ITS the time of year where attention turns to the funny, eccentric, emotional and satirical acts which make up August’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
But the Fringe comes to the Borders a month early, when Peebles and Hawick get a sneak preview of one of this year’s Fringe plays starring well-known Scottish actress Maureen Beattie.
Winner of Canada’s top literary award, The List is a one-woman play by celebrated Quebec dramatist Jennifer Tremblay.
Directed by Muriel Romanes of the Stellar Quines theatre group, the show’s creative team includes Scottish artist and playwright John Byrne.
Set in the French-speaking Canadian province, The List tells the story of a woman struggling to adjust to rural life.
A spokesperson for Stellar Quines said: “Increasingly isolated, she keeps life in order through obsessive list making.
“As her marriage struggles she befriends Caroline. When Caroline requests a favour she adds it to her list.
“The difference between remembering to do it, and neglecting to take it seriously, becomes the difference between life and death.”
After its preview shows in the Borders, The List will make its way to Summerhall, a new mixed arts venue in the former Dick Vets building of Edinburgh University, for three weeks.
A busy schedule for the production team sees the play taken on a mini post-Fringe tour after August.
Maureen Beattie’s TV credits are as lengthy as the list of golf major titles won by Tiger Woods.
She has starred in Casualty, Lewis, Midsomer Murders, Taggart and Doctors, among others.
And her latest theatrical performance was the National Theatre of Scotland’s Enquirer, alongside Lord of the Rings star Billy Boyd, which portrayed the current struggles of the newspaper industry.
She trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and since then Maureen has gone on to play many roles in theatres around the UK including the National, the Globe, the Lyric Hammersmith and the Crucible.
Maureen also spent the 2003/2004 season with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) playing Queen Elizabeth in Richard III and Tamora in Titus Andronicus.
In 2008, she was part of the much-acclaimed Histories company for the RSC, playing the Duchess of Gloucester in Henry VI, the Duchess of York in Richard III and Mistress Quickly in Henry IV and Henry V.
Her previous work for Stellar Quines – who specialise in women’s stories – includes starring in Muriel Spark’s Girls of Slender Means at the Edinburgh Festival in 2009 and directing the company’s production of Perfect Pie by Judith Thomson.
Born in Forestville, a tiny rural town in Quebec, Jennifer Tremblay’s first step into writing came at university when the author she was studying for her masters degree persuaded her to focus on her own projects.
She went on to write around 100 episodes of a children’s television show before publishing her first novel and several kids books.
In 2008, she was awarded Canada’s Governor General’s prize, for La Liste, which has been translated for Scottish audiences by Shelley Tepperman.
The List is performed at the Eastgate Theatre in Peebles on Saturday, July 28 at 7.30pm, tickets priced at £12 (telephone 01721 725777).
And three days later, Tuesday, July 31, the Stellar Quines team make their way to the Heart of Hawick for another 7.30pm performance. Tickets cost £9 and are available by phoning 01450 360688.