Leo Black was a successful young architect in the sixties. An idealist involved in re-imagining the city. Now he has an executive role designing car parks. His family are falling apart – his wife is full of frustration and brittle snobbery, his son wallows in anonymous sexual encounters and idle daydreams, his daughter spends her evenings hitch hiking along the motorway. Now the residents of his once prize winning tower block want his help to see the building knocked down.
Dorothy: Sometimes I want to run at the side of a house
I get the feeling
A red bricked gable end
Just turn and run at it straight, full speed as though it wasn’t there. Smack it and
feel the bricks cut me. Feel my skull smack. Slide down half conscious.
Pick myself up and do it again.
Joe: Any particular house?
The Architect began life as a piece about the city called Pandaemonium which I intended to have hundreds of characters. This youthful exubarence was tempered as I worked and I eventually focused down on a few stories. At the time I was interested in exploring the interstices of city life, the anonymous encounters, the places which once harboured the possibilities of utopia but were now dark and fearful spaces.
I was also inspired by the story of the attempt to remake Glasgow during the 1960’s. A city plan was drawn up to demolish the city’s tenements and replace them with 300 tower blocks set in a landscape of parks and motorways. This move was led by the communist Housing Convener and the chief city Architect . I was and remain utterly attracted to these men’s idealism and drive whilst being shocked by the extraordinary hubris of their vision.
The Architect has recently been made into a film set in Chicago’s housing projects by the indefatigable director Matt Tauber who saw the play at the Edinburgh Festival in 1996 and worked for ten years to see it brought to the big screen.
Title: The Architect
Premier Place and Date: Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 1996
Director and Producing Company: Philip Howard
Publication Details: Methuen ISBN 0413707709 and in “Greig Plays 1” ISBN 0413772535
Translation Details: Norwegian, German, French, Italian, Russian, Slovak
Foreign Performances: National Theatre of Norway, Oslo 1997, Atelier du Rhin, France 2007
Awards, Prizes: None
Characters: 7 (Male – 4 Female – 3)