Stories about prostitutes in the theatre are generally tales of suffering and abuse, yet this piece, adapted by Cora Bisset from a short story by Isabel Allende, takes an unorthodox approach to familiar subject matter. There's a transformative beauty to Bisset's production, which sweeps through the long life of a woman who comes from Spain to an unnamed South American country and endures many travails but winds up leading a joyous life.

'For me, it's a beautiful story about a prostitute for once,' says Bisset. 'We're used to so many sordid stories with old hags sitting talking about getting horrible things done to them. That, of course, is a side of prostitution, and I'm not trying to gloss over that, but in the story she manages to give every man the feeling of being loved, and there's something great about that. It's a celebration of a woman who's bloody good at her craft.'

If the approach to content seems unorthodox, Bisset's play also features a different approach in form. 'It's very stylised, but it's very clear storytelling,' she says. 'Music has always been big to me; I started out in bands myself, so that's important here. There's a very immediate connection you get when you're playing live, it's much more of a shortcut connection between you and the audience - the music goes straight to the gut.'

That and a cast from as far afield as Chile, Lebanon, the Basque country and Greece look like making Amada a good night out.

The Arches, Glasgow, Thu 4-Sat 6 Sep


The directorial debut of Scottish singer, musician and actor Cora Bissett ('Red Road'), 'Amada' is an adaptation of Isabel Allende's short story about dignity in prostitution. Winner of the Arches Award for Stage Directors.


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