BENGALURU: A vintage cottage in the Scottish Highlands, cut off from the modern world... It may sound like the house of dreams for many, but this former crofters hut in the deserted village of Collieghillie may not be everyone’s idea of the perfect place. The reason is revealed in the British thriller play, The Croft, which is coming to India for the first time, virtually, from July 3-5. Set in the cottage, the play is known for keeping its audience on the edge.
The play also stars BAFTA-nominated actor Gwen Taylor, who says the whole experience has been exciting for her. “My character blazes a trail for the two ladies who appear later in the play. Her courage is amazing. She is resilient and a survivor,” Taylor tells CE in an email interview. She adds that when she was offered the part, she was performing in another thriller – The Lady Vanishes. “People love a good thriller, be it a book, a film or a play, but I think a stage production is different because of the involvement an audience feels and those moments when people jump as one. It is a mix of anticipation, live performance and fantastic storytelling,” she says.
Calling it an act of fiction, director Philip Frank emphasises that some of the events were inspired from the history of the place. “The events in ‘the past’ in the play refer to the highland clearances where many small farmers (‘crofter’) were dispossessed and, in some cases, hounded to their death by greedy landowners. This is completely true,” says the 64-year-old director. Although Frank enjoyed creating the scary and emotionally intense experience, he says, in reality, he would never visit a place like this. “I would certainly not go to the Croft. It seems both extremely uncomfortable and very, very frightening.
There is no way on earth that I would like to spend a holiday there!,” says Frank, who also acted in plays before he turned to direction. “If I had to choose between the two, it would be directing. I still love acting. Directing, however, is all about responsibility and helping others to be better than they thought they could be,” he adds. Frank is now waiting for an opportunity to bring his work to India. Although a fan of old-school theatre experience – with live acts and instant audience reaction – he wants to make the most out of the online version to reach a larger audience. “Streaming is all we have at the moment, so we need to make the most of it. I would be in despair though if I it was the only future for theatre,” he says.
The Croft will be streamed on BookMyShow website from July 3-5, 7 pm onwards
Twist in the plot
Two women arrive at a former crofters hut in the deserted village of Coillieghille in the remote Scottish Highlands. The weekend getaway suddenly takes an unexpected turn. Cut off from the modern world, Laura and Suzanne find themselves drawn into the dark history of the Croft and the lives that passed before them. Ancient tales surface and the terrifying truth lurking there is revealed.