Eden Court Theatre’s new production, The Return, inspired by an old and still mysterious story, embarks on a national tour this month, visiting St Andrews on Saturday, February 24.
The true story of Martin Guerre is an intriguing one. One day in 1549, in the small village of Artigat in the foothills of the French Pyrenees, a young peasant man named Martin disappeared, leaving behind a wife, young son, and relatively well-off family.
Things had not been going well for Martin in the days before his disappearance. He had a troubled relationship with his family, with his own father accusing him of stealing and selling family grain, but no one expected him to suddenly vanish.
Seven years later, Martin’s wife Bertrande is still in Artigat tending to her livestock and mothering her young, fatherless son. One day, out of the blue, a strangely familiar man walks into her life, full of mystery. Bertrande decides to present the man to the community as her long-lost spouse – returned. But is it really Martin?
Inspired by the true story of Martin Guerre, Ellie Stewart’s new play The Return is a gripping play about the mystery of identity and the survival instinct, and asks whether we can ever truly know even those we love the best.
Ellie said: “I’ve been intrigued by the story of Martin Guerre since I first heard it about 25years ago. It’s been told in different ways over the years, and I’ve always been interested in the pivotal role of his wife Bertrande.
“The story resurfaced for me recently when I returned to the Pyrenees and was bombarded with sensory memories. My starting point for the writing was to explore the story from Bertrande’s point of view. As I was writing I was thinking about people who are seeking refuge in our times, and about the challenges of relationships and parenting.”
The cast brings together Emilie Patry (Bertrande), who trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in Paris and is co-founder of Jagged Fence Theatre Company, and Scottish actor, musician and composer Thoren Ferguson (Arnaud), as well as cellist Greg Sinclair.
The Return is at The Byre Theatre, St Andrews, on Saturday, February 24.See www.byretheatre.com.