WRITER, DESIGNER, DIRECTOR, MASKMAKER: Bob Frith.
PUPPET DIRECTOR/MAKER: Alison Duddle. MUSIC DIRECTOR: Loz Kaye. LIGHTING/FILM; Christine Eddowes. WEAVINGS: Joanne B Kaar.
2013 CAST: Melissa Deans, Jonny Quick, Jordanna O’Neill, Mark Whitaker.
ANGUS – WEAVER OF GRASS started life a few years ago with a small booklet sent to Bob Frith by Chris Spears, an old friend who lives on Berneray, in the Western Isles of Scotland.
The booklet told the story of the life and work of a crofter Angus MacPhee, who grew up in Eochar, South Uist, and went to war in 1939. He was then invalided out of the army before seeing active service – ultimately spending 50 years as an elective mute in Craig Dunain, the psychiatric hospital outside of Inverness that served the large area of the Scottish Highlands and Islands.
If you get a chance to see @HorseandBamboo Angus MacPhee – go!! Quite simply the most exquisite and moving piece of theatre I’ve ever seen!
Joyce Laing, a pioneering art therapist, ‘discovered’ Angus in the 1970s at Craig Dunain. Joyce was interested in ‘outsider’ or extraordinary art made by non-professional artists. In Angus’s case he had utilised the Hebridean craft of making rope from grass and developed it in previously unheard of ways – constructing elaborate costumes from grass and leaves he found in the hospital grounds.
Beautifully portrayed journey through a man’s life, sensitively and emotionally done – stunning thank you.
Our show tells Angus’s story, and it does this using masks, puppets and film. There is almost no dialogue, and the non-verbal nature of the production mirrors Angus’s own lack of words. The story unfolds using Gaelic narrative and song which is “more of an addition to the setting and the atmosphere than a necessity to follow what is happening..”. The Gaelic narrative was developed with Mairi Morrison, from Lewis, and is sung by Melissa Deans in 2013.
Thank you very much, a fascinating story told exceptionally well – Congratulations, I too had a few tears in my eye!
Angus – Weaver of Grass toured throughout the Islands and Highlands during the summer of 2012, when it gathered rave reviews and sell-out audiences. The show had a second tour in late summer and the autumn of 2013, again to wonderful reviews and taking part in the Blas and SMHAFF.
Emotive and inspiring. Gave insight into another world. Sensitive performance. Amazing puppetry. Singing – sgoinneil Jhein!!
We are currently following up interest in the production from Nova Scotia, Canada and European promoters. Watch this space.
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