Skip to main content

Thank God For John Muir

Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh
Three stars

On a patch of leaf-sodden earth, a young man sits on a wooden chair, his eyes bound as if blinded by a blast from some bomb-powered war. As it is, the man who will go on to become the world's first eco-warrior has temporarily lost his sight in an accident at a saw-mill in his birth-place in nineteenth century Dunbar. Over the fifty minutes of Andrew Dallmeyer's interior monologue, Muir's spidey-senses are a-tingle as his sensory antennae becomes more sensitive to a natural world of sound rather than vision. As he notices the flow of rivers and the noises around him, the epiphany that engulfs him once he regains his sight prompts him to get back to nature and devote himself to a world beyond the all-encroaching industrial revolution.

Originally seen at Oran Mor in 2011 as part of the Glasgow venue's A Play, A Pie and A Pint season of lunchtime theatre, Dallmeyer's play is revived here in a new production by Paul Brotherston for a season of Muir-devoted projects taking place largely on the great environmentalist's own doorstep. With actor Eddy Hull stepping into Muir's shoes, Dallmeyer's script is an impassioned and impressionistic look at how senses can work overtime when one of them is lacking.

As he imagines everything around him, the descriptions culled from Muir's head are akin to a latter day radio broadcast by Chris Watson, that greatest of contemporary sonic explorers and sound recordist of the natural world. Like Watson, Muir was a pioneer who understood the value of public spaces, and why they should be left unravaged by predatory forces who would destroy them.
 
The Herald, March 16th 2015

ends


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…

Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …