Citizen Scotland cordially invites you to take part in a focus group that will define the very future of the nation – for better or worse. An immersive theatrical experience that confronts Scottish identity. Award-winning writer and spoken word artist Kevin P Gilday (Sonnet Youth, National Theatre of Scotland, BBC) turns a hilariously caustic eye on notions of nationhood and patriotism. From history to inventions, language to neighbourly relations, the independence referendum to the toxic mire of present political debate – he dissects the still-beating dark heart of the country with new Fringe show, Suffering from Scottishness.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how excited are you?
I’m buzzing to finally show the world what I’ve been working on. It’s been a hard shift to bring it all together but a full run at a great venue like Assembly Roxy is just the place to bring this concept to life.
TF: Suffering from Scottishness certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
The concept is that in the (very) near future Scotland has been given power over its own citizenship. My character, Joe, is there to run a focus group with the audience in an attempt to work out what questions we’d ask in the first ever Scottish Citizenship Test. Through this we start to have a darkly comedic exploration of the Scottish identity. What makes you Scottish? Can it be taught? Who gets to decide?
After each question is presented, the audience will vote on whether they want it to be included or not so there’s a big interactive element to the show too.
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
I’ve been wanting to write a show about Scottish identity for years. I was brought up in the Irish-Catholic-West of Scotland tradition so I never felt particularly Scottish until I was older. That idea of your identity being something that is split or decided by someone higher up than you is really interesting to me. It took a while but I found the right concept to really explore these ideas.
TF: Have you been to the Fringe before, is there anything you’re keen to see whilst in Edinburgh?
I’ve performed at the fringe many times – from the free fringe to the BBC stage – and it’s always an experience (usually a good one). I’m looking forward to catching Girlhood by my Sonnet Youth partner Cat Hepburn. Other shows I’m excited about seeing: Daddy Drag by Leyla Josephine, Umbrella Man by Colin Bramwell, This Script by Jenny Lindsay, Confessionals by Victoria McNulty and, of course, Colonel Mustard and the Big Bad Wolf. I’m also looking forward to catching some new stand-up from the likes of Amelia Bayler, Rosco Mcclelland, Richard Brown and Chris Macarthur-Boyd.
TF: And what are your plans beyond the Fringe?
I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into some new projects – a traditional stage play, a TV pilot and a novel – as well as hosting and organising the new season of Sonnet Youth. I’ll also have a new album coming out with my musical project, Kevin P. Gilday & The Glasgow Cross, at some point too – so keep your eyes peeled for that.
You can see Suffering from Scottishness at Assembly Roxy, Downstairs from 31 July – 26 August (not 7, 13, or 20) at 17:10. For tickets, please visit www.assemblyfestival.com.