Full houses for dramatic programme

The actors from the four plays, with director Jacquie Crago kneeling at the front.
The actors from the four plays, with director Jacquie Crago kneeling at the front.

The Galloway Shorts programme took place at the Swallow Theatre in front of full houses last Friday and Saturday.

The programme is a collection of four short plays by local writers Anne Dunford, Vivien Jones and the much-missed Jacquie Swift.

Although written independently, the unifying theme of becoming older stands out: the main character in Lily is nearing her 99th birthday in a care home; Ron, in Visiting, has led a double life for years and now just wants peace and quiet; Call Me John is a moving piece about the slow disintegration of Jock’s wife, his marriage and his life; and, in A Matter of Principle, Maisie is celebrating her 18th birthday and about to embark on her life as an adult.

Each of the plays show the problems of ageing, using humour to relieve the pathos and to demonstrate the indomitable spirit of people making the most of situations they find terrifying. Death is never far away but each character in her/his own way, while accepting the inevitable, is resigned to go out fighting. There is a lack of sentimentality that is refreshing and the unfolding dramas draw the audience into each situation, sharing the emotions portrayed by local actors Veronica Almgill, Paddy Townend, Eileen Williams, Mark Laird, Amanda Sunderland, David Sumner, Stefan Lomako, Gayle McCutcheon and Amy-Dee Tighe. The whole experience was deeply moving.

The writers and actors are all local and the performances were presented locally in the Swallow Theatre, Scotland’s smallest theatre venue. The plays, however, were developed with professional director Jaquie Crago, who has been involved in the theatre for the past 45 years and is currently resident voice and dialect coach for the National Theatre’s acclaimed production War Horse. She is also a regular freelance contributor to the RSC’s Voice and Text Department.

Kriss Nichol