Gerry Mulgrew on A Satire of the Three Estates

Another treat from the recent script work undertaken with Scottish actors – this time an interview with legendary actor and theatre director, Gerry Mulgrew.  Having served as Artistic Director of touring theatre company Communicado for the last 30 years, if anyone can talk about the significance of the Satire for Scottish theatre history, it’s Gerry.

Of particular interest is his claim that the very local and seemingly historically specific concerns of the play in fact become “timeless and universal” because they concern the poor, social reform, and the corruption of the state – issues which still affect us today. He says that his prior belief that the play  was “stuffy” was challenged by the rehearsal process, and that the actors “have been rather impressed and surprised by how modern some of the ideas seem to be for the middle of the sixteenth century.  It is a great, passionate, humanist piece.”  Like Tam, Gerry picks up on the language of the play; both actors found Robert Burn’s poetry a useful gateway for undertanding it, although Gerry sees it as more of a challenge in terms of its orthography and rhythms.  But he also celebrates its uniqueness and its richness which he says produces a Scottish voice that is “glorious”.


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Tam Dean Burn on A Satire of the Three Estates

We hit the ground running in 2013 with a series of production meetings at Stirling Castle followed by nine days of intensive script work with actors Alison Peebles, Gerry Mulgrew, Peter Kenny and Tam Dean Burn.  It was the first time we had really tackled the play in its full, rich, and complex entirety… more of which later.

In the meantime, here’s TV and film actor Tam Dean Burn talking stirringly about his experience of working on the text, with academics, and his thoughts on the Satire‘s themes and language.  (The above image is the view he mentions; the panorama of Arthur’s Seat and the Salisbury Crags from Greg Walker’s office window!)





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