Please Note: This production contains themes and language of an adult nature, and is not suitable for children.
David Greig’s play premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival almost twenty years ago. It takes the story of the Scot, John Law running the banking system in France and imagines an interweaving of his story with that of the playwright Marivaux who, like Law, lived in Paris at that time. It is a big, multi narrative period piece taking in the birth of modern financial systems alongside several love stories and they are united ingeniously by David by the concept of speculation and how it informs both the struggling French banking system under Law as it moved from paper money underwritten by gold towards the future value of a third of America in bonds and also how lovers speculate on love and marriage in a bid to find their true value. David plays with anachronisms to theatrically explore his theme and invite us to explore our own values and speculation.
Rehearsing under covid with a piece that is psychological, involves physical intimacies in bed and bars has been, for myself and the company, a fascinating challenge. The impossibility of period costume and difficulty with using props initially seemed daunting: no one can touch anything anyone else has without being wiped down, kisses were out and 27 scenes set in multiple locations. However it led us to a way of working that ultimately grappled with the idea of imagined value – the words imagination and imagine and similar words are throughout the text. It has felt magical and a rare privilege being in a rehearsal room then a theatre with a company of actors, production team and creative team. EVERYONE has had to be creative. I almost can’t believe we have got it on and have come up with a production of The Speculator that we wouldn’t have made except under Covid but which we feel would have been worth doing pre-Covid.
Mark Thomson – Director
First performed in Catalan at the Mercat de les Flors, Barcelona Tuesday 29 June 1999, and first performed in English at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh on Monday 16 August 1999 as part of the Grec Festival, Barcelona and the Edinburgh International Festival.
An amateur production.
Download the programme.