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I'm at the Traverse bar. I‘m looking at dramatist Linda MacLean. Clutching a half of Guinness in her little hand (Kylie-sized like the rest of her) she’s looking back at me, talking about looking. I drop my eyes and look at my pint of Staropramen. Women are used to being looked at. you see; for better or worse, they‘re trained for it from early childhood. Men aren't. She‘s talking about watching the very strong cast of her new script. ‘I could watch them saying nothing, so it's great that I can watch them saying my words,’ she says.

And a good deal of Word for Word is about watching - and words. MacLean‘s script for Nick Bone's production is about four foreigners from a single community who have moved to a new city. Their encounter with a photographer from this city will frame their, and his, expenence.

There's a sense of the mythic in this poetic story of four kin, the eldest of whom is 107, the youngest a young woman. The old lady is a storyteller in her culture and will pass this responsibility to the young.

But for all that mytho-poetic feel, MacLean tells me that the initial




Macrobert, Stirling, Thu 13 Mar, then touring


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inspiration for her comes from a very real tower block, with only one occupied flat, near Parkhead. ‘Within the stories told in the community is the story of an inherited disease, so part of it is about how you unfold awful information to someone within a story,‘ she says, explaining that the play touches on questions of

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Watch word: Linda McLean

genetics, perception, and the very human desire to create order in the world. ‘Lots of languages are dying out just now, and one of the things about languages, like the cultures around them, is that they have a distinctive rhythm. In a way, a lot of the play is about seeking rhythms and patterns, something we do naturally.‘ (Steve Cramer)


Touring, see listings for details 0.0


THE STONES Tron Theatre. Glasgow. Thu 20—Sat 22 Mar

Bridging stones

' ./ -. THE LIST 63