Rehearsals begin for Traverse Theatre's world premiere production of Clare Duffy's Arctic Oil

19 September 2018 ← return to listing

Rehearsals begin for Traverse Theatre's world premiere production of Clare Duffy's Arctic Oil

Rehearsals began on Monday for the world premiere of Arctic Oil (Tue 9-Sat 20 Oct), a new play from celebrated Scottish writer Clare Duffy penned whilst on attachment as the IASH-Traverse Creative Fellow in 2014-15. It will be directed by Traverse Associate Director Gareth Nicholls following the success of the award-winning festival smash-hit Ulster American.

A compelling and timely family drama set on a remote Scottish island, the piece centres on an estranged mother and daughter who are at loggerheads over how best to protect their children. While Ella (Neshla Caplan), an environmental activist, fights to break from the isolating monotony of island life and save her son's future, her mother Margaret (Jennifer Black) is terrified that Ella's brash stubbornness will her get killed.

Taking drastic action to ensure the safety of her daughter, Margaret locks Ella and herself in the family bathroom. From here, trapped together, the pair must confront their differences until one of them gives in or lashes out; and it quickly becomes clear that not all mothers know best. Arctic Oil ultimately grapples with how trying to save the world could end up destroying those closest to us - and even ourselves.

Jennifer Black, best known for her roles as Stella Urquhart in Local Hero and as DCS Gill Temper in much-loved television series Rebus, is joined by Neshla Caplan who previously starred in the world premiere of Adam (National Theatre of Scotland) at the Traverse - as well as various parts in Traverse projects: Breakfast Plays: Youthquake and Breakfast Plays: B!RTH.

Cast With Captions


Clare Duffy, Playwright, says:
"The inspiration for Arctic Oil started with the arrest of the Arctic 30 in November 2013, when 28 Greenpeace protesters and 2 journalists were arrested at gunpoint by the Russian army. I was particularly interested, when writing the first draft, in how a team of protestors might work together. Then I had a baby. I came back to that first draft with a completely different perspective. I started to think about what it means to be left behind from such a heroic team because of motherhood. How would a new mother's fears about global warming play out against the very small, domestic context of her daily life. The idea of global warming sticks to every object in our lives from toilet paper and hot water to transportation.

I think Gareth is going to squeeze out the full intensity and claustrophobia of the drama of 2 characters who love each other and are trying to escape each other, and I hope that will allow the audience to see how the play still connects to the epic and terrifying scene of global warming."


Gareth Nicholls, Director, says:
"Arctic Oil by Clare Duffy is a beautiful, funny but unnerving piece of work that pits two strong and principled people together as they stubbornly fight over what they believe is right.Set in a claustrophobic bathroom, on a remote Scottish island, sitting on the edge of a vast Arctic wilderness, it's a brilliantly balanced character piece filled with humour and defiance, asking how dirty you're willing to get to protect the ones you love. I hope Arctic Oil will be a moving and thrilling piece that asks big questions about what we want from our world and what we're willing to sacrifice to achieve it. I can't wait to get started."


Arctic Oil by Clare Duffy
Tue 9 - Sat 20 Oct
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