Encore Theatre Magazine
:: Monday, January 31, 2005 ::
Liz Lochhead appointed Artistic Associate at NToS
More good news coming from Easterhouse. The National Theatre of Scotland has appointed playwright, poet and performer Liz Lochhead as an Artistic Associate.
Lochead emerged in the early seventies from that ferment of Scots literary creativity around Philip Hobsbaum's writers' group, through which also passed James Kelman, Alasdair Gray, and Tom Leonard. Lochhead's work includes, most famously, Blood and Ice and Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, one of those key plays reimagining the nature of Scottish identity from the stage that predated the great revival of Scottish theatre writing of the 1990s. She's worked in a great variety of writing styles, offering comic monologues that she herself has performed, straight drama like Perfect Days which went to the West End a few years ago, and bold adaptations of the classics, including, most recebtly, Medea for Theatre Babel and The Misanthrope, under the title Miseryguts a caustic transplanting of Moliere's play to Holyrood.
Her work is marked by a consistent pressurizing of the roots and sources of identity; she is never afraid of complexity as demonstrated by the deep ambivalence of La Corbie, our birdlike guide through this briary drama. Lochhead is the first of a group of around eight Artistic Associates (I guess something like Hytner's kitchen cabinet at the [English] National Theatre) who will advise and guide the development of this project. The British Theatre Guide reports critic Mark Fisher's recommendation that Greig, Lochhead and Chris Hannan be invited to join the organization. Featherstone's got the first two; let's hope Hannan can be forced back into the limelight. Neil Murray's executive producer role should help - it was under his stewardship of the Tron that the revival of Shining Souls brought Hannan's name back to the front of Scottish theatrical minds, where it should be.