Grandfathers and grandsons take centre stage in new show Old Boy

Old Boy explores intergenerational relationships and the bond shared between men and boys in families.

A group of grandfathers and grandsons are taking to the stage to reveal their real-life relationships in a special theatre performance.

Old Boy is a show about the bond between grandfathers and grandsons and the legacies passed down through generations of the family.

It will be performed at Dundee Rep by three distinct duos.

One-year-old Finn McDonald-Manzi and his grandfather Martin Manzi, nine-year-old Harris Lindsay and his step-grandfather David Dunlop and 21-year-old Max Agnew and his grandfather Malcolm Gracie.

Associate Director Jess Thorpe said: “Old Boy is a show about grandads and grandsons and the very special bond that happens between men and boys and families.

“It involves a cast of people who don’t usually perform on stage and it features their real life relationships and the things that are important to them.”

Each of the three pairs tells a story personal to them, the influence of their grandfathers and how they are now sharing that experience with their own grandchildren.

The production has allowed grandfather Martin the opportunity to reflect on the stories of his own grandfathers he never knew, and spend valuable time with Finn.

But Martin perhaps has the most challenging role; having to entertain the one year old while performing in front of an audience.

Martin said: “It has been a challenge to do what you’re doing on stage but to try to keep him occupied as well, trying to multi-task is going to be the difficult bit. I’m not very good at multi-tasking and having to do that is very difficult.”

Most are treading the boards for the first time.

David Dunlop has taken a step out of his comfort zone to perform with his step grandson Harris.

David said: “The last time I was on stage was in sixth year at Blairgowrie High School when I played Bill Sykes in the school production of Oliver.

“That was a very, very long time ago but it’s been great, we’ve had a good laugh.”

It has been a chance for Harris to learn a lot about David’s relationship with his grandfather.

“He had a thing called the magic drawer when he was little,” said Harris.

“There used to be sweeties in it whenever he would go to his granny and grandad’s and I’ve got this tidying bit that I’ve got to do. It’s the most tidying I’ve done in my life.”

Old Boy has been staged just a handful of times in locations from Glasgow to Washington.

Each time the stories and songs are different, reflecting the place and the experiences of the people performing.

Tashi Gore, Old Boy Associate Director said: “The Dundee version, there is a lot of history in it. Men and boys talking about their relationship to the city and also the industry in the city and how the stories of that are passed down from generation to generation.

“Malcolm who is the grandfather in the third duet talks about his father and his grandfather and their relationship to shipbuilding and the jobs that they had and the relationship with the city to different parts of the world as well which is really interesting.”

Malcolm’s grandson Max Agnew, who hopes to carve out an acting career, said: “You forget these things that happened when you were two or three because you’re not going to remember them but he does and vice versa.

“There’s stuff that I remember about when I was little, maybe being at school and him picking me up and it’s just nice to spend a lot of time reminiscing together.”

Old Boy opens at Dundee Rep on Thursday March 30 and runs until Saturday April 1.

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