By Sue Glover.
Cast: 6w. Bondagers were 19th-century women farm workers who were hired by the plough men of the Scottish Borders to work alongside them as a condition of their own employment by the landowners. "Bondagers opens at the hiring fair, an annual event that decides what farm the bondager will work for the next year. They live day to day, year to year not knowing at which farm they'll end up. It is a tenuous, lonely existence where they form bonds only with the land and each other.... Each woman must deal with themes of powerlessness and progress. It is a time when few men can be trusted, even though they are the ones in charge." (Windy City Times) Alas, the harvest celebration turns sour when Tottie, a fourteen-year-old "daftie," is raped by one of the men; the very plough man who, because of his looks, charm, and love of dancing, had caught the eyes and hearts of all the younger bondagers. While the plough man is reprimanded, it is Tottie, disturbed and increasingly difficult to control since the rape, who meets with censure from the men. When the plough man is found dying from a fall from a ladder, no one can be sure whether it is an accident or murder. "[Glover's] entrancing dialogue... is the means by which [she] draws the audience in: the play begins with a spoken choral section that reveals the sensual Scottish dialect. Once she has us hooked she introduces the subtler tones of her work which is both a compelling, detailed portrait of six (women) and an allegory for what we lost and gained when we moved from a labor-intensive era of farming to a wholly mechanized one."(Chicago Reader) Area staging.