Strong and thoughtful… (ensemble and music) combine to create an ambiance, a taste of and for Scotland and Scottishness that likely to be matched only by Forfar bridies, meat pies and very buttery shortbread. Newsweek
Anything That Gives Off Light is both an entertainment and a thought piece that focuses on whether we are stuck in our histories, or whether we can cast off the constrictive ties and reinvent new and better histories for ourselves in the modern world. Front Row Center
[A] pugnacious, liquor-soaked musical… The songwriting duo the Bengsons composed the eclectic array of tunes—some poppy, some folksy, all good… A rich seam of aching observations about land and soil and property. New Yorker
When I first saw it in 2016…I found the magical adventure form of the show where we zip between Scotland and Appalachia “a fitting way to explore [something] as complex a morass as identity. Nothing is fixed. Ideas morph with time and so too must our storytelling.” With songs by the Bengsons, it is a foot-stomping journey where the characters go beyond that surface layer of who they are and start peeling back their own sense of where they come from and what home is in a smart, probing, and unique way. Recommended by Exeunt NYC
Interviews and First-person accounts
Jess Almasy + Reuben Joseph talk devising, identity, and the humanity on the other side of the aisle. [READ]
Jess Almasy writes about Sex, Politics, and Regional Control and the challenges of bringing Anything That Gives Off Light to the stage. [READ]
Davey Anderson talks to Broadway World about the show [LISTEN]
Diep Tran and Jose Solís talk about their impressions of Anything That Gives Off Light at Joe’s Pub onToken Theatre Friends. [WATCH]
Also, our friend Josh Groban stopped by:
Read what press had to say about Anything That Gives Off Light‘s 2016 Premiere here.
In a pub at the end of the road, an American woman drinks alone, trying to forget the home she left behind in West Virginia. Two old Scottish friends, one of whom left for London long ago, wrestle with a fresh grief and a festering sense of betrayal. The three collide and set off on an increasingly blurry journey through the Highlands, digging down into layers of national mythology, bringing to the surface memories of forced migration. Anything That Gives Off Light features a throbbing score by award-winning duo The Bengsons, mixing the Scottish-American folk tradition with stomping punk, and the TEAM’s trademark athletic performance style.
Come March 2019, we begin our journey remounting ATGOL at Virginia Tech before heading to Kentucky to partner with Cardinal Cross to present our stripped-down “Pub” version at the Crossing Roots Urban-Rural Theater Workshop. There, we’ll be leading our Devising Within a Democracy workshop and participating in sessions led by artists throughout the region. We look forward to deepening our relationships with and experiencing first-hand the voices and visions of the Appalachian community. We conclude the tour at Joe’s Pub and sharing our harvest with NYC!
From Associate Director Davey Anderson:
For me, this tour is very special. Not only are we bringing Anything That Gives Off Light to the United States for the first time, but we’re returning to the place where so much of the play was written. Back in the Spring of 2016 we spent a formative couple of weeks in residency at Virginia Tech, researching and developing the text, with the help of Bob Leonard and his fantastic Performing Arts students, introducing us to local historians, musicians, teachers, farmers, activists and storytellers. Without these experiences at River View High School in Bradshaw, the Oxford Presbyterian Church in Lexington, the Friday night jamboree at Floyd Country Store, The Tales of the Lonesome Pine bookstore in Big Stone Gap and many other places, our characters and the world of the play just wouldn’t be the same.
The TEAM and National Theatre of Scotland
ANYTHING THAT GIVES OFF LIGHT
Written by Jessica Almasy, Davey Anderson, Rachel Chavkin, Brian Ferguson, and Alexander Grierson Music and Lyrics by The Bengsons
Created in collaboration with Matt Hubbs, Nick Vaughan, Brian Hastert, and Libby King
Directed by Rachel Chavkin
with Associate Director Davey Anderson
Performed by Jessica Almasy, Martin Donaghy, Reuben Joseph, Jessie Linden, Maya Sharpe and Katrina Yaukey
The gauzy dream-world of their storytelling where we can zip from West Virginia to Scotland makes this adventure magical and messy. The labyrinthine format of the show is a fitting way to explore as complex a morass as identity. Nothing is fixed. Ideas morph with time and so too must our storytelling. Exeunt
Hello from post-Brexit London, where Rachel, Jess, Matty, and Nick joined our Scottish collaborators on Monday to begin rehearsals for Anything That Gives Off Light. It’s a surreal time to be here to say the least, working on a play exploring (among many things) collective and self-interest, the Scottish independence movement, and America’s second amendment.
We begin performances at the Edinburgh International Festival on August 16, and can’t wait to be back. If you will be in town for the festivals, you have 13 chances to the see the show, but many performances are selling out already. Book a ticket now and have a drink with us after!