Clutter Keeps Company
Davy Anderson’s oeuvre, which has been fairly prolific since the mid 2000s has shown a consistent impulse toward the social diagnostic. From his examination of alienation within a council flat, incorporating a commentary on our culture’s propensity to state and individual violence in Snuff, to his exploration of a disaffected, morally bankrupt middle class, and its consequences for immigrant communities in Rupture, his work has never strayed far from social commentary. But in his new piece, an international collaboration from Glasgow-based company Birds of Paradise, he’s going to the fairground.
Clutter Keeps Company tells the story of a downwardly mobile family in the early 1990s. In the wake of a father’s abandonment, the mother is working long hours at multiple jobs. Meanwhile, a young boy is left to his own devices in his room, while downstairs his teenage sister, and supposed babysitter is making clumsy attempts to enter the adult world. Neglect, though, leads to adventure, as our lad heads surreptitiously for the fair that’s arrived in town.
‘It starts off in Motherwell, but it travels a long way from there,’ Anderson comments. ‘It’s partly a comment on Scotland today and it does that in part by travelling spatially around the country. There’s a kind of road movie element to it. They go west from Motherwell, but I don’t want to give away too much about where it ends.’
There’s still a kind of political engagement in the journey that proceeds from there, but Anderson is also keen to stress the element of humour that unfold in the play. ‘It’s very much a character piece as well, though, it’s in part about getting to know these characters and their world, and I hope it’ll have a sense of fun about it,’ Anderson says. ‘But it’s also a kind of argument piece, I want people to be arguing about what happened when they leave the theatre – I want it to open a conversation. There is a background of materialism in the world of the play, and a lot of it is about how they react to a consumer culture.’
Tramway, Glasgow, Tue 16–Sat 20 Feb, then touring