It’s a summer night in Edinburgh on the eve of devolution and Sean Connery is reported to be coming to stay at the Caledonian Hotel. Six Edinburgh residents have different reasons to try and find him. Darren, an unemployed boy from Oxgangs dreams of being Connery’s PA and escaping from his dead end life. Eppie, a hopelessly bored middle class woman, reminisces about her youthful fling with Connery at Portobello outdoor swimming pool. Jerry, a doorman at the hotel who yearns to be a lounge croner wants to slip his demo tape under Connery’s door. Stuart, the local MEP dreams of Connery’s support in his boosterist plan to bring The Olympics to Edinburgh and he recruits the English sauna girl – Lauren – to help him succeed in his plan. The play winds through the course of one night following the character’s dreams of escape and rescue culminating in a brief encounter with a long black limousine outside St Giles Cathedral. Throughout the play are wound ‘choruses’ which reflect on the devolutionary issues of the time the play was written.
I love this play and I have overwhelmingly happy memories of its creation, production, reception and the gloriously hot summer of it’s Highland tour. I think it’s some of the best writing I have ever done and it’s sunny optimism feels delicious even at this distance in time.
Caledonia Dreaming was made for 7.84 in the months leading up to the vote on devolution and it was intended as a direct response to John McGrath’s ‘The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black Black Oil’. It may have failed in that specific regard as John McGrath came to see it in Edinburgh and his only comment on it, that I heard, was that he knew the MEP for Edinburgh and he wasn’t a man who would consort with prostitutes.
Title: Caledonia Dreaming
Premier Place and Date: The Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 1997
Director and Producing Company: Iain Reekie, 7:84
Publication Details: None
Translation Details: None
Foreign Performances: None
Awards, Prizes: Herald Archangel
Characters: 5 (Male – 2 Female – 3)