‘Immaculate Correction’ is all about working class Scotland and the effects on Catholic young people when their only access to sex education is porn. But it’s also about dreams.
The protagonist Stacey ‘Can’t wait till she’s sixteen’ and she can go on the X Factor and ‘escape this pit’. It’s the ultimate Cinderella story, from rags to riches, the get rich quick option. Her dreams of stardom would give her everything that she ever needed as well as the attention that she lacks from her mum, teachers and boys.
When writing the play it struck me that this so called ‘apolitical’ TV show, has a deep rooted socio-political narrative. For working class people, it’s the scene when they go back to their hometowns, the local chippy or pub to show how much they’ve ‘improved’. For some it’s the sob story, something tragic has happened so the only way for life to get better is if they win. For women it’s the expensive makeover, new wardrobe, and in some cases changing defining features like hairstyles completely. There is an unspoken pressure on people to better themselves as if they aren’t already good enough.
In ‘Immaculate Correction’ this runs parallel to the strict teachings in Catholic education, the constant forgiveness required for ‘sinning’ and the knowledge that no matter what you do you will always need to be forgiven/ you will always need to better yourself.
That being said, the X Factor fairytale is attractive, particularly for the character of Stacey. Unlike some careers, such as medicine or law, where nepotism is rife the programme seems open. We see the ‘interview’ process live with our own eyes on a Saturday night. The public is entitled to an opinion. It’s attractive because for once she can relate to the contestants circumstances pre X Factor. But now she can do something about it, she can vote. She finally has a voice. And it is a Scottish voice, something which is still rare for television but particularly rare in 2005 when the play is set. A lot of Stacey’s opinions are discussed privately in the form of monologues in the play. Society has censored her and as a working class women her voice isn’t valued so she’s learned to mask it. Can you imagine if she won the X Factor? Her voice may finally be heard.
This fairytale is explored throughout the play in the form of dream sequences. But Stacey didn’t have fancy violin or piano lessons. Her musical training consists of hymns and singing in the shower. For that reason, there won’t be a fancy soundtrack for her to sing along to. There will be pasta/ lentil musical shakers because her background affects how much she can dream.
I am looking forward to giving a voice to young working class Scottish females who are seldom heard or represented on stage. Will you listen?
9-13 July. Tickets.