How do you reconcile the love of your family with what they do for a living? That’s the circle that Scottish theatre maker Jenna Watt tries to square in her latest work Faslane.
Pacing around a set of stones that hold echoes of George Wylie’s parliament of stones at Edinburgh’s Regent Road, as well as holding hints of post nuclear rubble, Watt, with her chatty, informal, inclusive style brings the personal and political elements of being involved with Trident head to head.
Watt’s research into this quietly passionate piece of one-woman theatre involved her making several trips to the ‘strategically placed’ Clyde naval base and conducting interviews with MoD staff and CND activists along with her own experiences of anti-nuclear activism.
The result comes across as the witnessing of a personal journey of questioning and discovery that looks at the tension between her family members taking a pride in their work at Faslane - focussing on doing a good job for their family’s short term security and safety - and the reality of what the end product of that work is.
A pro-nuclear argument is that the UK has a ‘place at the table’ but from Watt’s frequent use of the two words ‘family’ and ‘protect’ invites the inference that the best table to be at is one offering human warmth not one peddling ‘units of horror’. Yet her first view of the Clyde’s ‘Leviathan’ is one of awe, and Trident is feminised during the narrative.
The text is accompanied by powerful sounds of drumming and what could be high speed heli blades from sound designer Kim Moore that add suitable menace. But there is the balance of levity in her Les Dawson style mimed delivery of the word ‘hippies’, her self-confessed bête noir, when she describes her visit to the Faslane peace camp.
Watt’s learning how the meaning of the semaphore CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) sign can slip across generations is symbolic of other generational shifts yet her text indicates a carrying on of the baton from peace campaigner of 30 years, Ava (‘not her real name’).
Watt creates a thoroughly absorbing perspective across the spectrum of polarised views on an important and emotive subject.
Faslane was originally presented in preview at Contact, Manchester as part of the Flying Solo festival.
5-28 August 2016 (not 15) at 7.15pm