llaying loyingly cral‘ted hoth the words and the characters. that mttst haye hurt. ‘.\'o. I loved it.‘ laughs (ialloway. ‘lt was like springtime when you can see the lilth

on your windows and you clear it all oil. or you gttt yottr

make-up drawer: all the shit goes. There‘s the odd sentence that hreaks your heart to throw away. httt it‘s not a hiography; you haye to ohjectily the information you have.‘

liottunately l'or (ialloway. it wastrt just her wielding the axe. ‘l was ctttting characters left right and centref says lieamish. ‘Because eyery character you put into an opera has to haye its own distinctiye tnusic personality. and I just couldn‘t characterise twenty people in one opera. l was delighted eyery titne somebody got the chop!‘

The two women clearly work well together. a situation helped not just hy their genuine al'l'eetion t’or one another. hut their ahility to tap into each other‘s artl'orm. (ialloway has a musical hackgrottnd. haying stttdied the suhject at (ilasgow l'niyersity. while Beamish has written all her me. “I‘m at ease with words and yery ol‘ten inspired hy writing.‘ says the composer. ‘.lanice‘s words always spark me oil". in fact I lind it Very difficult now starting a piece without her.~

Similarly. (ialloway l'ound sharing ideas for the lihretto with Beamish inyaluahle: ‘Sally is astounding in her clarity with words. But what really helped was I cottld go to her house. look at what she‘d written and read it off the page. I‘d hear in my head what it would sound like. And there‘d he places where I'd say: “You'ye tnade this yery l‘renetic and actually I think it should he quite relaxed.”

When it catne to delying inside their heroine's psyche. howeyer. Beamish‘s l'reneticism came in Very handy. '.\Iary thinks she's the soul ol’ reason. which is a gil't for music.’ says (ialloway. ‘I can haye her saying things that make her sound completely rational. while the tnusic can he saying actually. she’s in a state. she just doesn‘t know it. So the characters sometimes say \‘ery restrained. linglish. pared-down things and the music‘s going wild.’

The duo first got together in 1994 when Beamish. impressed hy 'I‘lu' 'l'rit'k Is To Keep Brent/ling. asked (ialloway to write an introductory te\t on women writers for the ('hamher (iroup of Scotland. This led to a song cycle hased on the file of (‘Iara Schttmann (which (ialloway will take a stage l‘urther with her ttm‘el ('lum in June) and a commission from the Scottish (‘hamher ()rchestra: a 30-minute piece destined l‘or greater things.

‘I had the idea of writing ahottt the link hetween griel and creatiyity.‘ Beamish explains. ‘And then .lanice came up with the idea of Mary Shelley. So we wrote that tor the S('(). hecause it was a concert piece httt it was an opera httrsting to get out.‘ [laying sul'l'ered miscarriages earlier in We. hoth (ialloway and Beamish were in a position to empathisc with at least some of .\lztt‘y"s deep well of grief. .-\nd the grain of l’riendship planted eight years ago has made tackling their lirst opera a relatiyely easy ride. ‘\\'e‘re yery different people hut we spark each other oil. and hring out the hest in each other] says lieamish.

So what on the surface looks like a strange coinhination

a chatty (ilasgow author. a quiet Stirlingshire composer and a disturhed lS-year—old - might in l'act piece together and create not a monster. httt a thing of great heattty.

Monster is at Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Thu 28 Feb, Sat 2, Wed 20 Mar & Wed 1 May; and Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Thu 18 Apr.

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JO“ 1801(S'm5 M310”

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Clockwise from left: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus, The Horror Of Frankenstein, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell, The Curse Of Frankenstein, Frankenstein, Monster (Scottish Opera), Frankenstein (Citizens’)