The Strange Undoing Of Prudencia Hart gives a voice to the Borders
The National Theatre of Scotland focuses on traditional Scottish pieces this season
The National Theatre of Scotland’s just-announced season feels even more particularly Scottish than usual this year, with a number of pieces tapping into old traditions. Alongside the exciting looking revivals of classics like Knives in Hens and Men Should Weep, though, it’s great to see some entirely new pieces of writing – even if, as is the case with The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, they draw on some very old source material indeed.
‘There’s so much weird richness in the Border ballads,’ says director Wils Wilson, who has created the piece collaboratively with writer David Greig and musical director Alasdair McCrae, after the three had a strange experience in a pub in Kelso. ‘So much life and death, so many stories. And they’re relatively unknown nowadays.’
With this piece, which tells a story they claim was told to them in that pub about young Prudencia Hart, who goes in search of the song of undoing, which she doesn’t realise belongs to the devil, the creative team have decided to create an experience reminiscent of the traditional, song and storytelling-based, ceilidh. Although it opens in the Tron Theatre’s Victoria Bar, the susbsequent tour venues are all traditional pubs.
‘The audience will come in to a traditional pub, with musicians playing in the corner and a fire going, they’ll get their drinks, have a chat, and the story will evolve from there,’ says Wilson. ‘I think people will be surprised at just how theatrical the piece is, given the limitations of our setting.’
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 9 & Thu 10 Feb, then touring