Passing Places and Trainspotting. They play am analysing is Passing Places, by Stephen Greenhorn. It is a Scottish play from 1998 which is set in Motherwell. Alongside with this, I will also analyse the movie ‘Trainspotting’, a movie directed by Danny Boyle based on the novel ‘Trainspotting’ by Irvine Welsh. First will focus on the main characters in the several works and analyse their development throughout the play and the movie. Afterwards I will compare the play and film, and how they each depict Scotland. In the Scottish play Passing Places, the main characters are the two boys Alex nd Brian.
Of those two characters, Alex is the one who develops most during the play. In the beginning he is aggressive, angry and tough, and has nothing but hate towards his home-town Motherwell: ALEX: Look at this place. Nothing but shoe shops and burger bars. BRIAN: I’m starving. ALEX: IT DOES MY HEAD INI. It shows his feeling of disenchantment with his home-town, but also with his life. It feels like he needs to leave Motherwell, in order to discover what life really is. His life is full of emptiness, the only relationship he has is with Brian.
Even his elationship with his mum is poor: ALEX: No. Look. I just need to go away for a while. Trust me. MUM: About as far as I could throw you2. Throughout he changes in a better way. He learns to relax and discovers the better sides of Scotland. He has achieved some kind of tranquility, which perhaps is a result of his meeting with Mirren. Brian is Alex’s best friend. He is more clever than Alex, more sensible and more aware of the “other side” of Scotland. He has a big knowledge of Scotland and is not afraid to bombard Alex with facts during their ride through Scotland.
Just as Alex, he is also seeking something besides the walls of Motherwell. He knows that there are better things, and uses the stolen surfboard as an excuse to run away from Motherwell. On their trip, he meets people who are just like him. At first it’s Lona, but later it’s particularly Frank the Shaper, who makes him realise that there are others like him. They have created a computer program, but also a whole way of life that gives Brian the satisfaction he has been searching for. Bran wants to do the same thing.
In the film ‘Trainspotting’, the main character is a young heroin addict living in Leith, called Mark Renton. He has a serious drug habit, and resort to shoplifting and petty theft due to his unemployment: RENTON: Choose your future. Choose life… But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin? 3 Mark actually goes to Aberdeen University before the narrative begin, but dropped out and really hit the drugs when his disabled brother dies in hospital.
As a person he is very dreamy, troubled, sharp, nd as a viewer you never know where you are with him – he never knows where he is himself. He actually managed to get rid of his heroin addicted, moved to London to start a new life and doing business. But although he becomes more sane and sensible, it is hard to get out of the old circle with his old friends. Therefore, he ends op getting involved in a drug deal and sells 4 kilos of heroin. He then escapes with the money from his “friends”, which just shows that he has changed into a better person and has decided to choose life, instead of living in the fast lane.
Both works describes the dark sides of Scotland in the beginning, only to end it up by giving the reader/viewer a good impression of Scotland. All three of them aren’t really proud of being Scottish when the narrative starts: Mark Renton: It’s shite being Scottish. We’re the lowest of the low! The scum of the fucking earth! 4 Mark expresses clearly that he isn’t proud of being Scottish. If you look at Alex and Brian, their way of talking and living can be seen as a result of the town they have been brought op to. They are, to a certain point, unconcerned about verything.
It is clearly illustrated in scene 29: ALEX: I can’t. I can think it but I can’t say it. It’s just It’s not part of my language, alright? 5 Alex can’t say the word beautiful because during his adolescence in Motherwell, he hasn’t seen any signs of beauty. The director uses, especially Alex, to criticise the modern big cities. The brings up the contrast of beauty in the landscape and ugliness in the towns. ‘Trainspotting’ shows some of the same things, but of course brings up the problem of the rising usage of drugs in Scotland, mainly in the larger cities.
In the film and play alike, the main characters go through a positive development. They go from being troubled and disturbed in the big cities of Scotland, to better human beings when they leave their home-towns. Both the feeling of being Scottish and the Scottish society are criticised. As a reader, you get the impression that the Scottish society is filled with improper practices and an ascending drug abuse. In order to discover the beauty of Scotland or to live life, you have to move to landscapes or even another country.