Letters Home

Edinburgh International Book Festival

August 2014

Grid Iron collaborated with the Edinburgh International Book Festival for the first time to create four short pieces of theatre, plus a postscript, which were adaptations of newly-commissioned texts relating to home. Four leading authors, Christos Tsiolkas, Kamila Shamsie, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche and Kei Miller, contributed texts which inspired a team of artists including Becky Minto on design, Philip Pinsky on music and Joe Douglas, Michael John McCarthy and Alice Nelson on direction.

Ben directed Christos Tsiolkas’ powerful imagining of the letters between Eve and her exiled son Cain and his replies.

The production sold out within days of the box office opening and received a Scotsman Fringe First Award.

Charlotte Hastings, The Guardian

At a time when the fringe is muscling into spoken-word territory, Letters Home is a fabulously stylish counterstrike for the book festival, creating a new platform for the short story, while examining the theatrical potential of narrative. A post-script scene shows the four actors changing back into their real selves. The illusion they have created is so capacious that I am momentarily confused as to why there are so few of them.

Gareth K Vile, The List

it is Ben Harrison’s entry that makes the most of the possibilities. However, each of the four stories are charmingly executed, and the range of approaches (from film through performance to audio recordings) reveals the different forms available to theatre-makers, without feeling like a simple showcase.

Neil Cooper, The Herald

Ben Harrison has a fierce Charlene Boyd as Eve squaring up to Gavin Marshall’s Cain on a sand-covered expanse in a piece that leans towards Greek tragedy in its classical formality. Accompanied by low-key scores by Philip Pinsky, and, in War Letters, Zoe Irvine, all four pieces are rendered exquisitely… a show that shows off Grid Iron at their finest..

Susan Mansfield, The Scotsman

Eve and Cain, in which the mother of the world’s first dysfunctional family corresponds with her son (exiled after the murder of Abel) by sending one another slaves who remember their speeches. Directed by Ben Harrison in a set of tents and sand, it is full of mythic themes of sin, suffering and sacrifice…the scope and ambition of the project, and the quality of the writing, speak for themselves.