Owen McCafferty's play Scenes from the Big Picture is a panoramic portrait of contemporary Belfast with a multi-stranded narrative featuring over twenty characters. The play's action, although depicted on a large dramatic canvas, explores the impact of small and apparently insignificant moments in its characters' lives. It was first performed in the Cottesloe auditorium of the National Theatre, London, on 10 April 2003.
The play takes place over the course of a hot summer’s day in an imagined area of 'present-day' Belfast. There’s a gang of four kids heading for dead-end jobs in the local meat factory, which is itself going under despite the owner’s PA’s desperate attempts to keep the place afloat. Meanwhile, an elderly couple who run the grocer’s shop are being bullied and two junkies are planning their escape. The local pub is populated by a ragtag of drunken old men, a shop steward is having trouble juggling the demands of his wife and his mistress, and two estranged brothers are speaking for the first time in years at their father’s wake. Over the course of the day, individual lives intersect, and private and public worlds collide.
The National Theatre premiere was directed by Peter Gill and designed by Alison Chitty. It was performed by Darren Healy, Elaine Cassidy, Aoife McMahon, Patrick O’Kane, John Normington, Kathy Kiera Clarke, June Watson, Frances Tomelty, Dermot Crowley, Harry Towb, Chris Corrigan, Karl Johnson, Ron Donachie, Eileen Pollock, Michelle Fairley, Ruairi Conaghan, Gerard Jordan, Packy Lee, Stuart McQuarrie, Breffni McKenna and Andy Moore.
The play won both the 2004 Meyer-Whitworth Award and the 2004 John Whiting Award.