Cumbernauld Theatre has teamed up with Edinburgh-based Magnetic North to create a new touring production, Wild Life.
This darkly comic play is inspired by true stories of feral children, such as Victor of Aveyron, who lived his entire childhood alone in the forests of 19th-century France.
Director Nicholas Bone explained what intrigued him about the story of Victor and others like him: “What interested me was the fact a lot of people made assumptions about him, for instance that he was mentally retarded, because he didn’t behave like them.”
The other main inspiration was last year’s short-lived but notorious BBC documentary The Scheme, about the inhabitants of a housing scheme in Ayrshire. “Our playwright, Pamela Carter, was very interested in all the things that were being said in the media. Middle-class people couldn’t relate to these chaotic livestyles and were very judgemental.”
These two concepts were melded to create Wild Life, in which a middle-class couple, who are stuck in a blinkered go to work - come home - go to work routine and whose understanding of the world is entirely filtered through electronic media, create a virtual wild child in a Second Life-esque online game. Though created purely to relieve an evening’s boredom, the child comes to change the couple’s lives.
“They start off as the sort of people who will complain about the noise of children playing but won’t make any effort to engage with the world, to see what is going on. However their interaction with the child forces them to re-evaluate themselves,” said Nicholas. “It sounds quite heavy, but there is a lot of comedy in it too, a healthy dose of satire.”
Wild Life is at Cumbernauld Theatre on February 25-26 or March 1 and 2. Tickets, £10, from 01236 732887.