City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

A Play, A Pie and A Pint: Instructions for a Butterfly Collector / The Archivist

By Irene Brown - Posted on 23 February 2011

Show Details
Traverse Theatre
Òran Mór in association with the National Theatre of Scotland and the Traverse Theatre
Mariana Eva Perez (writer - Argentina), Hector Levy(writer - Argentina), Lewis Heatherington (adaptor), Graham McLaren (director), David MacLennan (producer), Susannah Armitage (associate producer), Patrick McGurn (designer), Daniel Dixon (stage manager), Carrie Westwater (assistant director), Kirstin Hogg (assistant designer), Sarah MacFarlane (trainee producer)
Nalini Chetty (Ana), Ian Dunn (Felix), Lucianne McEvoy (woman)
Running time: 

This powerful double bill is the second in this season of A Play, A Pie and A Pint. There is a South American theme and the writers, Hector Levy and Mariana Eva Perez, are both Argentineans. It is no surprise then that a theme of each of these plays is that of the Disappeared.

The first play, The Archivist, unfolds under four stark lights and on a shabby red carpet, where Ana (Nalini Chetty) is being interrogated by a uniformed government archivist, Felix (Ian Dunn), although she has made an appointment with the Department for the privilege.

The interview is obstructive, leading to one blind alley after another as she tries to find her birth family, including a brother, after having been abandoned by her adoptive family. 

There are passionate performances from the two actors as they respectively convey the frustration of being up against a bureaucratic shield and the perverse enjoyment of wielding it.

The link between the two plays is a missing brother.

In Instuctions for a Butterfly Collector, Lucianne McEvoy plays the Woman who sits at the end of the same red carpet delivering, through a microphone, the piercing prose that is her monologue. She gives a quietly focussed and compelling performance as she hops through her life experience, relating how her quest has shaped her life under a military regime.

This was an arresting piece of theatre, symbolised by the frozen stillness of the first two actors, who, after a struggle on stage, remain present throughout in pose.

I have assumed that the title order in the programme is wrong. Each play is about horrors of the Disappeared, about collecting (information and butterflies), and missing siblings... so on second thoughts, the titles could be transposable. Either way, this double bill is well worth seeing.

Show times

Tues 22-Sat 26 Feb (1pm)

Plays for the remaining season will be:

Tues 1- Sat 05 Mar: Four Parts Broken

Wed 9 – Sat 12 Mar: A Dead Man’s Dying

Tues 15 – Sat 19 Mar: The Confidant

All at 1pm.

Ticket Prices

Tickets are £12 and include a play, a pie and a drink from the top class Traverse Theatre bar café.