National Theatre of Scotland announces largest ever community cast for Them!
Following an extensive casting process, the National Theatre of Scotland is delighted to announce that 150,000 leaf cutter ants have been chosen to join the company of upcoming production Them!, which takes over Glasgow’s Tramway from 27 June to 06 July 2019. The industrious cast members will help to transform Tramway into a suitably eerie setting for the show, partly inspired by a ‘50s B-Movie classic of the same name.
In terms of numbers, if not stature, the cast dwarfs those of previous participatory productions such as Pages of the Sea, SHIFT, and Granite, and marks the first time the Company has engaged such a large number of non-human performers. The cast has been scouted, auditioned, and supplied by Andrew Stephenson, one of the world’s leading experts in Leafcutter Ant husbandry.
Andrew Stephensen, owner of www.leafcuttingants.com, said:
“I’m only just getting my head around this! It’s an ambitious project on a grand scale. My ants may not be 20 feet long but they will punch above their weight and I am sure they will adapt to thespianism as consummate professionals. They have spent sixty million years preparing for this production. I can’t actually see them rehearsing in their nest but I do detect a spring in their step now as they move around!”
Them! is based on the classic creature-feature of the same name, released in 1954, which sees a nest of giant irradiated ants attacking Los Angeles. The film promised cinema-going audiences ‘Terror, Horror, Excitement, and Mystery!’, and went on to become one of the defining science-fiction films of the era.
This stage show will transport the audience onto the set of a live TV chat show. The lights are up, cameras are rolling, the host meets their guest, and the house band perform. Race and class and cultural identity come to the fore. But everything keeps on changing. Time and space shift and the audience changes from silent observers to active participants at the heart of the action.
Them! is a visionary new performance event from Stewart Laing and long-term collaborator Pamela Carter tackling the nebulous nature of identity in a changing world. In a performance propelled by music, television, film, and dynamic theatre-making into one exciting event, expectations will be subverted from beginning to end.