Interventions 26.1 (February 2016)

This issue of Interventions accompanies a special issue of the journal dedicated to the contemporary Scottish playwright and theatre director David Greig. This is the latest in a series of issues addressing a single writer; previous issues of the journal have focused on Tim Crouch and Martin Crimp, and an issue on Simon Stephens is forthcoming later this year. Focusing on a single writer in this way allows a depth and breadth of critical approaches, and these are very much on display in the Articles, Documents, and Backpages in the print journal.

The online Interventions add to this diversity of approaches, beginning with an edited transcript of a conversation between Greig and Dan Rebellato, which was held during a 2014 symposium at the University of Lincoln that was the seed of this special issue. This interview addresses some of the concerns and processes that Greig explored while working on his 2013 play The Events, written in response to the 2011 Norway shootings. A number of articles in the special issue discuss The Events, as well as a collection of short responses in Backpages, so we hope this interview might be read in relation to these articles.

One of Greig’s most recent productions, Lanark: A Life in Three Acts, is not discussed in the print journal so we are very happy to offer Victoria E. Price’s careful and illuminating reading. An adaptation of the epic novel by Alasdair Gray, Lanark was presented at the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival, less than a year after the Scottish referendum rejected political independence from the UK. Greig was a strong advocate for independence, and Price suggests that this work might be read in relation to this political context, as well as responding to the challenge of adapting such a lengthy and stylistically ambitious novel for the stage.

The relation between arts and politics was also foregrounded at another event elsewhere at the same Edinburgh festival in Welcome to the Fringe, a collaboration between Greig, Forest Fringe, and the Gate Theatre (London). In response to the 2014 controversy over the programming of a production by an Israeli theatre company that received support from the Israeli state, Greig launched a crowd-funding campaign to create a resource to enable Palestinian artists, and Israeli artists who reject state funds, to come to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.   This web feature collects responses and reflections from some of the artists and curators involved in this first initiative.

Lastly, ‘Butterfly Mind’ adapts a performance-text especially for the web, recreating what Greig calls ‘an adventure in contemporary shamanic soul retrieval’. Text, image, and music are animated by the reader’s act of scrolling through the narrative, taking advantage of the online medium to offer a unique form of Intervention.

– Theron Schmidt

 

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