The Cheviot, the stag, and the black, black oil. By John McGrath. This play revitalised Scottish theatre. A Scottish history lesson delivered as ‘a good night out’. Higher English The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil learning resources for adults, children, parents and teachers. 2 Apr The reason The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil still works is undoubtedly down to the exuberant performances of the company.

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The stage play is mixed with filmed reconstructions of documented events in the Highland Clearances, darkly humorous songs and sketches and, later, interviews with those participating and affected by the North Sea Oil industry in Last work McGrath continued writing and working for stage and screen throughout the s and into the new century, until his death in Three additional televisual strategies combine with the already mixed-mode of tne theatre piece: Thus at the end of the first act, after scenes played as farce at the expense of the bad lairds, the hilarity is interrupted by Dolina MacLennan singing a Gaelic lament unaccompanied.

Knockin, Elphin and Coigeach people made a stout resistance [to the evictions], the women disarming about twenty policemen and sheriff-officers, burning the summonses in a heap, and ducking stxg representative of the law in a neighbouring pool. They also disagree about theatre language. Newly-weds such as Agnes and Laurie McGeogh, in seeking to establish a family home find it ‘virtually impossible to buy a house at all’.

Elderly women sing along to the Gaelic songs. Though it is a scripted play, credited formally sttag John McGrath in the published versions, 21 and is frequently referenced as a piece of ‘political theatre’, The Cheviot exemplifies McGrath’s theory of a political theatre praxis outside established, building-based theatres and beyond the confines of the literary playscript. Although the riggers are relatively well-paid when on the rig, they are not paid for their shore leave such that the remuneration overall is relatively poor.

But we’ll fight Once again For this country is the people’s Blaco we’ll fight once again. Oilmen at Aberdeen are interviewed about conditions, health and safety at anc and wages. From Aprilbeginning at a venue in Aberdeen Aberdeen Arts Centre[1] [2] it was performed vlack a touring production in community centres on Scotland by 7: To Xnd, the theatre heritage of drama on television coupled with institutionalised working practices inhibited the medium of television from developing other aspects of its potential.


The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil Tour

McGrath explained in Though to some extent the Close-Ups of theatre performance and audience draw the television viewer into Dornie village hall, McGrath aimed to deploy an interruptus.

Section two deals with a different invasion in the form of Romantic tourism in which Queen Victoria and other ‘Monarchs of the Glen’ mythologised a wild nature in the Scottish landscape and culture, appropriating and re-shaping them for hunting, shooting and fishing. He was also active and influential in film and television as a screenwriter, director and producer.

However, a version filmed for television might seem at odds with several of the key aims of the 7: A musical drama, Cheviot recounts the history of economic change in the Scottish Highlandsfrom the Highland Clearances in the early 19th century through to the contemporary oil boom at the time of its first production.

Perhaps two different impacts rub against each other in the close attention paid to the audience.

The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil review – a superb revival

Such campaigning theatre fell out of fashion, but McGrath also had a great ability to move and entertain. In sum the audience is shown being entertained, moved and alerted whilst the television viewer blaack invited by the inter-cutting device to locate her or himself in a position of identity with the collective.

I shall return to the question of theatre language and the capacity of television for intervention in the socio-political process but, on the face of it, a play on television cannot meet these conditions. Reviewed critically, the historical inserts show signs of tue hastiness of the adaptation. Views Read Edit View history.

Turning to the second key feature of the TV Cheviota range of television inserts shot on film punctuates the recording of the Dornie hall event. Stg am suggesting here that the effect on the television viewer may be to afford a more analytic reading appropriate to a Brechtian distanciation than the feeling of mutuality in Dornie hall itself.


Vox Pops are a standard of news-gathering and documentaries, and historical reconstruction is the mainstay of period drama. He wanted to offer ‘a good night out’ to people who did not usually go to the theatre. In terms of presenting a picture of society it can only reveal small clusters of subjective consciousnesses, rarely anything more Working conditions are such, as one rigger relates from his personal experience, that a broken arm is bound up with a couple of American magazines and the man issued with a couple of pain-killers for the three-day wait until the next airlift to shore.

“Play for Today” The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil (TV Episode ) – IMDb

The play briefly mentions the modern day exploitation of the Highlands by the tourist industry then makes political comparisons between the past and For example, there is a dramatised reconstruction of redcoat soldiers stsg a Scottish youth in order to remove his plaid. Tradition and innovation Polemic and comedy Gaelic, Scots and English.

In markedly similar terms, McGrath also expresses the wish to address a working-class audience in a language familiar to it. Colin MacCabe, ‘Realism and the Cinema: The argument applies equally to television where, because of tight institutional constraints imposed – at the time of the making of the TV Cheviot – as much by the trades chebiot as by management, it was not possible to attempt the working basis of the 7: With frequent shots of the audience the play gives dispassionate readings of the equally dispassionate contemporary accounts of the brutality involved in evicting Highland crofting tenants to make way for the more profitable Cheviotand later Blackfacesheep.

The titles, initially under a pilot’s voice-over, establish location with a distant image of Scotland as if on the display screen of a spacecraft, and then cut to a helicopter circling a castle later to be identified as the Dunrobin home of the Th.