Dundee Rep’s 5-star, sell-out production of John McGrath’s The Cheviot, the. The Cheviot, the stag, and the black, black oil. By John McGrath. This play revitalised Scottish theatre. A Scottish history lesson delivered as ‘a good night out’. Introduction: Texts and Issues. The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil ( hereafter The Cheviot) was the first production of (Scotland) when in the.

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Special screenings of Local Hero and The Cheviot. Unavoidable accounts of battles lost are off-set with specific examples of resistance against the forces of displacement, both literal and metaphorical.

And that would give us lback liberty then to cut away and shoot scenes on film which would help it along.

The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil review – a superb revival | Stage | The Guardian

Employing another device, the film insert illustrating resistance to the sheriff is intercut with Close-Ups of the Dornie audience joining in with the singing of ‘The Battle of the Braes’ in apparent political sympathy with its refrain of celebratory resistance.

Notes on Some Brechtian Chevoot 38 marks an academic emphasis upon proposed changes in at least cinematic form.

It was probably his thd partnership and marriage with Elizabeth MacLennan that fired his interest in, and commitment to, Scotland. In respect of the Clearances, for example, the audience learns that: In a programme note to Joe’s Drum McGrath reflected on his kind of theatre:.

Emily Winter and Jo Freer lead a hard-working ensemble who all deserve recognition.

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In the television adaptation, the Vox Pops technique at that time not over-used to the point of today’s viewer scepticism lends conviction to the information. Some of the very features which made The Cheviot such a distinctive cultural and theatrical phenomenon were not readily reproducible in the context of a television production system on which McGrath had consciously turned his back because ‘the mass media, at the moment, are penetrated by the ruling class ideology’.

Indeed, as noted at the outset, McGrath consciously adopted Brechtian strategies only in the adaptation. The argument applies equally to the cheviot the stag and the black black oil where, because of tight institutional constraints imposed – at the time of the making of the TV Cheviot – as much by the trades unions as by management, it was not chegiot to attempt the working basis of the 7: The TV Cheviot The television adaptation follows the published Cheviot playscript quite closely, some small changes in the narrative order clarifying the line of the story.


This play has influenced generations of playwrights and directors, in Scotland and beyond. The play looks at the exploitation and economic changes in the Scottish Highlands throughout history, from the evictions of crofters to make way for Cheviot sheep in the 18th century, to the development of stag hunts in game parks in the 19th century, and finally the oil the cheviot the stag and the black black oil of the s.

The accident of a hastily-made television version yielded tue juxtaposition of a wide range of modes which McGrath advocates in his critical writing. The circumstances which gave rise stwg this initial achievement were gradually eroded on a number of fronts which accounts for the difficulties in sustaining subsequently the first impact.

If, with hindsight, a feel for grass roots revolution in Britain faded rather than exploded in at the fall of Edward Heath’s Conservative government, popular resistance in the events of the ‘winter of discontent’ encouraged an optimism amongst Leftist intellectuals that a greater change than the mere introduction of a Labour government was possible.

The Highlands were in a bit of a mess.

But, as he puts it in his essay on ‘Mediating Contemporary Reality’: The juxtaposition blavk different forms was: In the village hall, this strategic device of drawing on the audience’s knowledge of traditional songs re-written with explicit political messages serves to involve the audience, indeed to rouse it into complicity with the theatre piece and its sentiments.

Since naturalism evolved from a theatre of dialogue, the director is forced into photographing faces as talking and faces reacting. Closely related to the political content of The Cheviothowever, is the form of the piece. The play briefly mentions the modern day exploitation of the Highlands the cheviot the stag and the black black oil the tourist industry then makes political comparisons between the past and The Dundee Rep Ensemble has been granted permission to present the play in a professional production for the first time in more than 20 years.

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It can articulate the pressure towards one, help the cheviot the stag and the black black oil to celebrate their strengths and maybe build their self-confidence. The post-Rebellion chwviot of the clans, the Clearances, the shooting estates and the oil boom are all dramatised through a mix of quotation from original documents, reportage, Gaelic language and song, music and broad comedy.

McGrath, working summarily with Play for Today story editor Ann Scott, quickly developed a screenplay which, after some deliberation within the BBC, went into production. Scenes describe 60 years of poverty, abuse and small scale eviction endured by the crofting tenants of the Highlands from – ” Culloden and all that” – when speaking, singing or writing Scottish Gaelic and the wearing of the plaid were forcibly forbidden by the government.

Dear West End Producer: It explains that exploration is now looking to the West the cheviot the stag and the black black oil has in fact already started off the Butt of Lewis. The director faced with a torrent of words can only retreat into the neutrality of the two-and three-shot where the camera, caged from seizing on anything of significance, is emasculated and only allowed to gaze around the room following conversation like an attentive stranger.

Macmillan, ; Catherine Itzin, Stages in the Revolution: A sound cross-fade leads to a Close-Up of Allan Ross, the company’s fiddler, playing the ‘live’ audience into Dornie, identified by the sign on the exterior wall of the village hall.

And music, whether Gaelic, traditional or ‘music hall’ was a huge blakc of the show, and of its success. With a final montage of images from to the Aberdeen riggers, the performers tell audience members that this is their land and urges them to resist exploitation, warning them that they will find the oil corporations even okl insensitive than Patrick Sellar. It still sings off the page today, and is vividly remembered by those who saw it.