"Inspired by Valentine’s Scots adaptation, I have re-imagined The Soldier's Tale as a small Scottish touring piece, making its way around far-flung village halls and community centres. Small-scale touring theatre is a lively and longstanding culture in Scotland, a world in which I have been involved since childhood. Touring theatre takes extraordinary, beautiful things to unexpected places."
"In my designs, I have taken inspiration from the colourful score and characterful language, and from Scottish landscape and culture. Exploring the idea of journeying, I have created screenprinted textiles inspired by old maps of Scotland. Eccentric ensembles suggest dressing-up. Hand-painted tartans and screen-printed textiles suggest that the actors have modified garments themselves, inspired by the landscape through which they are travelling. Connecting all these influences – music, language, landscape, dressing up – is the layering of colour and pattern." Molly MacDonell Finlayson
'The Soldier, returning home on leave, is tricked by the devil to exchange his battered old violin for a big book with the key to wealth untold. Returning to his village, he is not recognised, by friends, family or fiancé. He realises he has been duped by the devil and years have passed. The gains of wealth are meagre in comparison to the simple pleasures of his past life.
Drowning his sorrows in the pub, he is interrupted by a royal proclamation. The king’s daughter is sick, and the man who cures her will be rewarded the kingdom. Joseph sets off to the palace, but the Devil appears with the violin. Urged on by the Narrator, Joseph challenges him to a game of cards. While the Devil gleefully wins, Joseph tops up his glass, until the Devil topples over.
Joseph rushes to the Princess’s bedchamber with his violin, where he plays as never before. She awakes in a dance of joy and they fall into each others’ arms. The Devil arrives. He will not be defeated. In exchange for their happiness, the Soldier and Princess must never stray beyond the boundaries of this kingdom.
Some years later, the Princess asks Joseph about his mother. Breaking the pact, they travel to visit her. With the Princess behind him, Joseph is first to cross the border. The Devil springs up, snatching away the violin in a triumphant, gleeful march.'
Molly MacDonell Finlayson