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A bAnK'I'NG LOT IN PHILADELPHIA New Byre Theatre. St Andrews.

Political dramas disguised as more domestic affairs, on one level telling a straight story, but on another containing state-of-the-nation metaphors, go back a long way. We might go back a century to Yeats’ Kathleen Ni Houlihan, a republican allegory about an old lady turned off her land, for an example. The writers of France and mid—Europe suffering under Fascist or Stalinist regimes also turned out many a coded political message through the medium of family drama in the middle of the last century. But with the honourable exception of 7284’s state-of—the-nation trilogy in the years surrounding the creation of the Scottish Parliament, we‘ve seen few of these in Scotland.

Ann Downie is about to deliver a rare example. Her work has been absent from Scottish stages for nine years, during which time she has busied herself with television scripts for The Bill and with an acting career which most recently saw her playing the mother in 7284’s excellent production of Gary Mitchell’s Marching On.

She returns to Scottish stages as a writer with the story of Maggie (Eileen McCallum), an elderly lady who has worked for many years as the housekeeper of an affluent American family. An illness leads her to leave America to return to her Scottish family, who are convinced that her ownership of the parking lot of the title makes her a very wealthy woman. wrote it.’

Each member of the family attempts, by their own Originating as a much shorter radio play, this stratagem, to make off with her cash. bittersweet comedy has taken on a visual dimension

‘The play’s an allegory,’ says Downie. ‘lt’s got a subtle that allows it, she feels, to explore character with political tone. It was originally written in 1997 at the greater subtlety. ‘We can see that the family is wrong,‘ time when debate about the referendum on the new she says, ‘but we can also see that they‘re rationalising parliament was current. Maggie is an old lady, who’s in a way that’s allowed them to convince themselves been independent for years, now united with her family. that what they’re doing is in her best interests.’ This They systematically try to undermine her confidence seems to give Downie’s characters a human dimension. and convince her that she’s incapable of running her After all, we all rationalise. Rationalisations are more own affairs. She doesn’t understand why, if she’s such a important than sex. You don’t believe me? Well, have burden, they want to hang on to her. The parallel you ever gone a week without a rationalisation? (Steve between the old lady and Scotland emerged to me as l Cramer)

Eileen McCallum plays a woman whose family are a barking lot

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Wave Me Goodbye, this year’s Theatre Workshop community play