March 2011

A man standing drinking from a glass, and beside him a man sitting in a chair


Questions of identity, belonging and a sense of self are universal, no matter what language you speak.

Cambridge graduate James has it all: wealth, a beautiful wife, a swanky London flat. But when the creditors move in and his wife moves out, James suddenly finds he’s left with nothing. Nothing but words, and even they are starting to slip away.

James’ father is dying – his last connection to his childhood, his upbringing and the language of his birth, Gaelic. With this link gone, James fears he will simply cease to exist.

Am I sad that my language is dying?
Yes I am
I feel the edges of the light move in and wonder if one day there will only be me, or someone like me, carrying words for the world which no-one else knows.

Forced to confront his past and the conflict of identity within him, James explores the importance of language and how it defines who we are.

Somersaults is a new play by Gaelic playwright Iain Finlay Macleod. Its premiere at the Traverse launches a new development programme for Gaelic artists and work at the National Theatre of Scotland.

Presented as a platform performance – a smaller scale production rehearsed over just two weeks, allowing us to share this evolving play with an audience and discover how it can further develop.