Scottish independence: Twitter plays for big stage

They will be staged at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Georgeson
They will be staged at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A SERIES of Twitter plays inspired by the referendum debate are to brought to life on the day the country goes to the polls.

David Greig’s mini kitchen sink drama has unfolded on the social networking site since last December, with more than 1400 people following the travails of “Yes” and “No”, the couple deeply divided by the issue.

Now Greig, who has posted more than 400 instalments of the “Twitcom” to date, has revealed that a live version will be staged twice at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh on on 18 September. It is believed to be the first ever theatre event of its kind.

A six-strong cast are expected to bring the plays, which have reflected real-life developments in the debate and included starring roles for certain politicians, to the stage during two one-hour shows, at 1 and 10pm, the latter just after the polls have closed.

The Traverse has already announced a revival for referendum week of its hit Fringe play, Spoiling, which revolves around the dilemmas faced by the first foreign minister elect in an independent Scotland.

Greig, one of the leading cultural voices in the independence movement, said he had decided to launch the series of Yes No Plays following the reaction to several stand-alone “yes-no” Twitter plays posted as he followed the debate at the end of last year.

He told The Scotsman: “I got quite a lot of response to the little silly vignettes that I put out on my own feed. I just had a feeling that the characters were coming and that they could carry on. so I decided to give them their own Twitter feed.

“They really made me laugh and it was a good way of me getting my own frustrations out, but also my own ambivalence. Then the world that they inhabit started to emerge.

“Each little story is usually told over two or three tweets. When I’m trying to explain it to people, I liken it a bit to a cartoon series in a newspaper. Sometimes I will let a storyline come that lasts for a wee while. What I like about them, is that they are completely unique to this moment. I’m going to keep doing them right up until the day.

“I thought it would be be fun to do them live, when people can let their hair down at the end of what has been a long and gruelling period for everybody. For me it’s a way of saying goodbye to the characters, as well as giving the audience a fun night out.”

Orla O’Loughlin, artistic director at the Traverse, said: “The Traverse is a gathering place and a platform for artists based in Scotland and beyond to explore issues relevant to contemporary and current topics, to facilitate the arguments in one direction or the other and to present the audience with a myriad of experience and possibility.

“At the heart of our current programme is a desire to offer our audiences world-class theatre that will provide a forum for all views and opinions. The Traverse has an established tradition of provoking debate and asking the big questions about how we live now.”

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