Hannah Lavery: 'Poetry can offer layers of meaning and allow a similar space to emotionally connect to ideas and difficult themes'
- Lorna Irvine
- 2 October 2019
Writer and performer's autobiographical show The Drift is a theatrical exploration of Scottish history
The Tron's forthcoming season has a series of bold choices and a panoply of exciting voices: from Julia Croft, with her fierce feminist mash-up Power Ballad, to a meditation on post-communist society in Fallen Fruit, and Gary McNair's unique Glaswegian interpretation of Ben Johnson's The Alchemist. There is a real emphasis on dynamic work which challenges and provokes, and none more so than Hannah Lavery's world premiere, The Drift.
Directed by Eve Nicol, The Drift is poet, writer and performer Lavery's lyrical, theatrical exploration of Scottish history. Presented by the National Theatre of Scotland, the piece is supported by Flint & Pitch and the Workers Theatre and commissioned with the Coalition of Racial Equality and Rights as part of Black History Month. Furious, heartfelt and moving, it interrogates ideas of place, family and loss, and is steeped in Lavery's experiences of growing up 'mixed' in Scotland.
With her roots in spoken word performance, she sees this as a way to make ideas resonate within a theatrical context. 'I suppose I think that poetry has always been such an important part of theatre that I have always felt to be part of a theatrical tradition', she explains. 'I think, however, poetry can offer layers of meaning and allow a similar space to emotionally connect to ideas and difficult themes'.
The initial inspiration for the piece was, she says, 'a piece of seaglass, an Edinburgh close and my father's fast walk, and that question, "where are you from?''' She believes that the political is often personal, and adds, 'I think my play is rooted in grief, but I couldn't say goodbye to my father, to understand him, without considering him as a black Scottish man, and that understanding was a political and historical understanding.'
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Fri 11 & Sat 12 Oct, and touring.