(Peter Crawley’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 10/8.)
Were it not for the heroic reconstruction efforts of Scotland’s Untitled Projects, there’s a good chance we’d never have heard of the maverick Scottish director Paul Bright at all. There are some good reasons for this: theatre is an ephemeral business, a challenge to document, and careers as short-lived and radical as Bright’s are easily forgotten.
However, dutiful as director Stewart Laing, writer Pamela Carter and performer George Anton appear to be, their artfully thorough presentation of an incredibly ambitious production from the late 1980s realises that this isn’t really about Bright; it is a riveting study in obsession.
Obsession befits Bright’s source material: James Hogg’s complex 19th-century novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, an elaborate experiment in truth and fiction that presented itself as a real history of a soul’s corruption, ruptured by shifting devices and layers of commentary.