10 Questions: We Are In Time's Stewart Laing

News 26 Feb 2020

Renowned director Stewart Laing, whose previous work includes The Salon Project, Slope, Paul Bright's Confessions of a Justified Sinner and The End of Eddy tells us about the research and collaboration behind his newest show, a striking mix of theatre and music, We Are In Time - a co-production between the Scottish Ensemble and Untitled Projects.

1. What inspired you to create We Are In Time?

Pamela, who wrote the text for the show, inspired us all with the idea of exploring heart transplant surgery through music, and specifically through song. Pamela is interested in science and We Are In Time is as much about the technical medical procedure of heart transplantation as it is about the emotional journeys of those involved.

2. Why did you feel that collaborating with Scottish Ensemble was right for this project?

The Scottish Ensemble approached Untitled Projects with an invitation to make work with them and Pamela’s idea was a direct response to this generous offer. So in fact the collaboration came first and the specific subject came afterwards.

3. How did Valgeir’s involvement come about?

The Scottish Ensemble introduced us to Valgeir at a very early point in developing the project and he’s been pivotal in shaping the piece.

4. How is music integrated into the telling of the story?

The music is the telling of the story.

5. How did you go about researching the piece?

Pamela spent time with the heart teams at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Glasgow, including being in the operating theatre as an observer during open heart surgery. She talked with the staff and patients at the hospital, as well as talking to someone who has had a heart transplant.

6. How do you hope audiences feel having watched the show?

My favourite thing when I go to the theatre is to be affected emotionally and to have the way I think challenged.

7. If you had to describe We Are In Time in 3 words, what would they be?

I think Pamela’s title does a great job in 4 words: We Are In Time.

8. How does it feel to be performing at the Traverse?

Untitled Projects have a long history with the Traverse, having co-produced An Argument About Sex and The Salon Project with the company. Our most recent visit was with Slope Redux in 2014. We always look forward to playing the Traverse and engaging with Traverse audiences.

9. What are your favourite Edinburgh haunts?

Summerhall. Film House. Brew Lab.

10. What’s the best piece of advice you think you’ve been given, either as a writer or performer or director?

Remove all the stage directions from a text before you work on it.