Given that the 'Scottish Soldier' has often been made much of in Scottish culture, one might expect much to be made of Scottish soldiering on the recent stage. In fact, while soldiers appear in several plays over the last fifty years, in most their profession is remarkably under-explored in their characterisation. This article examines the dramaturgical structure, themes and staging techniques of two Scottish plays in this period in which soldiering itself, including its dangers, frustrations, compensations and comradeship, is explored theatrically. Written over thirty years apart, W. Gordon Smith's Jock (1972) and Gregory Burke's Black Watch (2006) both address questions of Scottish military experience in different historical periods and with distinct approaches to dramatising its history and relationship to Scottish society. Though both were highly successful in attracting audiences, each develops distinct dramaturgical structures, even if sometimes showing surprising similarities in dramatic methodology, seeking each in its own way both emotional engagement and, yet, at times quasi-Brechtian distanciation.


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pp. 125-143
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