It Wisnae Me, Oct 9 to Oct 13, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Originally titled Jock: On Trial, Alan Bissett’s new play It Wisnae Me explores Scotland’s complicated relationship with colonialism and the British Empire.
Featuring Andrew John Tait, Danielle Jam and Ali Watt, the play places Jock – a stereotype of a hard-drinking football fan with a chip perpetually on his shoulder – in a police interview room. He’s there, he says, for a crime he didn’t commit: imperialism.
A larking but clever political satire, Bissett’s play is an attention-keeping medley of styles and tones which ask whether Scotland is the coloniser or the colonised.
“Growing up you hear about all these great things that Scots took to the world,” says Bissett. “In order to do all that, these things presented as being noble and progressive, we had to be in the world. And we were in the world because we were part of the British Empire, which exploited people.”
It Wisnae Me dates back to 2014 when questions about Scotland’s colonial past were just beginning to be asked as the country was acutely considering its constitutional future and the Commonwealth Games were held in Glasgow, a city much of whose wealth was built on tobacco, sugar and slave labour.
The cast of Alan Bissett’s new play It Wisnae Me which is at the Traverse in Edinburgh this week