3000 Trees: The Death of Mr William MacRae (Rating 2/5)
It suggests that the play is about MacRae’s death. The information in the fringe programme adds to this. By posing the question: ‘Was his death in 1985 suicide or murder by the state?’ it implies that the play may explore theories about his death. It doesn’t do this.
What you get is a play that is largely about the life of MacRae and the battles for Scottish and Indian independence. It is only in the closing minutes when Paterson focuses on the alleged suicide and runs through a number of observations that may call that verdict into question. None of these is developed, they are simply listed, with it left for the audience to draw their own conclusions.
Afterwards, Paterson addresses the audience and gives more information on the play and MacRae’s death. Why isn’t this in the play itself?
It is set in a period when opposition to the union was high and the SNLA was seen by many as looking to mirror the tactics of the IRA. Allied with opposition to nuclear weapons and the paranoia of the security services, there is so much to play with. That this production doesn’t do this is a shame. It’s a well-acted piece, but is not the play that it claims to be.
The Stand’s New Town Theatre, George Street, until 26 August