2016 House Programs Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour - Page 2
~ THE TIMES, THE HERALD, THE SCOTSMAN
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.