Abi Morgan’s new play has been five or six years in the making, but the National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) has now got their hands on the finished product. Vicky Featherstone, artistic director of the NTS, has taken the helm to direct what is seemingly a difficult play to get a grasp on; one, which according to Ms Featherstone, was ‘always beyond us’; which they (the cast and team) were struggling to keep up with from the beginning. However many challenges they have faced along the way, the play is now just about ready for its debut in Edinburgh, and seems to show promise as a fascinating example of what new writing can achieve.
27 draws inspiration and research from David Snowdon’s Aging with Grace. To set the scene: the mother superior in waiting of a convent, Sister Ursula Mary (played by Maureen Beattie), is approached by Dr Richard Garfield (Nicholas Le Prevost) and given the opportunity to take part in a revolutionary scientific study. This study would require the nuns to donate their brains to science following their deaths, in an attempt to help the doctors unlock the mysteries of Alzheimer’s and dementia. As I have not yet seen the final production, I am unable to give much more plot detail than this set-up; but take a look at the visual previews below to get a better idea of what to expect.
If you’re around Edinburgh between now and November 12th, then consider giving this piece of new writing a chance. Ticket details can be found on the Lyceum’s website.
Below links to a short YouTube clip of a monologue by Dr Richard Garfield. You may need to turn the volume up quite high to hear properly (I do not own the best camera in the world), and please excuse the clicking of photographers in the background.
A note on social media calls: this is a relatively new initiative by the NTS, which gives attendees the opportunity to take photos and film a couple of scenes from the play in full dress (and perhaps meet some of the cast and creative team afterwards). The idea is then that the attendees upload the images and videos to their social media pages/websites. It’s a very clever publicity move from the NTS; but it is also a great opportunity for drama-lovers to get a little behind the scenes of the NTS’s plays.
All image credits – Ally Lodge