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sunset songconfidenceinterviewBBC Interview

Otter Pie Rehearsal Pictures

When Fish and Game started devising Otter Pie in 2006, they began by asking:

Is Scotland happy? Are Scottish people happy? What is Scottishness?

Otter Pie is their response to these questions. Created using fragmented sources, improvisation and movement, the performance largely focuses on the story of Sunset Song (Lewis Grassic Gibbon) and the company’s inability to successfully tell that story.

The material contained within Otter Pie is drawn from multiple sources, including:

Some of this source material manifests itself very overtly (Sunset Song could be considered the main ‘vehicle’ of the performance), some more implicitly (Carol Craig’s The Scots’ Crisis of Confidence acts as the philosophy behind the performance, though no particular passage is explicitly represented). Largely, the company would use this source material in improvisations, which were filmed. They would then watch their improvisations and pull out the moments or themes that seemed most interesting for development.

The Scots’ Crisis in Confidence by Carol CraigCraig writes about how Scots see the world, and themselves. Her book had a strong influence in the initial creation of Otter Pie. Read more on Scots Confidence...

Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon – the performance largely focuses on the company’s various retellings story of Sunset Song and their inability to successfully finish the story. Read more on Sunset Song...

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson - Bryson’s hypothetical description of a meteorite collision with earth reminds us how small we are in comparison to the forces of nature. The company grapple with this idea throughout Otter Pie – How can we possibly keep going when our whole lives could turn to dust in an instant?

The Wee Book of Calvin: Air-Kissing in the North-East by Bill Duncan – A humorous book that satirises the Calvinist mindset of North-East Scotland, through a list of amusingly depressing sentiments such as “Let the bairn play with the knife, he’ll learn”. In Otter Pie, when Jodie freezes in anticipation of a possible meteorite collision, the other members of the cast try to cheer her up. One of the ways they try to do this is by reciting some of these sayings. The attempt shows how ineffectual the negative mentality of Scotland is towards the goal of happiness.