Colin MacIntyre: 'The book, and the play, is a tribute to my people, my place, and an attempt to say we're all the same'

Colin MacIntyre: 'The book, and the play, is a tribute to my people, my place, and an attempt to say we're all the same'

credit: Soren Kristensen

The man from Mull Historical Society brings his novel and island background to the Òran Mór

'I would say the centrepiece to my work of late has been this theme of finding home,' says Colin MacIntyre – musician, novelist, winner of the Glenfiddich Creative Spirit award and now playwright. Adapting his own novel, The Letters of Ivor Punch as part of the A Play, A Pie and A Pint anniversary season, MacIntyre introduces his distinctive aesthetic to a new audience, one that is firmly rooted in his upbringing. 'I think being an islander particularly makes this question even more pronounced as you are part of a close, but cut off, community.'

MacIntyre was brought up on Mull – a heritage signalled in his first releases as The Mull Historical Society, but also in the content of his script. 'The book, and the play, is a tribute to my people, my place, and an attempt to say we're all the same really,' he continues. The Letters of Ivor Punch deals with the mysteries of island life, jumping between the 19th century and now, and examines how family history, faith and superstition all combine to create an individual's identity and sense of home.

Colin MacIntyre: 'The book, and the play, is a tribute to my people, my place, and an attempt to say we're all the same'

However, it is not afraid to address a pressing contemporary concern: 'It is very much about faith washing up against folklore, and science battling with religion,' he says. Charles Darwin is a character in the novel and play, as is the real-life graffiti proclaiming GOD IS LOVE on a Mull cliff face. Yet at the centre is the titular Ivor Punch, a man of fabulous ancestry and a physicality so distinctive that he becomes known as 'the clock'. From these details of island life and intriguing characters, MacIntyre develops a tale that speaks beyond its apparently discrete context.

'It's about love, which I suppose is universal and I felt could work on any stage,' he concludes. 'The play is about an island community and the book also looks at how sometimes you have to leave home to know what home is.'

Oran Mor, Glasgow, until Sat 4 May; Traverse, Edinburgh, Tue 7–Sat 11 May.

The Origins of Ivor Punch

Award-winning musician and novelist Colin MacIntyre adapts his novel The Letters of Ivor Punch for the stage.

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