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STAG: Storytelling: A Guide To Defeating Evil Review

By Zoi Moir

Another year, another high quality STAG production.

Student Theatre At Glasgow’s eagerly awaited Semester 2 Main Stage performance took to the stage early this week in the QMU. A new piece of writing by Grace Yeghnazar and Kate McBurnie, Storytelling follows teenagers Hope (Anna Coupé), Gideon (Lewis Cooper) and Lyra (Kaitlyn Whitsitt) as they battle against an unspeakable evil after mistakenly opening a rift in the fabric of reality, otherwise known as “Dave”. With its 28 action-packed scenes, Storytelling is a fiercely ambitious play full of creative vigour, incorporating strong elements of physical theatre in its exploration of the innate power of stories. While the play does address something of an overly familiar theme, its gripping narrative and unexpected plot twists are sure to keep anyone on the edge of their seat. 

With only 6 weeks to bring Yeghnazar’s fantastical tale to life, director Kate McBurnie and assistant director Anne Hornman have done a fantastic job. Packed with exhilarating action sequences, spell-casting sorcerers and supernatural beings, choreography is central to Storytelling. Cara Ewing-Mackie, one of the play’s ensemble members, or movers, commented on her exciting experience in creating these sequences, emphasising their importance in “balancing the tragic and comedic elements of the narrative plot”. Storytelling’s outstanding experimentation with lighting, designed by Enea Orsolini, together with its costume and make-up designs by Abi Gilliland bear particular mention, setting the perfect tone for this otherworldly show. Sylvia Bergman’s sound design proved vital in creating suspense, gifting the audience with many a perfectly timed jump scare. 

Storytelling was especially proficient in its world building, with Yeghnazar’s detailed lore immersing the audience in the magical realm of Etheria. The rising conflict between the play’s numerous characters was also executed to a high standard, with each scene flowing seamlessly into the next. While all cast members identified well with their respective characters, a select few truly excelled in their roles. Jorinde Josepha Weinmann showed great character development as torn sorceress Ophelia, Scott Hornell considerable range and insight as Laird-turned-master villain Gandamire, and Erin Bruff exceptional flair as forest sprite Sprill. 

Overall, STAG’s Storytelling made for a great night, and it will be exciting to see what its writers and directors do next.


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