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At 24, she is one of Scotland’s big writing hopes. Now collaborating with Boilerhouse for the first time, ISABEL WRIGHT is one of the bright young stars of physical theatre. Words: Steve Cramer
ince her debut piece. Sliver/run blew 'l‘ron
audiences away three years ago. Isabel Wright
has been a hot property iii Scottish theatre. What yoti notice abotit her when you meet her is a kind of quiet. This must be hard to carry off in a ptib l’ull ol‘ after-work drinkers. btit as the stiits sliotit the celebration of' their liriday night paroles and the music blares its six o‘clock welcome. the pale. pre-Raphaelite lace under the shock ol’ red hair makes itsell‘ heard with confident. \‘(illlliiC-(lUWli clarity.
She sits behind her bottle of lager and discusses Blunt/ml. which combines her cerebral btit accessible writing with the physical theatre style of Boilerhouse. which produced one ol‘ the true splendours ol‘ last season in Red. Are there problems for a writer in seeing their work stylised in this way‘.’ ‘.\'ot really.~ she says. ‘Yoti heighten the writing for this kind ol‘ thing. It’s a collaboratiye process and l‘ye worked closely with the director. Paul l’inson. for a couple of years on it. And it's a great opportunity. When I was at college. I saw a lot of physical theatre that looked great. btit the text wasn‘t strong. So I‘ve always wanted to write for this kind of project. Sometimes you‘ye got to strip the text back so the actors can take oyer. btit that's part of it.‘
The play starts with the premise of the discoyery
of a young girl's body. the girls. on the brink of’
‘You’re really quiet, or you’re a slag; there’s
The Wright stuff at Boilerhouse
adulthood. will make discoveries of’ sell‘ and society over the ensuing year. 'At the beginning. they’re inyincible: girls ol‘ that age can be terrifying.~ says Wright. who‘s only a few. important. years on from that age hersell'. "l'hey make the journey into adulthood with yarying degrees of success.’
As she continues. she tinf'olds some thought- proyoking notions about the idea of‘ adolescence. particularly the experience of‘ females. ‘Yes. it‘s about gender. btit in bigger terms. it‘s about personality. in terms of the way people get branded in a two- dimensional way. When people brand its like that. we try to stretch otit of‘ it. btit not all the characters are successful. There are gender issues there. of‘ course. A lot has changed in terms of feminism. btit girls still get the stereotyping. you know. "you‘re really quiet. or you're a slag". there's still a kind of’ mother/whore diyide.‘
lii'. when I said she was quiet. I didn't mean . . .
But it's about more than this. Wright takes a kind of Sartrean View of the deyelopment ol’ personality. whereby we become what people want us to be. ‘At school. you are your brand or your gang.~ she says. ‘But as you get older. you become part of something more complex. ()ne of‘ the characters idolises another and imitates her to the point of. making their relationship clatistropliobic. ()ther characters just become what people expect them to be and that‘s also part of adult life. I find that idea l'asciiiating.‘
And it's true enough. I began this piece as a
journalist might. describing place. local colour and a
face. It's what you expect. btit what does it tell you about me'.’ What does what you do tell you about yourself"? l’onder on it. and seek other answers.
Blow/ml will run in tandem with Boilerhouse‘s schools project Int/rule. an educational piece by Wright which runs along similar lines. but is intended for school-age l‘emale audiences.
Blooded opens at the Byre Theatre, St Andrews, Fri 26 & Sat 27 Oct, then tours.
Whispers Talk of the green room
lHL-. KIND Ol SMAI l l() medium scale work you commonly see in puh theatre in london is seldom seen in Scotland. lhis seems a great It ss; this kind of theatre has helped to provrde a lively ongoing fringe all year round in cities where it takes place. The lack in the Scottish scene is ahout to he addressed in i‘(l|lil)lll‘()li.
Armed Willi a smidgen of lottery funding and a little help from l~dinhurgh City Council. a new venue is set to open in .January. /\ newly formed company. Menu Productions. Will open a space at the ()ounting House. a puh ahove the Blind l’oet convenient enough to l dinhur'gh University and the Southside to attract young audiences from hoth the academy and the community. lhe idea is outlined hy the company’s name. Audiences Will he allowed to pick and choose from a selection of short plays (three in the initial r'iini. huying tickets at a low price for any or all of them. so that they can pop in and out of the theatre as they Wish. a sort of smorgasbord effect. lhei‘e'll also he spaces for stand up. cluhs and music on the same nights. and there might even he an exhihitron space. We look forward to the result.
CONGRATULATIONS TOO to Perth Theatre for its production of Annie. The musical created the theatre’s best box office results in ten years through a combination of experienced West End performers and actors from the community. This augurs well for the theatre’s future.
"I Annie bumper! record box office at Perth
.yt '. Ni“. ' THE LIST 65