Troubador Macbyrd, or a Mischief of Magpies

Released: 28/04/2017

ISBN: 9781788037273

Format: Paperback

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Macbyrd, or a Mischief of Magpies

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The play deals with the relationship between middle class conventional society and 'the outsiders' who apparently threaten our values. The magpies are the edgy 'in-betweeners' who stoke the conflict. This theme is taken up in both stories, that of the 'oomans and the birds. In the case of the 'ooman story it is the real upstart Hitler who threatens the settled life of the village, but also the perceived threat of gypsies, fifth columnists and black marketers. Among the birds it is the working class upstart raven, Macbyrd, who challenged and destroys the swan, symbol of the monarchy and the moneyed classes, the threat of dispossessed 'rising up', but also 'foreigners' in the form if the Indian bush lark. Change is the problem, or perceived change; we don't want our settled order to be messed with by 'outsiders'. How do we deal with it? Is it good or evil? Commedia has always been about the struggle between the powerful and the dispossessed. Not that we take a political position. One thing I have learnt as a Left winger working in a 'conservative' part of the country is that the important thing is not to tell people what we think they should believe – that is insulting – but rather to seek for and appeal to the humanity in people whatever their political views – and sense of how we, in our largely middle class comfortable worlds, deal with change when we appear to be threatened by outsiders. It turned out to be particularly poignant in 2016 with Brexit and its anxiety about 'foreigners'. To quote from the programme 'Are these things frightening, or are they just change? Is it a nettle we have to grasp, or a new world? I guess in the end of the play comes down in favour of the bravery of keeping one's own standards of decency, just carrying on, the heroism or ordinariness, Lil's and George's kind of heroism, and an admiration of those who when it come to it step up, like Wilf, and do the right thing.' But then hopefully you will know this already because you were there when the play happened.

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