2016 House Programs Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour - Page 2

★★★★★ ~ THE TIMES, THE HERALD, THE SCOTSMAN AUSTRALIAN EXCLUSIVE OUR LADIES OF PERPETUAL SUCCOUR NATIONAL THEATRE OF SCOTLAND AND LIVE THEATRE Based on The Sopranos by ALAN WARNER Adapted by LEE HALL Directed by VICKY FEATHERSTONE Six Catholic schoolgirls travel to Edinburgh for a choral competition, but these sopranos are more interested in sex, smokes and Sambuca. This gleefully uplifting tribute to youth on the cusp of adulthood is a musical play about losing your virginity and finding yourself. Stunning six-part classical harmonies from the Age of Enlightenment give way to ELO and the whole show is punctuated with the dirtiest trash-talk a sixteen-year-old Scot could summon (and then some). Heartbreakingly bittersweet, searingly funny, terribly rude and possessed by an infectious spirit of play, this theatrical romp is a joyride you won’t soon forget. Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour marks the first visit to Melbourne for the world-renowned National Theatre of Scotland. Apologies if the girls make a mess. INTRODUCING OUR LADIES I first read Alan Warner’s The Sopranos when it came out. I laughed out loud more at this book than any book I can remember. I immediately recognised these girls. They were on the one hand incredibly modern but on the other they were part of a very old vein of British literature going right back to The Wife of Bath and beyond. Here was Life in all its vitality. The Sacred and the Profane smashed together. It was at once breathtakingly rude and transgressive but also exquisitely wrought with melancholy. The girls in the book seemed to get a heartbreaking vantage on the limitations of their lives by the act of exceeding them. It seemed so right about the rites of passage of adolescence. The formal rites are not sufficient so we invent our own. We dice with death to prove we are alive. We act with total irresponsibility to prove we are grown up. We do it in groups to feel uniquely individual. The book is fraught with these contradictions, but they are contradictions which we know not to be contradictory at all. That is how life is. So The Sopranos seemed perfect for the stage. Of course Vicky Featherstone at that time was Artistic Director at the National Theatre of Scotland and had long wanted to do it—but it was a chance meeting between us where I expressed my immense admiration for the book which led to us actually doing it on stage. After several years of negotiating over rights, Alan Warner gave us permission to give it a go—and here it is. It seemed to us that the girls of Our Ladies should tell their own story and when we realised that they should play all the parts, the style of the production fell into shape. In many ways this play is more like a gig than a play. It is set, I suppose, in the rather unprepossessing Mantrap—the only nightclub in the girls’ home town. But that’s alright because the play is about how the everyday is translated into the sacred, how the most sordid circumstances of our lives are the conditions of our deliverance, because they are ours. The play is about very ordinary acts of resistance and how that resistance transfigures us and affords us transcendence from the mire of our lives. These are Acts of Glory, manifest with the full force of Life. May we all take benediction from Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour. LEE HALL