April 28 - May 6
Duns Volunteer Hall
BORDERLANDS DOUBLE BILL:
Saturday 29 April
2pm Main Stage,
Duns Volunteer Hall
The Fatal Misjudgement
By Carol Robson
The Fatal Misjudgement follows Mary Queen of Scots as she makes her escape over the English border, across the Solway Firth in 1568, with high hopes of a glorious return at the head of an army raised with the help of her cousin Elizabeth I.
She confides in her lifelong companion, Mary Seaton, as they realise that their refuge is no more than captivity and that her future will lie in the hands of the real power behind the English throne ... her nemesis, William Cecil, Lord Burghley.
Cast: Marie Foreman - Mary Queen of Scots
Hannah Renton - Mary Seaton
Ben Foreman - Lord Burghley
Chris Drewery - Sir Nicholas Throckmorton
Saturday 29 April 2023
2.30pm Main Stage
Duns Volunteer Hall
The King's Pin - A Ghost Story
By Craig Knight
The Battle of Flodden took place on September 9th, 1513.
Among the thousands of Scottish dead was the King himself, except rumours persisted of James IV surviving the carnage, thanksto an unearthly gift bestowed in Linlithgow Chapel on the eve of battle. The sinister power of the King's Pin persists down the centuries, its capacity for magic, murder and revenge undiluted by time ...
Cast: Craig Knight - Thomas Howard, Earl of Surry/ Man
Kate Lester - Woman 1/Woman 2.
A WORD ABOUT THE KING'S PIN
from its author, Craig Knight
The King’s Pin first ran over Zoom, then on the radio, before finally making it to the stage. It was well worth the journey. We even had complaints. Apparently, the play contained foul language (entirely true), and was anti-English (not at all). But as a ****ing English author these accusations delighted me.
James IV lies at the root of the piece. An intelligent, but perfidious, monarch who killed his father, moved into the old man’s job and later signed competing pacts: one each with those firm pals, France and England (the latter featuring Henry VIII, known to all as moral rectitude dressed in a codpiece). Had James then not torn up the Treaty of Perpetual Peace – seeing his chance to defeat a smaller English army under Catherine of Aragon, while the big fellah was occupied with a scrap across the channel – there would have been no Battle of Flodden, no decimation of Scotland’s leading families and potentially a different relationship taking shape across the River Tweed.
Far more importantly, there would have been no King’s Pin. I know!
We would have been denied the directorial skill of Eloner Crawford, whose ideas shaped our actions. We would never have seen the superb Kate Lester play the vengeful witch, threatening to chase her quarry across more than five centuries. Nor would we have benefitted from Kate’s clever idea – and Glen Shepherd’s brilliant execution – of filming the world in the aftermath of James’s defeat, interleaving three cinema scenes with four from the 21st century end game, which were played out on stage.
This juxtaposition worked well. Two pairs of markedly similar characters, one Scottish woman and an English man in each era , were seemingly bound by events across the spectrum of time. All of them linked by that most enigmatic piece of Scottish jewellery, The King’s Pin. This mythological keepsake had been made by a ghost and given to a King under a matriarch’s Valkyric direction. It had the power to protect the monarch’s life, dooming another in his stead and fooling his enemy.
On stage, the modern man, with tendrils of family history stretching back to Catherine of Aragon’s liegeman, makes an emotional devotion to his fiancée, the gift of a family heirloom, a battered, but still stabbingly sharp, ancient kilt pin. His intended is the very facsimile of the mysterious Borders Witch who had parted with the King’s Pin, centuries earlier, but only under the threat of the massacre of her kind. This witch had sworn revenge on the man who took her bloodied ornament, with the passage of time being no obstacle to her malice.
Could the tatty, tarnished, unpromising relic, have any connection to the supernatural cipher once used by James IV? And surely no force on earth could allow one woman to burn with necromantic fury for half a millennium? Giving her power to hunt down the now guileless, unknowing male, who – the medieval sorceress had sworn – had twisted her out of the most malign piece of silverware to be found on either side of the warring border?
Impossible, although …
Still Nothing Ever Happens in Duns:
A Right Rollicking Tale of Gold Digging
Review by Taff Thomas.
The Volunteer Hall, Duns, was busy through the recent PlayFest, but never as busy as for the night when local hero Bob Noble’s latest show, Still Nothing Ever Happens in Duns, hit the boards.
They were squeezing folk in as the lights went up on a rollicking tale of excitement and subterfuge around the Merse: Robert McRob, ably played by our very own John McEwen, sets the moors alight as news breaks of a meterorite of solid space gold thumping into the Lammermuirs on his farm.
Over the next couple of hours, they were rolling in the aisles as the tale is told of how Duns deals with the influx of gold diggers and media. Global H12 TV presenter Zak (Ben Foreman) checks into the entirely fictional Hen and Crow where publicans Ronnie and Red (Nigel Warren and Emma Lindsay) play host to Australian pan handlers Ange and Margy (Kate Lester and Anne Hartley). With Stefan the Eastern European (Alex Wilson) they battle to get to the crater full of carats that is Fireball Hollow, whilst our local bobby, Peter the Policeman, (Peter Lerpiniere) tries to hold the fort until HM Government in the form of Roger (Eric Branse-Instone) tries to set up a protected scene of scientific interest so that they can claim the loot. Rob’s
son, Rory, (Logan Robertson)even comes back to “help” on the farm, whilst the younger generationrepresented by Jamie Mein, Ailsa Renton and Alexa McKenzie actually manage to capture the historic event on their phones.
Global media interest focusses on our wee Border town for a few days, almost turning the head of Rob’s partner Gloria (Christine Slater) until just as quickly as it arrived, the peat bog swallows up our rock visitor from outer space again. But that is not before our wily hero chips off a nano-nugget that will allow any worries about the loss of set aside to be set aside.
As the gold subside,s so does world interest and Duns returns to its normal, but the real reward is that Rob has his son Rory back at home.
Players playing about whilst leaving an underlying message that lingers on after the curtain falls.
Well played, Players !