Acclaimed playwright Morna Pearson on The Artist Man and the Mother Woman

Acclaimed playwright Morna Pearson on The Artist Man and the Mother Woman

Photo: Laurence Winram

Pearson's new play focuses on an art teacher's awkward relationship with his mother

Geoffrey Buncher is a fortysomething art teacher who is still living at home with his over-protective and infantilising mother, Edie. The discovery that his chosen profession is, according to one media outlet, amongst the 'sexiest' jobs leads him to make a life-changing decision. He’s going to get married.

This is the starting point for The Artist Man and the Mother Woman, the latest play from acclaimed young Morayshire playwright Morna Pearson; a graduate of the Traverse Young Writers' Group.

The author is understandably wary of giving away the plot of her drama, which, like her breakthrough play Distracted, is performed at the Traverse by Garry Collins and Anne Lacey. Nevertheless, she is happy to quash any suspicions that the relationship pursued by her protagonist resembles the recent cause célèbre involving the 30-year-old Scottish teacher Jeremy Forrest who ran away to France with his 15-year-old pupil Megan Stammers.

'I’m always drawn to slightly inappropriate relationships,' she says, 'because they lend themselves to dark comedy. That’s where my writing feels most comfortable.

'I’m also interested in characters, like Geoffrey, who struggle with modern life.'

Hailing from the North East, Pearson has established herself as an inventive writer in her own regional vernacular. 'I would describe it as Doric-light, combined with a bit of artistic license,' she explains. 'It can be quite a playful language to use. I use it reinforce the humour.'

Traverse, Edinburgh, Tue 30 Oct-Sat 17 Nov.

The Artist Man and the Mother Woman

The Traverse directing debut of recently appointed Artistic Director Orla O'Loughlin. A new play by Morna Pearson, this black comedy is about a middle-aged art teacher, still living with his mother, who sets out to get a girlfriend.

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