IT'S the late 1990s.

A twenty-something factory worker sits hunched over a computer in a flat in Albany Street, Dunfermline.

He's putting the finishing touches to a play he's written called Gagarin Way.

It will become known across the world as a classic in modern theatre and be translated into twenty languages.

But it won't come home...until now.

Gagarin Way will be performed in Dunfermline by Rapture Theatre for the first time ever next month.

And playwright Gregory Burke spoke this week of the cruel irony that after a decade of waiting he won't even be there to see it at the Carnegie Hall.

"I'm in America when it comes to Dunfermline," he explained.

"It's actually quite funny because my sister Valerie is away in Rome with her partner and my nephew is on a skiing trip.

"The whole family's away so there's nobody around which is quite ironic. But there you go." Burke was working at Lexmark in Rosyth when he sent the unsolicitedscript to the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh where it was first performed in 2001.

The play centres on a pair of Fife factory workers who kidnap their visiting boss to make a point.

The jokes come thick and fast in a politically charged satirical thriller about a human heist that goes wrong. Very wrong.

And the play's setting chimes with real life as Gregory reflected on his time as a factory worker for a multinational company.

"I had written a first draft of it then went to work in Lexmark.

"I actually had to change a couple of things (in the script) because I thought they'd think I was writing about them.

"I remember one of the managers saying the company had just bought a bit of land in the Czech Republic.

"You just think that when they get in the European Union that's where they'll move to because they'll be cheaper than us "I thought that confirmed everything I was writing about...that these companies move here then move somewhere else." "It wasn't a bad job to tell you the truth.

"But I always wanted to be a writer." Gregory went on to write one of the most successful pieces of Scottish theatre of all time, Black Watch, which earned him a prestigious Writer's Guild Award.

His other plays include The Straits, On Tour, The Party and Hoors.

He admits to feeling that some of the writing in Gagarin Way is "naive" but is still proud of his debut.

"Absolutely. There's always a production of Gagarin Way somewhere in the world.

"But at the same time it still seems to strike a nerve in the places it gets done. I'm very proud of it but it's strange revisiting it.

"It's kind-off tamper proof. It's got one location and four people and they don't go anywhere.

"I've seen some weird productions but you can't really mess with the text. There's never been any massive liberties taken with it, apart from in North America when they try and do it with a Scottish accent.

One minute they're in Newfoundland, the next in Ireland! That's the only thing that grates a bit.

"I find watching Black Watch kind of weird too because it's nearly five years since it was on.

"And you watch it and think, 'I could've done that bit better'." *** Gagarin Way, Carnegie Hall, Thursday 17th & Friday 18th February. Box office 602302.