It’s an exciting time in the Perth Theatre rehearsal room. We’re deep into our second week of Lost at Sea rehearsals. Lost at Sea is a new play written by Morna Young – tells the tale of a fishing community in the North East of Scotland, centred around the journey into time, memory & truth of a young woman Shona. (For me, anyway)
I first read the play myself a couple of years ago. Although I come from the East Coast (Angus), I hadn’t realised the extent the lack of North East Dialects in scripts or on stages. It’s funny the way in which language connects us to others, to our memories, to our sense of place and identity. Now we’re into the wye o’ it, I canna help but faw back into the old language patterns I once used frequently, ken?
You have to appreciate the power of seeing communities like your own represented on stage. Putting these stories out into the world gives folk a reason to talk, to tell their own stories, to celebrate with people how their experiences differ from others.
Morna’s play gives us glimpses and fragments of life in the fishing community across a span of almost 30 years. Understanding the key developments of the North East fishing community across this time has so informed the journey of some of our characters. It is unbelievable to think about how one of Scotland’s most important industries has changed so quickly across the last half-century.
It’s fascinating learning about a shift that we see often across industries now – I’ve been reading articles, interviews, (of course watching Fishing Town and Trawler Men) about how the increase of consumer led industries have affected the fishing. Thanks to technology, supply and demand (led totally by consumerism) is able to control the focus of businesses. From what I’ve read and I could be well wrong, there seems to be a different feeling in the now much quieter fishing communities in Scotland.. less of a romantic, active way of life– creating profit from the expertise of a human who has inherited knowledge across generations.. to something much more corporate – working under strict regulations for supermarkets and other big companies.
Week one: Led by our brilliantly calm and encouraging Director Ian Brown, we began to establish the textures within the performance. We’re beginning to get a sense of how design, movement, music and text all intertwine to create the performance. We are all working so freely, exploring the different qualities in our bodies, in our voices. We’ve spent much time experimenting in the safe hands of Movement Director Jim Manganello. Day one, as a company (and to my delight, this included me), we got to improvise with movement for hours, gently guided by Jim. I remember wonderful moments with all cast members – playing chasing with Gerry round the set, lying flat out and flapping like a jellyfish getting CPR on top of Tam.
We’ve had a visit from Ros Steen to help us get into the characters through language, We’ve spent some time with Pippa haeing a wee sing sang of hymns and tunes, just playing wi’ oor voices and instruments. It’s funny working on a play with Noth-East Scotland dialects.