From an article first published in Easdale People magazine,
Issue No 16, Summer 2003.
The Traverse Theatre, currently celebrating its 40th birthday, was touring its Fringe 2002 award-winning production of David Greig's Outlying Islands. The original cast, again directed by Traverse Artistic
Director Philip Howard, returned for this revival, which opened in Toronto
at the World Stage Festival. Now back in the UK it was touring to the Citizens' Theatre Glasgow, Adam Smith Theatre
Kirkcaldy, Eden Court Theatre Inverness,
the Salisbury Festival, and came to
Easdale Island in June. The Traverse
annually takes out one of its most popular
shows around Scotland and sometimes
farther. This year Outlying Islands was an obvious choice. Sell out runs during the Festival last year and at the Royal Court in September were acclaimed by both audience and critics.
David Greig is one of Scotlands most established and prolific young
playwrights, his work is staged regularly both in Scotland and abroad. This, his latest play, is set on the eve of the
second world war and follows two young
Cambridge ornithologists arriving on a
remote, uninhabited Scottish island, sent
by the government to survey the island's birds.
For Robert, it is the fulfilment of a long held dream to find the elusive
Leach's Petrel a bird that lives at sea and only makes landfall to breed on Outlying Islands. For John, it is a chance
to learn from his talented mentor. With
them on the island are Kirk, the authoritarian leaseholder, and his niece Ellen, a young woman in love with the stars of silent comedy.
Left alone on a scrap of land, surrounded by the vast Atlantic, the boys,
Kirk and Ellen observe each other, are drawn together and ultimately take a journey that pushes at the limits of what it is to be human.
Outlying Islands is David Greig's fourth collaboration with director Philip Howard, designed by Fiona Watt, lighting designed by Chahine Yavroyan and music composed by Gavin Marwick. The cast was Robert Carr, Lesley Hart, Sam Heughan and Laurence Mitchell.