Knives in Hens

In a pre-industrial landscape, an unsettling and threatening love triangle emerges between the young woman, the ploughman and the hated miller.

As the young woman journeys from ignorance to knowledge, her liberation is found through language and her need to name things to understand their place and hers in the world.

“I look at a tree and say tree and walk on. But there is more of the tree that is god which I have no names for. Each day I want to know more. A puddle I can see under. A tree when it is blown by the wind. A carrot that is sweeter than the others. The cold earth under a rock. The warm breath of a tired horse. A man’s face in the evening after work. The sound a woman makes when no one hears her. I now know I must find out the names for myself.”

Knives in Hens is a remarkable play about the transformative power of knowledge and an emerging consciousness as the world moves from rural to the urban and industrial.

First staged at the Traverse Theatre in 1995, Knives in Hens was playwright David Harrower’s first professionally produced work. It has since been staged in 25 countries around the world and is widely acknowledged as a modern Scottish classic.

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