Classic Historical Drama

Period 1911-19; A rural community in Aberdeenshire 120mins

M10 F10 + extras (doubling possible)

Characters: The Guthries – Chris (daughter), John (Father); Jean (Mother); Will (Brother); Tam and Janet (Uncle and Aunt). Neighbours Chae, Kirsty and Marget Strachan; Rob Duncan. Ewan Tavendale (Chris’ husband). Villagers (Mrs Mutch, Ellison, Munro, Garthmore). Rev Gibbon, Rev Colquhon, Dr Meldrum, Lawyer, Tinker, Farmers and other members of the community

Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s sprawling novel is a powerful evocation of how the old way of life and heritage of a rural Scottish community was changed for ever by the First World War. Told through the coming-of-age story of a young woman, Chris Guthrie’s personal journey through adversity, her growth from a dutiful farmer’s daughter into a strong-minded farmer, wife, mother and ultimately war widow, is played against the destruction of the world of crofters and peasant farmers in the face of relentless 20th-century modernisation – the “Sunset” of the title. The book was voted “Scotland’s Favourite Novel” in the BBC “Love to Read” poll.

Photos by Marion Donohoe and Derek Blackwood

There have been other stage versions of this work over the years, but we particularly wanted to capture Gibbon’s original concept and lyrical style. Rather than using a narrator or theatrical clichés such as actors coming “out of character” to tell the audience what happened next – such artificial constructs destroy the continuity and sense of drama – this adaptation lets the villagers tell their story themselves, creating a convincing sense of a community. Although many of the parts can be doubled (or trebled) this adaptation, with up to 25+ characters and a simple composite set, with changes done mainly by sound and lighting) dominated by the standing stones which preside unchangingly over the land as people come and go, is also particularly suited for a community drama, college or school production. There’s a part here for everyone, with a wide range of abilities.

Premiered by Leitheatre in November 2018, on the 100th anniversary of the Armistice which ended the First World War

“The flow of the story of Chris Guthrie never falters and her tale of rural life in Aberdeenshire in the early 20th century comes across with real clarity.” All Edinburgh Theatre

Click here to get a downloadble PDF extract from the full script. For full reading copies or details of performing rights, contact me for details. Please note that permission must always be obtained beforehand for all performances.

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