Even in Glasgow/Edinburgh/Glasgow

Scots are given one choice. Are you an Edinburgh person, or a Glasgow person? The differences between these two cities are not only propounded in newspapers, pubs and jokes, but also in literature. From McGonagall to Lochhead, poets are fascinated by the Iron Curtain that cuts through Scotland’s Central Belt. Beginning in a location in Central Station, audience and performer will take a literal and personal journey to Edinburgh Waverley, with the help of poetry and ScotRail. Bring your preconceptions and bring your Railcards

Since moving to Glasgow in September, my pre-existing interest in the difference between Edinburgh and ‘the Weeg’ slid into something of an obsession. I am a determined fan of the pet obsession, and this is the one of the moment. When I first moved to Edinburgh from Kinross at the start of my university career, I was obsessed with the Forth Bridge. I would travel across it everytime I travelled to and from my childhood home. That personal connection soon developed into a wish to know everything I could about that piece of civil engineering. A very similar situation is in place with my interest in the line that carries me between the only two cities where I have every truly stayed.

I decided, like all good performance artists, to turn that personal obsession into a piece of art, and so we have Glasgow/Edinburgh/Glasgow.

The performance is based around Liz Lochhead’s poem ‘Poem on a Day Trip’ from her first collection, Memo for Spring. I’ll also be using poems by Edwin Morgan, William McGonnagal, Gael Turnbull, Norman MacCaig and some lesser known people. Collecting poems has been a joy. My central reference books were, in Edinburgh, Luckenbooth, and Glasgow, Noise and Smoky Breath. I recommend them with a hearty heart.

The bulk of the piece happens on the Shotts Line, run by the rather lovely ScotRail, who have been very supportive of this piece (I’m looking at you, External Relations Manager, John Yellowlees). I will be performing poetry about Glasgow and Edinburgh and occasionally interrupting my own flow to tell the audience interesting facts about the Central Belt communities that we will be passing through. Anyone on the train is welcome to listen in, just as they are welcome to jigger off. Art is not compulsory.

This performance is in collaboration with the RSAMD and the Arches, who are jointly staging the On the Verge festival. I am also going to be performing in a Theatre for the Blind production of Midsummer Night’s Dream during that festival. I will be playing the ‘minimus’, Hermia, one of the many advantages of having the audience blindfolded.

Dates and times: Meeting at 2.30pm (upstairs at Cafe l’Ombrellone which is on the corner of Argyll Street and Hope Street and can be accessed from under the ‘Heilan’man’s Umbrella’) and getting the 1502 to EDB from GLC on the 22nd and 23rd of June 2010.

Cast and production team:
Producer/Director/Performer: Ishbel McFarlane

To get tickets:

Just come along to Cafe l’ombrellone in the station (corner of Hope Street and Argyll Street) at 2.30pm with your train ticket already bought. If you can come early and buy a juice/coffee, then all the better. Simple.


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