Tag Archives: Alan Cumming

WHAT TO WATCH: National Theatre of Scotland- New Scenes for Survival films and first BBC Scotland broadcasts and iPlayer releases revealed

Scenes for Survival, the ongoing digital project created by the National Theatre of Scotland, continues to entertain audiences with new weekly releases across BBC and National Theatre of Scotland online platforms.

 

The project is being delivered by the National Theatre of Scotland in association with BBC Scotland, Screen Scotland, BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine project, and Scotland’s leading theatre venues and companies, with support from Hopscotch Films, and sees a host of Scottish performers, writers, and directors creating short pieces of digital theatre remotely from their personal spaces of isolation, with films released online for audiences to enjoy for free.

The latest Scenes for Survival releases for the week of 03 August will include the first part of Out of the Woods, a hilarious and sinister new three-episode short starring Alan Cumming. Written by Johnny McKnight and directed by Andrew Panton, Out of the Woods stars Cumming as a father struggling to find his way through the woods on the way to pick up his daughter from her other dad, before his real intentions slowly become clear.

 

The short series was filmed entirely by Cumming in woodland near his home in the Catskills mountain range in New York State. The first episode will be released online at 9pm on Mon 03 August, while the following two episodes will be released on Mon 10 and Mon 17 August respectively. Out of the Woods is produced in association with Dundee Rep Theatre.

The other two Scenes for Survival releases for the week will include Alone Part 2 on Wed 05 Aug, a warm-hearted follow up to comedian Janey Godley’s original Scenes for Survival film Alone, and Dirlo – Am Fear Maireann / Dirlo – The Survivor on 07 Aug, a new Gaelic-language short from writer Iain Macrae.

Alone Part 2 reunites Godley and director Caitlin Skinner, and once again stars Godley as long-suffering housewife Betty, now freed from the influence of her controlling husband and able to reach out to her son Stephen, played by Jack Lowden, as the two are finally able to plan their futures. The piece was created following the overwhelming positive response to the first film, and has been partly inspired by audience feedback asking for a follow-up to Betty’s story.

Dirlo – Am Fear Maireann / Dirlo – The Survivor is a new short from writer Iain Macrae, directed by Liz Caruthers, and starring Daibhidh Walker as an isolated shepherd working on a remote Hebridean island who comes into conflict with his only companion. It is the first Scenes for Survival film performed entirely in Gaelic, and is produced in association with Theatre Gu Leòr.

BBC iPlayer releases and BBC Scotland broadcasts

Out of the Woods will also be one of the first Scenes for Survival shorts made available to audiences through the BBC iPlayer in August. The first episode will appear on the platform from 03 August alongside a selection of other pieces from the project, including exclusive Ian Rankin short Rebus: The Lockdown Blues, starring Brian Cox as the legendary Edinburgh cop; Janey Godley’s darkly-comic lockdown short Alone; and Joseph Knight, an extract from May Sumbwanyambe’s forthcoming play Enough of Him starring Patrick Martins and Emma King, based on the true story of Joseph Knight, an African man brought to Scotland as a slave in the 18th century who eventually sued for his freedom.

 

Other pieces appearing on the iPlayer later in August will include A Mug’s Game, a sobering reflection on the legacy of asbestos poisoning in the Glasgow shipyards featuring Jonathan Watson, taken from Frances Poet’s play Fibres; The Banshee, a haunting comedy short from writer/director Greg Hemphill performed by Julie Wilson Nimmo; and The Domestic, a powerful tribute to the kindness of hospital staff starring Kristi MacDonald and written by Uma Nada Rajah, who has herself been working as an NHS staff nurse during the outbreak.

Further selections of Scenes for Survival shorts will be made available on the iPlayer every week through August, with 25 in total appearing on the service. Full details will be announced at a later date.

Next month will also see a selection of Scenes for Survival releases broadcast on the BBC Scotland channel for the first time, with three standalone Scenes for Survival films set to be screened on the channel in the coming weeks:

Larchview, written by Rob Drummond and featuring Mark Bonnar as a fictional government adviser coming to terms with his own major breach of the lockdown rules when he secretly visited a care home; Fatbaws, written by Douglas Maxwell, and starring Peter Mullan in a surreal and comic drama about a man in conflict with his garden birds after he changes the food in their bird-feeder; and First Things, written by Val McDermid and starring Elaine C. Smith as a big-hearted DJ on Radio Scotia trying to keep everyone’s spirits up during lockdown.

A three-part compilation of selected films from the project will also be broadcast on the BBC Scotland channel in August. Full details for these broadcasts will be announced.

Information on all Scenes for Survival films can be found at: www.bbc.co.uk/scenesforsurvival and www.nationaltheatrescotland.com/scenesforsurvival

 

The Longest Summer– single release

Written by Noisemaker (Scott Gilmour & Claire McKenzie) and directed by Jemima Levick, The Longest Summer sees Richard Rankin star in a lyrical, life-affirming musical journey through childhood and hardship during the current crisis, celebrating the beautiful things that the world still has to offer.

The film was first released online on Monday 27 July. Now the uplifting central song in the short film, sung by Rankin, is to be released as a standalone single. The track will be available through all major digital music distribution outlets from Tuesday 04 August.

All proceeds from the single will be donated to the Scenes for Survival Hardship Fund, which has been set up to support artists and those in the theatre industry who have been hardest hit financially by the current crisis.

Richard Rankin said:

“It’s been a privilege to work on The Longest Summer as part of Scenes for Survival with the wonderful creative team of Noisemaker and director Jemima Levick, and I’m thrilled that the film and song have resonated with so many people already. The song release is a brilliant way to continue that connection, and a great opportunity to raise some cash for a vitally important cause.“ 

The Scenes for Survival Hardship Fund is a fundraising campaign launched by the National Theatre of Scotland in association with the Federation of Scottish Theatre, the McGlashan Charitable Trust and leading Scottish Theatre organisations, to raise money for those in the sector who have been hardest hit financially and are experiencing drastic economic and emotional hardship.

All donations to this fund will go directly to provide support for those most impacted within Scotland, be they actors, writers, creatives, musicians, technicians or any others within our industry.

A sector-wide call out with information and details of how to apply for support from the SFS Hardship Fund will be launched in August 2020. The Federation of Scottish Theatre and the McGlashan Charitable Trust will ensure equitable distribution of the money raised.

REVIEW: Macbeth starring Alan Cumming, Tramway Theatre Glasgow 22nd June 2012

Alan Cumming has said:

“I have been obsessed with Macbeth for as long as I can remember. It was the first Shakespeare I ever read, the first I was ever in and it continues to haunt and inspire me”.

It is a brave man indeed who decides to take one of Shakespeare’s most loved plays and tackle it (almost) alone. It is a truly great actor who can single-handedly hold an entire audience in enraptured silence for over 100 minutes and leave them emotionally wrung dry by the end – Alan Cumming is that actor.

Cumming’s theatrical history in Scotland has mainly been as a comic actor – and a fine one at that, but we, his countrymen seem to forget the string of awards he trails in his wake for a series of exceptional dramatic performances. The words Tony, Emmy, Olivier, and BAFTA are liberally sprinkled in his CV. Here he gets the chance to finally show his talents. The skill, grace and ingenuity with which he seamlessly tells the story of Macbeth is utterly hypnotic. He imbues more emotion, power and most of all, understanding to the tortured Scottish monarch than many full casts have managed to achieve.

The atmospheric set design of a desolate, cold psychiatric hospital and the cinematic reactive lighting is chillingly effective in creating an oppressive Orwellian feel.

This production is something truly different and special.

This radical re-imagining of the Scottish play by National Theatre of Scotland is only running for 17 performances at the Tramway prior to the show moving to New York. Unfortunately as of writing this the production is sold-out, but returns can be found by ringing the box office. It may not however, be the last we see of this production – fingers crossed for a triumphant return.

Directed by John Tiffany and Andrew Goldberg

Set Designer Merle Hensel

Lighting Designer Natasha Chivers
Sound Designer Fergus O’Hare