Behaviour festival features work by five of Scotland’s rising stars in Scottish theatre

New work from Gary McNair, Claire Cunningham, Rob Drummond, Nic Green and Kieran Hurley

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Behaviour festival features work by five of Scotland’s rising stars in Scottish theatre

L to R: Rob Drummond, Kieran Hurley, Claire Cunningham, Nic Green, Gary McNair

Five of Scotland’s most promising theatre makers have each been cultivating an intriguing new show, as part of the National Theatre of Scotland and The Arches’ Auteurs Project. Ahead of their first outings at the Behaviour festival, Mark Fisher asks these rising stars what they have in store for us

Gary McNair - Donald Robertson Is Not a Stand-Up Comedian

Born
1986 in Paisley. Grew up in Erskine. Now lives in Glasgow.

Background
The writer-performer-director has looked at the nature of money in Crunch, analysed the voting system in Count Me In and dramatised the life of an endurance athlete in Born to Run. We said: ‘McNair leaves a strange brew of exhilaration and unease in the room’.

What he says about Donald Robertson Is Not a Stand-Up Comedian
‘I’m telling the story of a young lad called Donald Robertson who I met on a bus and who wanted to get into stand-up. It’s an exploration of what we look for in comedy and what its functions are in society. Humour is very important in my work, but I have never billed it as comedy. This time, I’m letting people bring an expectation of comedy and seeing how that affects the work. As a teenager, there was a part of me that wanted to be a stand-up and I guess there was always that curiosity: could I do it? To research this show, I went out to the New York Comedy Festival and cemented myself in that world. Through this process, I’ve realised I’m actually happier doing what I do.’

What we expect
A sideways look at the funny business with the chance of a few good gags.

When it’s on
The Arches, Glasgow, Wed 3, Thu 4 and Sat 6 Apr.

www.garymcnair.co.uk

Claire Cunningham - Pink Mist

Born
1977 in Kilmarnock. Now lives in Rutherglen.

Background
A classically trained singer who reinvented herself as a dancer and aerial artist in spite of her osteoporosis, she was nominated for best female performer at the Dublin Fringe for Evolution. She also made the perfect boyfriend out of crutches in Ménage à Trois, which Disability Arts Online called ‘an unforgettable experience’.

What she says about Pink Mist
‘Most of my work is autobiographical and this was a chance to do something that wasn’t about me. I had a loose plan that tied me to the idea of the landmine, which I thought of as an object that created other crutch-users: it is designed to maim rather than kill. I did a research trip at the end of January to Cambodia, a predominantly Buddhist country where a lot of people believe disability is a result of a misdemeanour in a previous life. I wasn’t prepared for that. It changes how people relate to the concept of disability and it makes me question how my beliefs around disability have been formed by the culture I’m in. I’m not looking at Pink Mist purely as choreography. I’ve been interested in creating visual and sculptural images and this initial stage has a live art/installation feeling.’

What we expect
A visually arresting attempt at marrying the politics of war, disability and religion on a global scale.

When it’s on
The Arches, Glasgow, Thu 25–Sat 27 Apr.

www.clairecunningham.co.uk

Rob Drummond - The Riot of Spring

Born
1982 in Paisley. Now lives in Glasgow.

Background
The actor and playwright got the audience to help him dream up a story every night in the CATS-award winning Mr Write and had a gun pulled on him in Bullet Catch which The Guardian described as ‘remarkable, multilayered and utterly gripping’. Before The Riot of Spring, his play Quiz Show is at Edinburgh’s Traverse (Fri 29 Mar– Sat 20 Apr).

What he says about The Riot of Spring
‘It’s not a recreation of The Rite of Spring, which would be pretty much impossible, but we’re doing a three-man reaction to the original. I went to America last year to do four weeks’ intensive performance training with the SITI Company. The Rite of Spring was part of our stimulus. I’m not really a ballet guy, but immersing yourself in it, you realise it’s really special. When it came to what show I was going to do, everything fell into place: it was the 100-year anniversary of the ballet, which caused a riot in Paris and I had this background knowledge and I’d been trained in movement. It was a show I had to do. The Auteurs Project is all about stretching yourself, so why not throw yourself in at the deep end and do a movement piece?’

What we expect
Unlikely to be one for the Stravinsky/Nijinsky purists, it should at the very least be a moving experience.

When it’s on
Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 10 & Sat 11 May.

www.robdrummond.co.uk

Nic Green - Shadowlands

Born
1982 in Glasgow. Grew up in Yorkshire and now lives in Glasgow.

Background
In 2009, Trilogy was one of the most talked about shows on the Edinburgh Fringe, not least because it featured a naked rendition of ‘Jerusalem’ and an archive interview with Germaine Greer. We gave it five stars and called it ‘joyous, life-affirming stuff’. Since then Green has considered her parentage in Fatherland, Motherland and spent a year living quietly in the countryside to create Slowlo.

What she says about Shadowlands
‘I’ve become interested in waste and how it is processed. I’m hoping to stage the show at a landfill site. The site I visited this week isn’t on the map; it’s a place and a non-place. This is work that could be described as site-specific on a site that’s not recognised as a site. It’s a non-place, which is why they’re called shadowlands. There’s a disruption in facing these sites because everything is out of place. It’s a bit like when you move house and you get all your things out of the drawers and you feel this panic because the order you’ve put on your life has exploded. For me, it’s like that when I go to these places because you’re confronted with all the shit. It feels emotionally disruptive.’

What we expect
A thought-provoking investigation into those hidden areas we’d rather forget were there.

When it’s on
A site-specific location, Glasgow, Tue 30 Apr–Thu 2 May.

www.nicgreen.org.uk

Kieran Hurley - Rantin

Born
1986 in Edinburgh. Now lives in Glasgow.

Background
The politically engaged actor and playwright was nominated for a CATS award for Hitch, a true story about a road trip to the G8 summit, and won one for BEATS which was about the illegal rave scene of 1994 and which we called a ‘hugely impressive performance’.

What he says about Rantin
‘It’s a series of short stories interwoven with live music and song, drawing on the Scottish folk tradition. With those stories we’re trying to create a patchwork image of a nation. It’s not so much about nationhood as it is about class and power. It’s about the myths by which we construct ideas of collective identity. It’s also about multiculturalism and how ultimately we all need each other. One of our reference points is The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil, because I’m really interested in the ceilidh play. It’s not something that looks or feels like anything 7:84 made in the 70s, but I’m interested in the ethic of that: the performance being the site of community.’

What we expect
They’re calling it a ‘part-living room gathering, part-gig session and part-theatre show’. And that’s good enough for us.

When it’s on
Stephen’s Hall, Pearce Institute, Glasgow, Wed 17–Fri 19 Apr.

Rantin

Kieran Hurley's combination of living room gathering, play and gig stitches together a set of stories into a patchwork of Scottish folk tradition.

Donald Robertson is Not a Stand-Up Comedian

  • 4 stars
  • Written by: Gary McNair

New piece by writer/performer Gary McNair – a coming of age story which looks at comedy in an entirely different light.

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