Based on the work of Gary McNair, how does contemporary Scottish playwriting establish and affirm its sense of national identity?
Using the work of Gary McNair, the aim of this study is to identify how Scottish contemporary playwrights establish and affirm a sense of national identity within their work. The plays Donald Robertson is not a Stand-up Comedian (2014), A Gamblers Guide to Dying (2015), Locker Room Talk (2017) and Letters to Morrissey (2017) will be textually analysed in order to discover whether or not they prescribe to dominant representations of the nation. This study is grounded in research into the sociology of Scotland, including research into Scotland’s stereotypes, history and traditions. The three elements that are explored in the study are Scotland’s cultural signifiers, dominant masculine archetypes and the countries storytelling tradition; all important facets within an existing discourse of national identity in Scotland. Analysis of work of other contemporary playwrights including Liz Lochhead, John McGrath and Gregory Burke is also present in the body of this study in order to provide points of reference to other work that make up Scotland’s performance culture, and also to broaden the scope of the research on McNair to include comparisons and contrasts to other writers. The outcome of this study is that there is evidence to suggest McNair maintains dominant perceptions of Scottish national identity, predominantly when he seeks to create a personal identity within his plays. On the other hand the research also shows McNair has the capacity to confront existing discourses and power structures within society. Overall the study found that Scottish contemporary playwrights often take ownership of elements of national identity in order to then challenge the accepted ideas surrounding the countries cultural identity.