wanted to involve the audience in the experience of coming together, to be part of the story.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

This is our first performance as a collective – though we all have experience in different fields

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Connection, understanding and they will feel part of this event, an equal member of the ceilidh

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

We ultimately wanted the audience to feel like they were arriving at a Ceilidh at St Peter’s Hall, Daliburgh South Uist.

Fuaigh was first presented  for National Theatre Scotland's Home Away Festival in 2016. Music is by Gillebride MacMillan, and projected visuals by Judith Parrott. The play is directed by John Binnie. 

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