Gregory Burke's Gagarin Way set for Carnegie Hall
New production brings out all four characters
Rapture theatre has forged a strong reputation for its revivals of contemporary and classic plays, touring to the furthest corners of Scotland. Having previously triumphed with works as diverse as Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, the Scottish premier of Joe Penhall’s Blue/Orange and an adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery, artistic director Michael Emans was keen to fall back on home-grown fare for the company’s tenth anniversary production. Gregory Burke’s blackly comic exploration of the decline of political radicalism proved the ideal text.
‘The main attraction in choosing a play is always the writing,’ says Emans. ‘Gagarin Way’s such a great play on so many levels: it twists and turns like a thriller but it’s also full of ideas about tradition and belonging and people’s perceptions versus reality. It’s about human behaviour in the end and I don’t think the play will ever lose its relevance.’
The show is part-produced by the Arts and Theatre Trust Fife and one of the major attractions for Emans in selecting Burke’s play – set in the West Fife village of Lumphinnans – was the prospect of opening at Dunfermline’s Carnegie Hall before a ‘home crowd’.
‘I’m passionate about touring,’ he says. ‘I don’t feel you should have to go to Edinburgh or Glasgow to see good theatre. There’s a major difference between staging a show in a small conservative town like Perth and appearing before an audience in Rutherglen where people are sitting at pub tables. It’s a completely different atmosphere.’
Burke’s play revolves around the kidnapping of a management consultant by communist ideologue Gary and trigger-happy Eddie while a wide-eyed security guard tries to intervene. Whereas earlier productions of Gagarin Way have tended to focus on the thuggish Eddie, Emans has made a conscious decision to bring out all four characters.
‘You don’t want to do a retread of previous productions. I think if you bring a fresh angle to it then it warrants a revival, though you don’t necessarily have to do an all-nude version or something. I wanted this production to have a distinctive flavour, a distinctive look and I wanted to bring out the different nuances in the text.’
For full tour schedule see www.rapturetheatre.co.uk
Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, Thu 17 & Fri 18 Feb, then touring throughout Scotland