AS PART of Refugee Week Scotland, theatre company A Moment’s Peace have been exploring ideas of heritage and migration under the banner Border Control, with a series of readings and discussions of new writing.
Saturday’s offering was a short play, The Builders, written by River City actress Maryam Hamidi, which took the idea of the border literally: a retired couple, cosy in their country home, are shocked when officialdom decrees that it lies directly between two separating states and thus the new border wall must be built right through their living room.
At first this surreal conceit seems merely a practical inconvenience – the kitchen, and most importantly the kettle for tea, lies on the “wrong” side of the wall – but as protesters gather outside, they come to realise that wider issues about identity and freedom are involved. Parallels with the Berlin Wall, the Scotland/England Border, the West Bank Barrier and other divisive structures abound, without any being too heavily stressed.
This is very much a work in progress, with much of the lively post-show discussion centring on a script change made only hours before, which shifted the emphasis somewhat away from the independence debate. And at times the format of rehearsed reading made it hard to focus on the play’s dramatic potential, despite good performances by Alison Peebles, David Gallacher, Robert Jack and Kirsty Stuart. But there’s certainly potential here and plenty of food for thought.