IN 1637, local market trader Jenny Geddes is said to have flung a stool at the minister in St Giles’ Cathedral.
She objected to his use of the Book of Common Prayer. That was the first use of the new Anglican prayer book, believed by many of the congregation to have a Catholic leaning. Jenny’s act sparked a riot in the Cathedral and, in turn, brawling across the city, which eventually led to the Covenanters’ War.
Which all makes St Giles’ the perfect venue for Black Dingo Productions’ latest play, Creepie Stool.
The piece, by playwright Jen MacGregor, finds Jenny Geddes returning to the scene of her ‘crime’ nearly 400 years on.
“I’m interested in the mind-set behind sectarianism. What are the fears beneath the prejudices? Jenny needs to feel part of an ‘us’, which means there has to be a ‘them,’ and that, I think, lies at the root of sectarianism.
“I would like to think that while piecing together the jigsaw of Jenny’s prejudices, audiences might be provoked into examining their own,” says the writer.
Part of the Just Festival, an annual celebration of culture, faith, philosophy and ideas, Creepie Stool is one of a trio of plays focusing on the subject of sectarianism, which have been commissioned by the festival.
Creepie Stool, St Giles’ Cathedral, Royal Mile, tonight and Friday, 6pm, £5, on door