Six Acts of Love
- Mark Fisher
- 18 September 2008
Tron, Glasgow, 26 Sep–11 Oct
The Scottish Government’s Homecoming programme is not until next year, but Ioanna Anderson is getting in early. At the age of 38, she’s planning to move back to her native Edinburgh after spending the best part of 20 years in Ireland, where she was a student, a theatre administrator and, latterly, a celebrated playwright. To herald her arrival, the Tron’s artistic director Andy Arnold is launching his inaugural autumn programme with the world premiere of Six Acts of Love, a bittersweet comedy she developed for Dublin’s famous Abbey Theatre only to find it lost in the muddle of a financial crisis and a regime change.
Ireland’s loss is Scotland’s gain as Arnold fields a crack ensemble, including Una McLean and Barbara Wilshere (pictured), to perform this play about a woman whose prospects look bleak, what with having to cope with an errant husband and an aging mother, until her life takes an unexpected twist. ‘It’s set in the Irish middle classes which is not a world you see that often on stage,’ says Anderson, whose site-specific play You Are Here opens in the Dublin Festival just days before the first night of Six Acts of Love. ‘You think of Irish plays as a certain type – the country plays from the west and the gritty urban plays – but you don’t usually get the middle classes.’
She says it’s about ‘love, marriage, home and death’ and, unusually, focuses on older people. ‘I suppose it was a reaction to me getting older and what you think about your parents getting older and worrying about them being gone,’ she says. ‘I hope it’s funny and a good night out, despite the fact that it involves old middle-class people! It’s probably a bit sad – a sad comedy. As I get older, I don’t want it all to be terrible when I leave the theatre, the cinema or, indeed, the dinner party. I wish there to be some hope; not an artificial happy ending, because I don’t believe in endings apart from death, but a bit of optimism.’