The time is 4am, an hour considered too early to get up but too late to sleep. So what do people do at this awkward hour? It’s a void waiting to be filled with magical moments or a waking nightmare.
Scotland at night is imagined as a series of vignettes, depicting lovelorn insomniacs to hopeful romantics.
The show was created by Cora Bissett, Edinburgh band Swimmer One and David Greig. It also features contributions from writers such as Alan Bissett, Stef Smith and Kieran Hurley. Songs include Eugene Kelly’s Chips n’ Cheese and Emma Pollock’s Dark Skies.
The piano melody of Seafieldroad’s The Palace of Light was accompanied by Jen Paterson performing acrobatics with giant sheets suspended from the ceiling. The material eventually became a hammock as she disappeared to sleep inside a giant silk cocoon hanging in the air. The effect was stunning.
A young woman, the brilliant Frances Thorburn, was drinking wine and waiting by her laptop for her internet date. This was funny, tender and heartbreaking as her hopes for love faded to disappointment.
Saturday night in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street was played out on film, a repetitive montage to a hazy hallucinatory tune written by Kieran Hurley. And we saw a young lad as he staggered and swaggered along the streets, amid drunken bodies and neon lights.
In another scene, a taxi driver picked up a drunk, young girl and later on there was an ode to Chips n’ Cheese, a song written by Eugene Kelly which celebrates the drink-influenced delicacy of a night out.
Meanwhile further north in Aberdeen, we imaged the sea and the pier, as a woman tried to sell roses to couples romancing in the dark, and case of mistaken identity led to the sweet promise of love.
Paradoxically the darkness can serve to illuminate and exaggerate. Loneliness is exacerbated and in the dark you can feel like you are the only person in the world. It’s a feeling encapsulated by Isabel Wright as she gives birth on her own, taking a solitary journey into an unknown world.
And is the dark a comfort or a curse? A widower travels to Loch Lomond, he’s saying goodbye to his late wife, he’s alone with only thoughts of her and her ghost dancing with him.
It’s difficult to pin Whatever Gets You Through The Night into a genre. It’s a mixed bag, it’s thought-provoking and emotion-stirring.
Co-producer/collaborator of the show Andrew Eaton-Lewis, also of Edinburgh band Swimmer One and Seafieldroad says:
“It’s a bit like a circus. A bit like a cabaret. A bit like a party. A bit like a lullaby”.
It’s a good description.
There’s an album of beautifully crafted songs which includes the sublime The North Star by Ricky Ross and Rachel Sermanni’s Lonely Taxi, 2am.
Buy the album here: Whatever Gets You Through The Night – buy the album through Bandcamp
For more about the creation of the show read this interview with Andrew Eaton-Lewis.