Author: Ros MacKenzie

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Monday, August 5th, 2019 at 2:10 pm
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Trying it On

“Trying it On” is an autobiographical monologue written and performed by David Edgar in which the author at 70 looks back to the revolutionary summer of 1968, when as a student he embraced the ideals and political struggles of the day.

In a fascinating trip down memory lane he reviews the scope and shape of political thinking over the last 50 years and wonders if he can possibly be the same person now as then.

Starting with a little social experiment of his own, he first asks the audience how many voted for Brexit. Answer, the day I was there: one. But the children of the revolution were the very ones said to have most favoured Brexit, so how could that be, given the number of grey heads in the audience?

Such anomalies are part of his musings.

Given a simple stage set of a study piled high with cardboard boxes, box files and cabinets onto which images are projected, a galaxy of political activists down through the years speak of their own beliefs and struggles. A brief history of ideas follows, of campaigns fought and won and social progression in its slow unfolding.

Youth cannot remain silent, however, while age claims victory for all that is achieved, and suddenly smug baby boomers and their assumptions are challenged and criticised. The urgency of our present day ills in society are outlined and the despair at finding solutions. How much longer can we eat meat, fly, use plastics, even function in our troubled world?

All in all, this is a varied and original acting debut for author David Edgar, more accustomed to writing plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company. This production directed by Christopher Hayden is a Scottish premiere from Warwick Arts Centre and China Plate, and is part of the Festival 19 programme at the Traverse Theatre.

****

 

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