I Was a Beautiful Day
Does where we are make us who we are? Where is home and what does it mean to be away from it? Can the essence of a place be evoked through the languages of words or maps?
These are the concerns at the heart of I Was a Beautiful Day, the play commissioned by the Traverse to launch An Lanntair Arts Centre in Stornoway in 2005, now showing for the first time in Glasgow in a revised and considerably trimmed-down version from Alabaster Productions. The three-hander concerns a shell-shocked war veteran, Dan and his memories of home – the Outer Hebridean Isle of Lewis – his erratic fellow-patient Lube, and cartographer Anne’s attempts to record the ancient place names that only he knows.
Director Beckie Mills is convinced of the ‘robust’, evocative power of Hebridean writer Iain Finlay Macleod’s revised text: ‘The danger, if you’re talking about landscape in a play, is that it can seem quite twee or wistful, but this really does transport the audience in some way, whether it’s through memory or imagination.’
The play deals with the challenges of positioning oneself within the various schemata of relationships, places and languages, and as such, maps, with their rich, visual language, seem to Mills to be the perfect symbol for how we do so: ‘It’s about how we record life, how we contain life and everything within it.’
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 14–Sat 17 Apr