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holus-bolus

HD video, 7min39sec, 2021











rehearsed by Nima Séne;
narrated by Shola von Reinhold;
figured by Sulaïman Majali;
and sound by: 皚桐


holus-bolus, is inspired by the tellings and re-tellings of the life and death of William Davidson (1781 – 1820). Conspirator, radical or wrongfully convicted, Davidson was the son of a Scotsman, the Attorney General of Jamaica, and a black woman. He studied mathematics at Aberdeen University and later became a cabinet maker. In 1820, Davidson delivered an ‘eloquent and unsuccessful’ speech to court during the trial for his alleged involvement in the Cato Street Conspiracy (a radical plot to assassinate cabinet ministers and the Prime Minister). Throughout the trial, Davidson maintained his innocence, claiming he’d been mistaken for another man of colour in the area at the time.  

holus-bolus-meaning all at once-is located in the days preceding a public performance, as cast and crew move through court transcripts, rumour, and regency era ephemera in their attempt to understand, and rehearse Davidson’s final speech.

Commissioned as part of What happens to desire... cur. Tako Taal as part of Edinburgh Art Festival 2021.

Supported by the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund and EventScotland. Our Commissions Programme is kindly supported by the Patrons of our Commissioning Circle.