TAG at the Citizens’ Theatre, Sat 24 May–Sat 7 June
Children’s theatre is relatively uncharted territory for Davey Anderson. The young Glasgow playwright is best known for Snuff and Rupture, jet-black, heavily political pieces set in adult worlds of voyeurism, paranoia and surveillance. So what’s he doing writing a play aimed at 8-12 year olds?
‘It is a departure, yes,’ he admits. ‘Actually, it wasn’t that difficult a transition to make, because in my head I’m eternally ten years old! The writing feels different, though – much less peering voyeuristically at adult people’s lives and more storytelling – just being let into the internal monologue of a ten- or 11-year-old.’
What Anderson came up with was Liar, about 11-year-old Lizzie, who discovers dark secrets about her family after meeting a mysterious old woman from a traveller community. The lyrical fantasy and humour of Lizzie’s world is offset with traditional Scottish traveller songs, performed live on stage.
Anderson hasn’t abandoned political themes entirely. ‘I started with this idea of different communities living in the one space, in contemporary Glasgow, and all the friction that causes. At first, I couldn’t work out how on earth I was going to make that appetising to eight-year-olds, and then I discovered these storytelling ballads traveller communities use to communicate their history with – songs that just seem to transcend timezones and cultures. They’re something we can and should be claiming as part of our history, in Scotland, but that whole culture is dying out now.’