National Theatre of Scotland's Them!: 'Theatre that recognises the multiplicity of identities'

Them!: 'a theatre that recognises the multiplicity of identities'

credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

Stewart Laing and Pamela Carter's new play remakes a paranoid 1950s sci-fi film for today's contemporary questions

For Them!, Stewart Laing draws together many of the team from his previous company Untitled Projects, music from Teen Canteen's Carla J Easton, an irreverent attitude towards predictable theatre structures and 150,000 leafcutter ants. Operating as a reinvention of the classic 1950s paranoid science-fiction film, Them! is a reflection on contemporary floating identities and a subversion of the TV chat show.

A Scottish theatre-maker arrives on-set to discuss his remake of the 'seminal creature-feature', but discovers (through a sudden shift to a nightclub at the end of the world) that issues of class, race and culture can never be ignored. 'About four years ago, writer Pamela Carter and I started to work on an idea about personality identity and the possibilities of change,' Laing says. 'I came across Them! in a list of JG Ballard's sci-fi movies. And I love that movie!'

The film operates as a foundation to contemplate 'change and remaking: the plot of the show is about how one could remake it,' he continues. And while this production follows Laing's familiar interests in science-fiction and meta-theatrical commentary, he's also interested in 'creating a complete world in the theatre: we are not trying to convince anybody that anything is part of something else. It's like a project with no back story!'

Although he states that the production is story-led, Them! promises Laing's distinctive combination of the fantastical and the naturalistic, presenting a theatre that recognises the multiplicity of identities, makes claims for the importance of inclusivity, and maintains a cerebral power without losing immediate and visceral thrills.

Tramway, Glasgow, Thu 27 Jun–Sat 6 Jul

National Theatre of Scotland: Them!

New performance event from Stewart Laing and Pamela Carter exploring identity in a changing world.

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