Black Watch

Bw_2St. Anne’s Warehouse is one of my favorite venues.  The warehouse can literally be converted into whatever the needs are of the performance.  Just a big spacious concrete warehouse.  Very cool.  Facility is in Dumbo, right over the Brooklyn Bridge. 

There has been a tremendous amount written about Black Watch over the past few weeks.  The performance only runs from Oct 20-Nov 11th.  Not a long time. 

I happened to have breakfast with my friend the morning of the 21st.  She and her partner are huge theater people and she said that it was a must see.  I had actually read about the performance that morning and was planning on buying tickets.  I believe the performances were sold out within days of the New York Times review.   She loved it.

The play lasts a little less than two hours.  It is about a 300 year old top notch Scottish infantry battalion.  This particular group of soldiers had been in Iraq and a few of their comrades had fallen to a suicide bombing.  The play isn’t as simple as that.  Beyond choreographed from singing to fighting to being interviewed by a journalist about what it was like in Iraq, to a clever scene where they continue to change one particular officer’s dress constantly while giving the history of the Black Watch.   Continually moving.  Really well done.  Very layered but at times disconnecting which is really what the playwright was probably trying to establish.  What the hell are a bunch of top notch Scottish soldiers doing over in Iraq?  They certainly aren’t fighting for their country.  They have invaded a country and they aren’t really sure why.  BTW, neither are the majority of Americans. 

The acting is superb.  Each actor is very talented and quite good looking to boot.  In many ways, I found the play hard to follow.  Yet, as I am reflecting on the play and the message, it was really well done.  Sophisticated, clever, well thought out, and thought provoking.  The accent was hard to follow at times but you sort of just went with it. 

Gregory Burke, the Scottish playwright has certainly made his mark.  One of the most original plays I have seen in quite a while.

Comments (Archived):

  1. martin english

    I saw that fred bokkmarked this on delicious. Note that the play is about the The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of the British Army, not the Black Watch Regiment of Canada.

    The Black Watch are arguably Scotland’s best known Regiment which served the British Crown, for over 266 years from September 1739 to March 2006.

    As part of the UK Government’s 2006 reorganisation of the Army, the Black Watch became a battalion within a new Scottish Regiment.

    See and for some more history.