Misplaced is a new bi-lingual play by Simon MacCallum.
Misplaced explores the progressive return to Gaelic of a bilingual dementia patient Mary Campbell whose monolingual English-speaking husband John is locked out from his wife’s thoughts. The play shows the main character Mary Campbell progressively moving into a reality that she expresses exclusively through Gaelic. As a result, family dynamics undergo a profound and traumatic shift including the relationship with their son William. Roles are renegotiated, and language and dementia become the basis for exploring complex relationships based on connections, exclusions and uncertainties.
This ‘small world’ story is also a dramatic exploration of ‘big world’ concepts. These include ageing and isolation, care provision, religion and family dynamics, language, memory and identity and cultural loss/regeneration, intergenerational minority language transmission, translation and minority language. The play also raises neuropsychological issues related to dementia and bilingualism. These, in turn, raise questions about the care and support needs of bilingual individuals with dementia in minority-language contexts.
The development of Misplaced towards production in 2023 is a collaboration between Tog-I Gaelic Theatre Collective, Rural Nations Scotland CIC and academics from Modern Languages, Psychology and Language Sciences, from Strathclyde University, Stirling University and Edinburgh University.
The play was originally developed with funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and a performed reading took place at a National Dementia Conference at the University of Strathclyde in 2019.