Saturday, 14 November 2015

Tracks Of The Winter Dramaturgy: Rona Munro @ Traverse

Traverse Theatre Company Announces
Tracks Of The Winter Bear 
By Rona Munro & Stephen Greenhorn 

Directed By Orla O’Loughlin & Zinnie Harris


The Traverse Theatre Company today announces the cast for its forthcoming production Tracks of the Winter Bear

The all-female, ensemble cast features a number of well-known performers: Deborah Arnott (Caucasian Chalk Circle, Royal Lyceum), Karen Bartke (My Name Is..., Tamasha Theatre, UK tour), Caroline Deyga (Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, National Theatre of Scotland), Kathryn Howden (The Last Witch, Edinburgh International Festival/ Traverse) and Molly Innes (The Artist Man and the Mother Woman, Traverse Theatre Company).

The double bill brings seasonal stories, with a touch of the mystic, to the stage. It features world premieres by Rona Munro and Stephen Greenhorn inspired by ideas of wintery landscapes, Edinburgh and polar bears. 

Both playwrights have achieved considerable fame for their work in stage and other media and have a long association with the Traverse, which counts them among its most successful alumni. 

Both expressed their excitement at the prospect of this unique project and have worked closely to bring their individual ideas to fruition. Here again they bring their renowned wit and surreal but incisive gaze to bear on contemporary issues.

Orla O’Loughlin said, “What a wonderful way to 
end the year, with a double bill of wintry plays by two of Scotland’s finest playwrights and Traverse alumni. These plays offer a heartfelt and often fantastical insight into themes of loss, fear and love. As such they feel very much of the season. Both create a dreamlike canvas on which two very individual but equally inventive journeys unfold. By turns tragic and darkly comic, our Tracks of the Winter Bear double bill promises an exciting and daringly theatrical experience for Traverse audiences this December.”

GKV: What was the inspiration for this performance?
Rona Munro: Okay, you said challenge you. What do you mean by ‘inspiration’? Conjures up visions of a radiant muse.

There are loads of reasons to write a play, the most common is desire to tell certain stories which, if one’s lucky enough to start making a living at it, is very rapidly followed by economic necessity, ‘because someone offered to pay me to tell that story’. 

Then there’s the delight of working with people one as enjoyed working with in the past. In this case lovely people I’d worked with in the past tempted me with the treat of working with them again and I had an idea that that matched theirs. I love Stephen Greenhorn and I’ve always wanted to write a Christmas show about a bear.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

That was done by others.

What made you decide on this particular venue?
See above.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?

Pretty much, though in this case I had a series of meetings with Stephen and Zinnie Harris where we talked about what the common themes between the two plays might be and how we’d make hem work together.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Midwinter magic.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

I try and avoid that kind of thinking altogether. It’s like a millipede concentrating on what its legs are doing.

Are there any other questions that might help me to understand the meaning of dramaturgy for you in your work? 

I can honestly say that I had no idea what dramaturgy was till I read your comics. I am still not entirely certain. I think, for an actual creative, it may be as well not to ever think about it. See above lame simile about millipedes. 

Playwright Biography

Rona Munro

Rona Munro has written extensively for stage, radio, film and television including the trilogy The James Plays for the National Theatre of Scotland, The National Theatre of Great Britain and the Edinburgh International Festival.

The James Plays won the Evening Standard best play and Writer’s Guild best play awards in 2015.

Other credits include award winning plays Iron which won the John Whiting Award in 2003, The Maiden Stone which won the Peggy Ramsay Memorial award and Bold Girls which won the Evening Standard award, Critics Circle award and Susan Smith Blackburn award.

Film and TV work includes Oranges And Sunshine directed by Jim Loach and starring Emily Watson and Hugo Weaving, the Ken Loach film Ladybird Ladybird which won a Silver Bear at the Berlin Festival, Aimee and Jaguar, Silver Bear winner and Golden Globe nomination, and BAFTA nominated Bumping The Odds for the BBC.   
She has also written many other single plays for TV and contributed to series such as Casualty’ and Dr Who.

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