David Greig

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Plays by David Greig

The American Pilot

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

A spy plane crash-lands in a remote valley in a distant country. The local villagers take in the wounded pilot and argue his fate. The American Pilot explores the way the world sees America and the way America sees the world.

The American Pilot premiered with the RSC at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, in April 2005.

The Architect

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Architect is a play of crumbling walls and relationships, about the eternally disappointing gap between an idea and its reality.

At the play’s centre is Leo, once a highly successful architect, now in charge of designing ‘access’, or in other words, car parks. In the seventies he built a high-concept and cheap-to-build housing estate shaped like Stonehenge, which won awards and praise for its innovation from everyone except the uncomfortable residents.

Now, as they petition for it to be knocked down and rebuilt, Leo finds that his family is collapsing too. His wife is obsessed by pervasive pollution, unable to move for fear of pesticides and decay. His son is lost in day-dreams about jobs he will never get, and a tense, destructive relationship with a man he met in a public toilet, while his daughter hitchhikes all night with long-distance lorry drivers.

The Architect is a taut, barbed story about vision and the cold light of day. Greig’s play was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh in 1996.

Being Norwegian

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Sean, just out of prison, invites Lisa back to his flat for a drink. Lisa says she's Norwegian. Is Sean Norwegian too? In this dark, funny encounter two outsiders reach out to each other across the deep fjords of the heart.

'In Norway we're used to darkness in people's heads. We even prefer it. Because if there is no darkness then what in heaven's name are you thinking about? We Norwegians think people who are happy are perhaps just a little above themselves, don't you?'

Being Norwegian was first broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland in December 2003 and first performed for the stage, in a coproduction between A Play, a Pie and a Pint and Paines Plough, at Òran Mór, Glasgow, in October 2007.

Brewers Fayre

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

David Greig: Plays 1 brings together four key plays by the playwright described by the Daily Telegraph as 'one of the most interesting and adventurous British dramatists of his generation'.

In Outlying Island two young Cambridge ornithologists are sent to a remote island. Together with its authoritarian leaseholder and his niece they observe an innocence that is about to be destroyed forever. San Diego offers a strange and occasionally nightmarish journey into the heart of the contemporary American dream, weaving together stories of illegal immigrants, of film stars and whores, and even of the playwright himself. Pyrenees follows a man found lying in the snow in the foothills as he tries to piece together his identity. In The American Pilot a crash-landing in a remote valley in a distant country raises questions about how the world sees America and how America sees the world.

The collection also includes a trilogy of short plays, Being Norwegian, Kyoto and Brewers Fayre, published here for the first time.

Outlying Island

'I can't recommend it highly enough . A rich, charged play, veering between the comic and the poetic as innocence gives way to experience.' Telegraph

San Diego

'A surreal and intriguing piece of theatre . dazzling . Home and awake from the mythical dream that is San Diego, the name David Greig remains imprinted on our minds.' Independent

Pyrenees

'All the wit and intelligence of previous works, probing away at concerns that are both contemporary and timeless...A classy, rewarding, engaging drama, Greig's best to date.' The Times

The American Pilot

'One of the most intellectually stimulating dramatists around. A richly provocative new play.' Guardian

Casanova

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Suspect Culture's Casanova follows the travels of an internationally renowned artist who is curating the final exhibition of his illustrious career: an account of his life as the world's greatest lover. As the exhibition nears completion and the opening in his home town approaches, a cuckolded husband's plan to avenge the loss of his wife also draws to a close.

Raising questions about love, honesty and life lived in the pursuit of pleasure, Casanova is an uncompromising examination of contemporary sex and morality.

Casanova premiered at Tron Theatre, Glasgow, in February 2001.

The cosmonaut's last message to the woman he once loved in the former Soviet Union

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

An elusive, enchanting play about disconnection in which everything is intricately connected. Two Soviet cosmonauts, losing contact with the world they left behind; a Scottish civil servant in the throes of a midlife crisis; a Norwegian peace negotiator; a Russian erotic dancer; a French UFO researcher and an Edinburgh speech therapist in search of her missing husband are brought together through an extraordinary thread of connections, which bring us into contact with both the intimate and the epic.

As messages echo unheard between earth and sky, The Cosmonaut's Last Message... explores the incessant search for harmony and peace within all of us.

The play premiered in 1999 at the Ustinov Studio Theatre Royal, Bath.

Dunsinane

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Late at night in a foreign land, an English army sweeps through the landscape under cover of darkness and takes the seat of power. Struggling to contain his men and the ambitions of his superiors, the commanding officer attempts to negotiate the unspoken rules of this alien country. He seeks to restore peace to a country ravaged by war. This is Scotland in the eleventh century at the height of the fight for succession of the Scottish throne.

David Greig's Dunsinane premiered in February 2010 at Hampstead Theatre, London, in a production by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Europe

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Europe is set in an empty railway station at an unnamed border town, where the trains don’t stop anymore, and the town is turning hollow and introverted.

Sava and Katia are economic refugees, waiting at the station so they can disappear to somewhere that has crowds and people. The stationmaster, Fret, isn’t very happy that they are spending the night on the station platform, but they haven’t been in anyone’s way, as all services to anywhere are cancelled. His assistant Adele spends her mornings on the roof of the station, watching trains filled with people and newspapers thundering past to exciting places, while her husband rants against immigrants in the only bar the town has.

Europe is an intimate story about disenfranchisement, disconnection, love and longing, in any small unnoticed European town lost in a larger world. The play was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh in 1994.

Kyoto

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Dan and Lucie first met fifteen years ago at the Kyoto world conference on climate change. He was a young civil servant, and she a polar scientist. Despite knowing they were meant for each other, they missed their opportunity for happiness over and over again – until now, when they finally decide to take a chance and go for it.

Kyoto was first performed at Òran Mór, Glasgow, on 9 March 2009.

The Monster in The Hall

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Duck Macatarsney cares for her biker dad, Duke, whose MS is getting worse. Duke is a spliff-smoking (for medicinal reasons you understand), bike-riding, heavy-metal- and horror-movie-loving, pizza-eating widower who has brought up Duck since the death of her mum in a crash. The two of them are just about surviving when one morning the Duke wakes up blind and the Duck hears Social Services are coming to take her away.

The Monster in the Hall follows Duck as she tries to protect her world from the terrifying prospect of change.

The Monster in the Hall premiered at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, in autumn 2010, and was staged at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh in 2011 as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Picture of David Greig

David Greig was born in Edinburgh. His plays include Europe, The Architect, The Speculator, The Cosmonaut's Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union, Outlying Islands, San Diego, Pyrenees, The American Pilot, Yellow Moon: The Ballad of Leila and Lee, Damascus, Midsummer [a play with songs], Dunsinane, The Monster in the Hall and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart. In 1990 he co-founded Suspect Culture to produce collaborative, experimental theatre work. His translations and adaptations include Camus's Caligula, Euripides' The Bacchae, Strindberg's Creditors and J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan.