We are thrilled to welcome Stewart Laing, Artistic Director of Untitled Projects, as our first Glasgay! Festival 2014 Q&A blog. Stewart chats about revisiting Slope – Untitled Project’s first ever commission, originally produced in 2006 – and what to expect from this new production.
Tell us a little about your show Slope?
It is a play that Untitled Projects commissioned – the first play we ever commissioned – it is Pamela Carter’s first play; and when we originally produced it in 2006 it was the first time Pamela and I worked with each other. It is a really special play for me – I’ve wanted to come back to it for years now – to have another go – to spend some more time with these characters and these words.
Can you give us some background about the poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud and their love affair?
In 1871, Paul Verlaine was living with his young wife Mathilde and their small child in a bourgeois apartment in Paris. Arthur Rimbaud, a 19 year old poet, came into their lives and blew their marriage apart. Arthur and Paul ran away together and set up home as a couple in a flat in Camden Town, but that relationship in turn fell apart. The play explores the beginning, the middle and the end of this experimental relationship.
How will this production differ from the Tramway production of Slope in 2006?
The original production was played in one of the largest performance spaces in the uk – Tramway 2, which is the enormous gallery space at Tramway. This time we are playing the Citz Circle Studio and the Traverse Studio – which are really small spaces – so it will be more focused, more claustrophobic, more intimate. The audience will be very close to the action – and i’m hoping this will be exciting for the spectators and the actors.
Which taboos are explored in this piece?
The play is set in the 1870s – so in terms of taboos I think it is dealing with taboos of a past era – when it was not socially acceptable for men to have sex with each other and live with each other as partners and lovers.
What other Glasgay! Festival events are you looking forward to?
There are lots of artists I admire involved in this year’s festival – Ron Athey, Drew Taylor, John Byrne, Josh Armstrong, Al Pacino and Rosana Cade to name a few. So lots to look forward to.