Skip to main content

Owen McCafferty - Unfaithful

It is plain from the title of Owen McCafferty's new play as to what
it's about. Unfaithful focuses on two couples, one younger, the other
older, who are woken from their domestic torpor when they are forced to
come to terms with the consequences of different kinds of betrayal. For
McCafferty, wrestling for words as he sits on the sofa of the Traverse
Theatre's Leith warehouse rehearsal space, it's not always easy to
explain where his play came from.

“In the society we live in,” McCafferty says in his staccato Belfast
accent, “things like somebody being unfaithful, especially as seen
through the media, looks like a very black and white world, whereas we
all live in a far greyer area than that nowadays, and I wanted to write
something to show that. If somebody was to be unfaithful, what comes
out of that isn' t necessarily a bad thing. It can have a good
consequence. That's what we're looking at in the play. Everything in it
is about being unfaithful, whether that's to do with a small lie or
whether it's about having sex with someone you've just met. I'm not
interested in the actual act. It's the aftermath. It's like putting sex
or violence onstage. It looks stupid. It's what happens afterwards that
counts.”

Without giving too much away, in Unfaithful, this involves the older
couple having a form of reawakening.

“It's asking what it means to be unfaithful,” says McCafferty, “and how
important that act of unfaithfulness is compared to others. This is
taking things out of context, but you can be unfaithful just by talking
to someone. It's how they deal with it. In relationships, people may
make a tacit agreement not to talk about something, in the knowledge
that if they do confront these things it all might kick off. Soap
operas are all driven by the idea of being caught, and that being
caught is the worst thing, but it's not, and in that way I suppose
long-term things are more important than minor misdemeanours.”

Volatile relationships and things left unsaid have been at the heart of
McCafferty's work ever since he first came to prominence with Mojo
Mickeybo, a story about a Catholic boy and a Protestant boy who bond
over Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid during the Troubles in 1970s
Northern Ireland. In Scotland, Theatre Jezebel produced McCafferty's
adaptation of Days of Wine and Roses, JP Miller's booze-soaked TV play,
which he relocated from America to 1960s London, where an Irish couple
tear emotional chunks out of each other. This time last year at the
Traverse, a new play, Quietly, simmered its way through a bar-room
confrontation that confronted Northern Ireland's prejudices past and
present.

“I'd written Quietly and Unfaithful quite closely together, and they
seemed to be very similar,” McCafferty says. “Both plays deal with the
result of an act, and they're both deliberately quite short. I wanted
to write something that was compact and complete. They are what they
are.”

McCafferty seems to have purged himself of this this approach for his
next piece. Death of A Comedian, is set over four performances by a
comedian who moves from being an edgy outsider to a commercial success.

“He becomes bland,” says McCafferty. “I don't like to talk like this,
because it makes things in my head sound more grandiose than they are,
but that's about capitalism destroying whatever creative soul you have
within you, and that's the price of success.”

McCafferty pauses to reflect.

“I hadn't thought about this,” he says, “but there seems to be a
connection between all three play. They're all about consequence and
action. They're also saying that bad things don't necessarily lead to
bad things, but also that you shouldn't think you can do something and
escape the emotional consequences of that.”

Where betrayal and infidelity onstage are too often the preserve of
well-heeled literary types, McCafferty's world is occupied by
characters with precious few economic safety nets and with only each
other for comfort.

“I've never written about what we perceive to be important people,”
McCafferty says. “I think it's an absurdity that the higher up the
scale you go that you think you know more. Why should we be led to
believe that Tony Blair knows any more than us. It's a nonsense. In the
job we do, to write this play, we can talk about infidelity, and we do
in a way that other people don't. But instead of looking at it as a
morality, we should infuse it with love. The play is about love. It's
not about morality. Take the morality out of it, and just look at what
happens and why people react the way they do.”

Unfaithful, Traverse Theatre, Aug 1-24, various times.
www.traverse.co.uk

The Herald, August 7th 2014




ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1
1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77)
3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77)
4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77)
5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77)
6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77)
7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77)
8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78)
9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78)
10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79) 
11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79)
12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79) 
13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79)
14. JOLT See Saw (6/79)
15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79)
16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79)
17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79)
18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79)
19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79)
20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79)
21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79)
22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79)
23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79)
24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80)
25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980)

1. THE REZILLOS I Can’t Stand My Baby (Sensible FAB 18/77) If it wasn’t for T…

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

DISC 1
1. THE STONE ROSES  - Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3  - Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART  - Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS  - Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY - Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!  - Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS - I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS - In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES  - Everso 10. THE SEERS  - Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND - You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS - We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE  - Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS  - Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND - In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES - Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS  - Justice In Freedom (12" Version)

1. THE STONE ROSES Don’t Stop ( SilvertoneORE1989)
The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds like it. Vocalist Ian Brown and guitarist John Squire met in 1980 at Altrincham Grammar School. With bassist …