Director Kenny Ireland is looking to instil some pride in the nation's literary heritage by bringing Lewis Grassic Gibbon's classic tale of community, national identity and sexual awakening back to the stage.
Set in an early 20th century farming community in the North East of Scotland, this familiar high school syllabus staple, which was voted Scotland's most popular novel of all time in 2006, still resonates for Ireland. 'It's about a young woman, Chris (played by Hannah Donaldson, pictured) who is discovering herself, her sexuality and her relationship with the land, and she's being pulled in two different directions all the time,' he says. 'We all have the feeling that we both like and dislike different things about Scotland, but it's important, as Chris shows, to know who we are, what we are and where we want to go.'
Replacing some of the language that was stripped from Gibbon's original in Alistair Cording's stage adaptation, Ireland also hopes to put back some of the sense of scale produced by the novel without losing the audience connection. 'We've done quite a bit of work in taking it further into the Scots, but if an actor knows what they're saying and invests it with that feeling then it doesn't matter what language they're using,' he says. 'It's not unintelligible, but we're aiming to put the Scots words back in and this language really helps to give it the big scale we need in this production: the kind of epic quality that Gibbon himself gave.'
His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen, Fri 5-Sat 13 Sep; King's Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 16-Sat 20 Sep