The last hour of Willie McRae
by George Gunn (1 July 2014)
Willie McRae was a former vice-president of the SNP and a controversial anti-nuclear campaigner, when he was found dead at the wheel of his car in the remote Highlands. At first it appeared he had veered off the road and crashed in a burn but the later discovery of a gun and a bullet wound to his head led police to conclude he had killed himself.
However, it had been fired twice and conspiracy theories were fuelled when it emerged the book McRae was writing, and his briefcase containing key documents, were missing.
Now a play - '3000 Trees' - fictionalising the last hour of McRae's life, is to be staged at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It's writer, George Gunn, explains why the time is now right for such a play.
Sometimes it pays to wait. The Scots have waited for 307 years for a chance to undo the slippery knot of the Union of 1707. I have waited for 29 years to write a play about the death of Willie MacRae.
In either case this has not been from choice. The time has to be right both for political independence and theatrical production but I am a firm believer that plays, if they are meant to be, will eventually find their moment and I am glad to report that “Three Thousand Trees”, a fictionalised account of Willie MacRae’s last hour of life, will be performed by Grey Coast Theatre at next month’s Festival Fringe in Edinburgh.
I hope to be able to dance with joy on September 19th when the Scottish people vote “Yes” so that we can begin to build our own nation.
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