Paul Bright's Confessions Of A Justified Sinner Reconstructed
Untitled Projects celebrate an unpredictable and hidden theatrical legacy
Having already presented two shows this year, Untitled Projects are racing into the past to investigate one of Scotland’s lost theatre geniuses. Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner was a series of performances staged during the 1980s, reflecting the creator’s wayward brilliance. Director Stewart Laing, alongside playwright Pamela Carter and with help from 85A Collective members Jack Wrigley and Robbie Thomson, investigated the scant documentation of Confessions to present a work that is both an archaeological exhibition and biographical monologue.
‘I never saw any of his work in the 1980s,’ confesses Laing. ‘A couple of years ago when I found out about Paul and how he had managed to slip through the cracks – he was active for four or five years then just disappeared – I became interested in somebody making theatre who was art-school trained.’ Bright’s work was far from untroubled: Laing explains that the final performance, ‘sort of fell to bits in the middle. There were two halves, and the second half didn’t happen.’
Yet it was a bold attempt to understand a novel that, with its fearsome philosophical sensibility, has become an iconic Scottish text. Bright had little interest in the predictable: he marketed the finale as a rave in the Borders. ‘This was an artist making visual theatre for his own entertainment without too much thought about who might go and see it,’ Laing elaborates. Dispatching the myth that Glasgow theatre was invented by 1990’s City of Culture status, Confessions connects Untitled’s approach to a hidden legacy and celebrates art that is simultaneously chaotic and coherent.
Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 14--Sat 29 Jun.