Theatre director Michael Emans set to revive Hector MacMillan's The Sash

Theatre director Michael Emans set to revive Hector MacMillan's The Sash

The play, which was first staged at the Fringe 40 years ago, addresses the dangers of sectarianism

Forty years after it was first staged on the Edinburgh Fringe, Hector MacMillan’s homespun homily about the perils of sectarianism and its grip on the past and the future remains depressingly familiar to the landscape of Scottish society. Michael Emans, director of this new touring production from his own Rapture Theatre, is under no illusion that he’s stepping into controversial waters. And that’s the intention. ‘The reason I was passionate about getting The Sash up and running again,’ he says with reference to the play’s reputation as a lighter, more comedic piece, ‘was to reclaim it as a piece of political theatre.’

The play is about the tensions between a recently bereaved young man and his father, and the desire of the former to break away from tradition by not going on the day’s Orange Walk. The divide is crossed with the intervention of a Catholic neighbour. ‘I first saw it when I was a young man and it was written in a voice that I very much recognised, which is working class from the west coast of Scotland,’ says lapsed Catholic Emans. ‘It’s very dark and powerful, but it espouses a notion that we’re all created equal. As the play says, we’re orange or green, but our blood is all red.’

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy, Wed 24–Sat 27 Apr, then touring.

The Sash

Hector MacMillan's nailbiting story about families pitted against each other due to conflicting beliefs.