Saturday, 20 September 2014

mary rose

On Sunday 9 February I read Mary Rose, a play by J M Barrie. I enjoyed it more than I'd expected, a supernatural/ghost story partly set on a Hebridean island, though the ending seemed unsatisfactory.

I'd picked it up in an old hardback edition quite some time ago (I think there were a number of others from the same edition on the bookshop shelf). JM Barrie seems to be one of those writers who were prolific and popular at the time but are almost completely out of print today (and who when you read them make you wonder why they haven't endured because they're very good; conversely, of course, there are others you read which you wonder why they were ever popular). Plays, of course, don't tend to stay in print like novels do, but he wrote novels too.

The reason Mary Rose caught my eye was because when I was at university, someone who had been at Highland Youth Theatre was working/training in stage management in Bristol (Old Vic?) - Lynda McQueen - got in touch as they were putting on Mary Rose and the actor playing the young Hebridean man wanted some accent help and asked if I could record myself speaking. If I remember rightly I got Ishbel Kennedy and someone else (Anna comes to mind, but had she gone to Glasgow by then?) to come round, and recorded ourselves having a conversation. I spoke some more onto the tape later, and sent it off. Lynda sent me a copy of the programme later, with a mention for me in the thanks section. I don't know how much use it would have been, as I'm not sure how typical our accents were - certainly at the time I didn't think my accent very typical - but it was probably more Hebridean than anything else.

Interestingly, the Theatricalia website, which I'd never come across before, lists (non-comprehensively) productions done of plays. Mary Rose was done in London a couple of years ago; the mid-80s Bristol one isn't mentioned.