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Deceit (Jimmy Chisholm) drives off Good Counsel (Gerda Stevenson)

Deceit (Jimmy Chisholm) drives off Good Counsel (Gerda Stevenson), with John Keilty (The composer and director of music) and his troupe behind. ‘Staging and Representing the Scottish Court’ took the play back to its roots – literally, in that it sought to ‘recover’ and restage the 1540 interlude in the same hall for which it was written – and by producing the full five-hour outdoor version so people can see it for the first time since 1554 in all its complex, bewildering grandeur.  Our aim was both to discover what we could about the play’s relationship with its original settings, and what it suggests about Renaissance culture in Scotland, but also to test what it means to Scottish audiences now, when presented whole, rather than cut to reflect modern agendas.

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Pauper (David McKay) begs for alms among the audience.

It became increasingly clear through the rehearsals that it is the arrival of Pauper in the play that turns a broadly allegorical play about the redemption of a king into a powerfully realistic play about political and social reform. He enters the arena during an interval, as the other actors are leaving the stage. He comes begging for help him get to St. Andrews, where he hopes the ecclesiastical courts will help him to get back the cows that his vicar has seized from him in death duties. So at first the audience is unsure whether he is part of the play or not, whether his demands are fictional or all too real. And that is clearly the point. Pauper introduces not only a new tone to the drama; he brings a whole new social class and agenda into the purview of the British stage. Here is an uneducated, working man sharing the stage with princes and their advisors, and sharing the same language and register with them. His needs seem concrete and immediate, and he speaks to the king and to God’s avenging archangel without fear or favour, daring to suggest what he would do if he were king, or even pope. No equivalent figure can be found in Shakespeare, nor indeed in British drama as a whole, until the modern era.

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Manual marking the UK launch of 'Conovid'

A reworked booklet, focusing on patient FAQs, was circulated in October 1961, anticipating the Family Planning Association’s provision of ‘Conovid’ at select branches, and limited availability (subject to a fee) through the National Health Service. January 1961. Drug Reference Manual No. 85. Searle / 'Conovid'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

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Superimposition of the newly emblematic round over a couple walking in the snow invokes the nascent role of pharmaceuticals as protectors of marital cooperation

Searle, facing imminent competition in the UK market, sought corporate synonymy with ‘the Pill’. “Conovid oral contraceptive. The responsible answer to a universal problem". Journal ad. [detail], Practitioner, January 1962. Searle / 'Conovid'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

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Available through select Family Planning Association clinics from summer 1962, 'Anovlar' was heralded as the latest 'no-baby pill' in the press

Company literature, however, proclaimed a pro-baby function, by presenting ‘Anovlar’ as calendrical management tool for precision reproductive forecasting. 1963. Patient’s FAQ booklet. Pharmethicals [Schering] / 'Anovlar'. By kind permission of the Schering Archives, Bayer AG. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

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Metronomic and horological imagery was common in early Pill advertising

Here, a pendulum infers the rational march of Searle’s research, underpinning new ‘Ovulen’ as ‘the logical outcome of 11 years leadership in oral contraception’. However, mechanical analogies for contraceptive progress in what Marshall McLuhan called the ‘electric age’ were fast becoming outmoded. 1964. Physician's circular / Searle, 'Ovulen'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

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Journal insert from 'Practitioner'

This creative reminder-style advert imitates a skeletal molecular diagram in combination with the female gender symbol as visual shorthand for Searle’s alternative oral progestin, ethynodiol diacetate [‘Ovulen’]. The goal was an oral contraceptive universally “accepted by women of many different socio-economic and ethnic types”. June 1965. Die-cut bookmark [reverse] / Searle, 'Ovulen'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

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Alliance through contraception

“If the husband prefers to take charge and be responsible for birth control, he will want to use withdrawal or a sheath. If the wife takes the responsibility she has a wide choice. In either case the needs and views of the other partner will have to be considered”. 1966. Physician's circulars / Syntex, 'Norinyl-1'. By kind permission of Roche. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

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A Somerset folksong, 'Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron' [c.1900] provides the hebdomadal basis for this mailing campaign.

With express reference to 21-day regimens, it is suggested that the domestic schedule of the sixties housewife might be matched to routine self-administration of oral contraceptives. 1966. Physician's circular, No.4 in a series of 7 / Parke Davis, 'Norlestrin-21'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

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"Life is not restricted, but enriched".

This campaign utilises a contemporaneous resurgence in child psychology, marking the young, healthy multipara as facilitator of family well being; once enabled as a strategic contraceptor, pregnancies are viable and desired, and emotional privation is negated all round. 1966. Physician's circular, No.3 in a series of 4 / Syntex, 'Norinyl-1'. By kind permission of Roche. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

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