LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
Dundee Rep & the National Theatre of Scotland
June 5-29, 2013
I was lucky enough to attend a press preview for National Theatre of Scotland‘s production of Let the Right One In at Dundee Rep. Here’s to forward thinking folks who realise what engaging with the creative community as well as trad media outlets can lead to (thanks, Eve Nicol in particular for inviting me via Twitter). But that’s nothing new for NToS: they’ve also engaged with the LTROI fan community, “We, The Infected” and built a location-based iPhone app, Other, which guides you through Dundee “uncovering hidden stories and buried secrets by finding locations and solving puzzles.”
The challenges of bringing this strange love story to the stage were myriad, both technical and creative. The set evokes both inside and outside at once; this is a practical concern, but it has an almost Lynchian otherworldliness, too, that fits the narrative well. The silver birches were locally sourced but immediately suggest Scandinavia. They were also a bit of a problem at first with the cast reporting a lot of splinters.
Indoor intrudes on outdoor: it’s odd to see the sofa that indicated Oskar and his mother’s apartment settled in the woods with a floor lamp lighting the woods as well as their home. Director John Tiffany spoke of how the community’s relationship to the forest begins to change as killings happen there and how the choreography of the boys attempts to reflect this. The set is amazing in its simple effectiveness.
Of course the real heart of the production is the actors. We had a chance to chat with a few of them: Lorraine M. McIntosh, who plays Oskar’s mum, Angus Miller, a native Dundonian who plays three of the male parts and Martin Quinn who plays Oskar. McIntosh has a number of credits both on stage and screen, and sings with Deacon Blue and as half of McIntoshRoss. Miller and Quinn are making their professional stage debuts, though both well seasoned in youth theatre.
They all spoke of the importance of making the emotional connections first. McIntosh mentioned the generous support of NToS in making possible a six week rehearsal schedule, which allowed them to get the relationships right before trying to work out the technical aspects of the play, which are many (including a swimming pool on stage). Miller enjoyed explaining the need for blood noseplugs and Quinn pointed out that McIntosh was the only one who didn’t end up with blood on her. “Just gin,” she quipped.
It’s not your usual theatre night out, and they’re all hoping the posters draw in a new audience. The two young men both said, “My mates don’t usually come to theatre events, but –” the lure of vampires and a popular film adaptation makes a lot of people curious. The scenes they ran for us showed both the emotion connections forged and the supernatural suspense that is bound to make this a success.
You’ll want to see this if you can: it will be legendary. Many of the fan community who can’t actually get to Scotland are funding seats for young people to go; the fans get a programme and ticket stub while a kid who might not have gone otherwise gets a chance to enjoy the local arts.
[Writer Wednesday will return next week.]