Tom McGovern discusses his role in a new adaptation of The Cone Gatherers

Robert Jenkins' Scottish novel is being brought back to the stage by Aberdeen Performing Arts

Tom McGovern discusses his role in a new adaptation of The Cone Gatherers

Following their adaptations of Sunset Song and Silver Darlings, Aberdeen Performing Arts take another great Scottish novel to the stage, Robert Jenkins’ The Cone Gatherers. Telling the story of two cone gatherer brothers and the devastating effect they have on gamekeeper Duror, the story challenges the way we classify good and evil.

‘It’s like he wakes up one morning and thinks, “Everything I’ve done my entire life is shit”,’ says Tom McGovern of his deeply damaged character, Duror. A man terrified of abnormality, he considers hunchbacked brother Calum an enormous threat to his ordered world. ‘This didn’t happen overnight,’ explains McGovern, ‘Calum is a catalyst and we join him [Duror] in this carnage and destruction.’

Jenkins’ original story is rife with Biblical allusions (‘something I learned and then unlearned,’ states McGovern), from the Garden of Eden-like forest to Duror’s supposedly evil doings.

‘He’s not such a hateful character as he appears to be,’ argues McGovern. ‘We join him on a downwards spiral, we’re talking about mental illness here. There are things we can recognise in ourselves. I do feel for him.’

Various venues, until Sat 27 Oct.

The Cone Gatherers

Based on the novel by Robin Jenkins, this play examines the relentless struggle between good and evil via the story of two brothers, a hateful gamekeeper and the prejudices of the class system of the 1940s.


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