at Soho Theatre, Friday 18th October 2013
“None of this is real,” Kieran Hurley tells us at the beginning of BEATS. He’s going to tell us a story, we are told, about a fifteen year-old boy and rave culture, using a DJ and VJ to help create a space in which it can happen. But though Hurley insists the tale is a fictional one, by the end of it you begin to question that idea. You can’t shake the feeling that, though the story is made up, it must have happened somewhere, to somebody, somehow. It’s a beautifully crafted, unashamedly political work, which asks us to examine notions of “collective empathy” and consider how we may find some new notion of togetherness in post-Thatcherite Britain.
The premise focusses – as Hurley tells us at the outset – on John Major’s policy of outlawing the gathering of people Continue reading “BEATS” by Kieran Hurley
*Originally written for A Younger Theatre*
About halfway through our conversation, Kieran Hurley tells me a brilliant and quietly moving anecdote about The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project, a show which Northern Stage ran nightly at their Edinburgh home of St Stephens this year. Each night, the show began with two artists picked from a group of six (of which Hurley was one) performing their take on a ‘border ballad’ before handing over to an ‘epic ballad’. Here, a new artist would add one verse to a growing ballad each night to create a winding, complex story about a child born on the eve of Scottish independence. Before each show, Hurley tells me, the cast would get together to rehearse briefly in order to go over bits which needed clarifying. Then, he says, “we would get to the bit when the new balladeer would read their bit. And what I realised actually was that the rehearsals in themselves were like a céilidh [a gathering of people each presenting a party piece, or ‘turn’] … everyone had their bit that they did and we knew the bit that the community had brought to the table, and then we’d welcome in a new guest into the ‘living room’ where our céilidh was happening and everyone would hush and turn to the new guest because the new guest was going to do a ‘turn’.” Continue reading Interview: Kieran Hurley
*Originally written with Catherine Love for Exeunt*
Dan: In the opening address to audiences of The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project, Lorne Campbell attempts to convey his own internal struggle when considering the question of the referendum of Scottish independence next year. He initially began as leaning towards being anti-independence, but after talking to other artists and friends, he realised it wasn’t as simple as he thought, causing him to enter a state of confusion about the whole thing. Now, a few months down the line, as this massive, knotty, crazy idea gains traction, he realises he is just as confused. But it’s “a higher quality of confusion”.
And, to me, this is what makes The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project so special, inhabiting a position far more interesting and exciting than Tim Price’s I’m With the Band. Continue reading “The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project” – A Conversation