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A new stage to explore Scot-free identity


Harold and Maude, Hal Ashby's 1971 dark comedy (below) about the relationship between a death-obsessed teenage boy and a 79-year-old woman who survived the Nazi death camps and lives life with an outrageous joie de vivre, has become a cult Hollywood classic. Its screenwriter, Colin Higgins, also wrote the more obscure stage version, which has its UK debut next week at Glasgay!, Glasgow's festival of gay arts.

The play's director, Kenny Miller, believes that the script talks to a Scotland struggling with the question of independence. Quoting Maude's "what sense in borders and nations and patriotism?" speech, he says it taps into the feeling "that there's part of the past we all miss, a sense of glory in nationhood and identity that's very much shifting in the current climate.

"Do Harold and Maude represent our elderly, dying half – the Union – and our younger self trying desperately to move on?" Perhaps. In any case, the words convinced him that this was a play he had to stage now.

'Harold & Maude', Tron Theatre, Glasgow (glasgay.co.uk) 30 October to 3 November