What is the significance of music as a form of storytelling in Scottish theatre, with particular reference to The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black Back Oil by John McGrath, and Glasgow Girls by Cora Bissett.
(2017) What is the significance of music as a form of storytelling in Scottish theatre, with particular reference to The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black Back Oil by John McGrath, and Glasgow Girls by Cora Bissett., no. 39.
Whether a play uses little music or a lot of music, it still uses that music to help form the narrative. John McGrath in his plays used music to do just that, particularly in his play The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black Black Oil (1973), which is one of the main plays in discussion throughout this study. This study will look at how McGrath took elements from the music halls and the ceilidhs to tell the story of the Highland clearances, and how by using the music McGrath highlights the emotional plight of those who suffered during that time. This study will also use examples from Glasgow Girls (2012) by Cora Bissett to show how music is used in Scottish theatre today to tell a story. Since Glasgow Girls (2012) follows a more traditional structure of a musical, the study will draw comparisons of the two plays in which they use the music to tell the emotional and political details of the story. To support this study, there is research on the history of Scottish music hall and Scottish theatre, then it looks into what qualifies as 'Scottish' to further explore why music on a Scottish stage helps to amplify the notion of Scottish identity and 'Scottishness'. The aim of the study is to explore how music plays a significant role by being used as a comfort in The Cheviot (1973) and to make a political point in Glasgow Girls (2012), and even though both use music in different ways, they both coincide with that notion of identity that comes through a musical narrative.