Well, the damn thing's difficult to shift. Earlier this week, I went to Glasgow's Theatre Royal to see David Greig's Dunsinane. The play saw its first production in 2010, is much-coloured by the Iraq War, and represents a counterfactual take on what happened after the end of Shakespeare's Macbeth.
The revival stars many of the members of the original cast, including Siobhan Redmond as the surviving Lady Macbeth, and Jonny Phillips as Siward, Earl of Northumberland. Greig brings us a drama of occupation, told primarily from the perspective of Siward's callow English soldiers, trying to keep, and enforce, his kind of a peace in a Scotland rent by civil war. In its essence, it is a tale about the failure of a worthy Englishman to understand the perfidious, thrawn, contrary folk of Scotland and our Esher politics. Greig's Scotland is bleak, poetic -- and above all, cold.
If you get the chance, the show really is worth seeing, pitching for big national themes. The production is on its way down south, with a tour taking in Birmingham, Bath and my old haunt Oxford, before bending back up to Edinburgh. Glasgow audiences - even for the theatre - are notoriously boisterous. It'd be fascinating to see the production amid a primarily English audience, on an English stage, when Greig's gags are pitched at the Other rather than the Self.
While the Theatre Royal audience twinkled with self-recognition at the droll Malcolm's cynical take on his countrymen, and at the English infrantrymen's bitching about Scotland, the whole thing takes on a different cast, seen from the other side of Tweed, in a political context where our independence referendum continues to prompt bemusement and perplexity among our southern neighbours. Seems a pity to miss it.