Hope you're all having a peachy weekend. I'm bundled up and ready to tell you all about Stoirm Òg's adventures in the North East!
I first thought of bringing 'The Idiot at the Wall' to this part of Scotland in November 2012, when I was spending some time in Portsoy. My mother grew up there, in this picturesque little village on the Banffshire Coast. In November it takes a bit of a battering from the wind, so I was very glad to stay warm by visiting folk who remembered my Mum's dad being the local doctor, and playing my fiddle too :-) The people were so welcoming, and interested in this play I was thinking of touring, so I thought: why not? The play deals very much with a community which lives and dies by the sea, and I was sure the folk of Portsoy would relate. Then I learned about North East Arts Touring which helps and promotes rural touring in the North East, and the rest rolled along from there. #happyidiots
Friday, October 4th 2013
As we left Edinburgh, however - part of me wondered: "Will they like it up there?" Apart from Greenock, and our home crowd at the Traverse, we had only really performed the show in the West Highlands - where more Gaelic is spoken, of course, and they kent a lot of the songs! Well, I needn't have worried: we had a full house in New Deer, and the audience were brilliant. Playing ceilidh tunes at the top of the show, I looked out, saw rows and rows of beaming faces, and thought: yep, they're into it! Also, in New Deer Village Hall they served wine at the interval - a great move - perked them up for Act II it did :-) Also, my Mum came with 3 friends! She loves zooming around Scotland!
So after a lovely show, we packed up the van once more...the Butterchurn being Kenny's job - obviously...
And off we went to bed!
Saturday, October 5th 2013
On this day, we made the short drive over to Kemnay. On the way, we stopped in lovely Inverurie, where some of us shopped and some of us went for tea and some of us went to see the ducks! 'Twas a nice wee breather :-) Arriving at Kemnay Village Hall, we were so impressed to see the place so well maintained - it was obviously used often, and cared for with a lotta love.
We were given loads of cakes and tea as we set up for the evening - yum :-) As on Berneray, and a few other halls since, we had the question again of whether to play at the side of the hall, or on the length. We chose the former once more - much, much more intimate and allows the audience into our world more :-) From backstage, we heard the hall filling up, and again extra seats were added! The whole front row was full of Mr. Eilbeck's family and friends - he always has the biggest fan-club :-)
The show was a raging success with the charming audience, and we packed up tired and happy and ready for the drive to Portsoy, where Mum's fish pie was waiting!! Thank you to all in Kemnay xxx
Sunday, October 6th 2013
OUR FINAL SHOW!!!
Together with Helen, the lovely promoter in Portsoy, we had decided to do a 3pm show, since it was a Sunday. It's a family show, and you can't keep folk up on a school night! Helen and her team had done an amazing job of spreading the word, and had even advertised Afternoon Tea - with scones! - as being part of the ticket price. Ace! It always tickled me that the tickets could be purchased from Portsoy's famous ice-cream shop :-) Also, my Mum - A.K.A Magic Macrae, as I think I'll call her - did loads of work letting people know that Dr. Macrae's granddaughter's play was coming to the village!! Mum - you're the best :-)
Portsoy's Town Hall is a beautiful old building, and was the perfect setting for our final show. We used the meeting room upstairs as our dressing room, and on the walls hang portraits of all the town's provosts (inc. Dr. Macrae), going way back. So I felt quite stirred by the history of the place, and as we watched the audience arriving from this upstairs window, we were all excited to finish things with a bang.
And we did! The huge hall was full of people, and a lovely crowd they were too. The music sounded divine, and of course, being our last show - on this tour at least - it all felt extra poignant to us.
I want to thank Helen and her team - for inviting us to Portsoy, for the pancakes, for doing a great job spreading the word. A big thank you to my Auntie Ismay, who allowed our troupe to stay in her cottage - so very much appreciated. Thank you to Maisie Bruce, a friend of said Auntie's, and my Mum's, who also put us up and fed us!!
Thank you Emyr and Ruth at NEAT for all your help and support :-)
Thank you to my Mum - Jean Turner - who looked after us so well on the last leg of our tour. We arrived to mountains of food and warm beds, and you were a perfect hostess to this weary lot. It was a special and wonderful time :-)
Susan looking down to Portsoy's 17th c. harbor.
Goodness - that's it! I've told you all of it! (Well, not the ugly/x-rated bits ;-)
Before I finish, I want to offer a huge Thank You to our director, cast and production team for coming on this journey with me. Can't wait to work with you all again in the near or distant future: it's been a privilege.
Love, light and peace,
p.s. Trailer for 2014 coming soon!