Urlar: A New Gaelic Play Laboratory
Urlar took place in January 2014. It was funded by Bòrd Na Gàidhlig and Comhairle Nan Leabhraichean as a pilot to launch and test a new Gaelic play development laboratory. It was led artistically by director, actor and writer Iain Macrae and managed by Playwrights' Studio, Scotland.
Urlar featured Gaelic artists working together over three days to develop and rehearse two new scripts and devise a new one on the night of the performance. The plays were then shared with the audience, in a unique exploration of cultural expression.
Urlar was a celebration of the vibrancy and richness of Gaelic contemporary drama and was designed to be accessible to Gaelic and non-Gaelic speakers. The writers were Martainn Mac an t-Saoirand and Rob MacNeacail. Performers were Carina Macleod, Mairi Morrison, Davey Walker and Ruairidh Maciver. Music was performed by Mairearad Green.
The event featured a post-show discussion to look at the possibilities of contemporary Gaelic drama and how we might continue to support its future development.
Beul na-Uaghach (Mouth of the Grave) by Martainn Mac an t-Saoir
Two brothers, Calum and Alex Iain, are at the graveside of their recently deceased mother. Calum, who has mild learning difficulties, remained at home and now faces a move to live with neighbours, Seonachan and Mairi Anna. Alex Iain, the younger of the two, has been in Birmingham for years and is married with a family there. Guilt, lies, love and fear emerge as the estranged brothers reconnect while their mother continues to assert her presence.
Magaidh (Maggie) by Rob MacNeacail
In an age where communities are fragmented, and consumerism and obsolescence are rife, the questions of nothingness and the human state of loneliness are addressed by a quietly observant mannequin. She watches on as characters, with conflicting desires and frailties, decide her ultimate fate.
Devised piece by the Company
This play began with the words "Tha cuimhn' agam…" ("I remember…")
We would like to encourage further projects like this, as well as productions of Gaelic plays. If you would like to discuss Urlar further, please contact Fiona Sturgeon Shea, Creative Director of Playwrights' Studio, Scotland, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Urlar was supported by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Comhairle Nan Leabhraichean and the CCA.