Sunday, October 01, 2006

On the Lochhead text

A wonderful deliver of the second act of Lochhead's Mary Queen of Scots got her Head Chopped Off. The series of scenes showed a remarkable array of styles: all of which were effective, none of which were dull, and together all of which were illuminating. I want to thank you all very much for your effort and engagement: I am very satisfied.

As I said when the judges were in recess, the dramaturgy brought out features of Scottishness muted in the reading of text (with due apologies to Dr. Johnson.) This, of course, was Lochhead's intention, and she would be very proud to hear of her success. The bawdyness and the humour were mentioned specifically after the performance, and these are the most immediately obvious features. But I would like to draw your attention to two additionally important elements of Scotsness that the play puts forward: the rudeness and the rough energy.

"Rude" in its etymologically proper sense of uncultured and rough-edged, and roughly energetic in the sense of Rob Roy of the Highlands: not weakened and tamed by the artificialities and cultivated intrigues of the city and town. Keep these concepts in mind, and make note of the importance of (using Lochhead's formulation) Frenchification as we progress through our study of the course texts.

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