It’s not writing poetry which has made me perspire recently but rather writing a play…and producing it and acting in it and making the coffee and various other things. ‘O Halflins an Hecklers an Weavers an Weemin’ by moi is a historical take on the City of Dundee and the Golden Fibre as Jute was sometimes known. It’s quite a story including characters as diverse as William Wallace, William McGonagall, James Bond, Winston Churchill, Mary Shelley, Mary Slessor, and even Mary Queen of Scots! And indeed the beautiful poetry of Dundonians Ellie MacDonald and Joe Lee the City’s ‘forgotten War Poet’. However it’s also a very modern tale in that it encompasses Globalisation, Immigration, the Status of Women, the Treatment of Children, Technology and the Environment does Jute.
Then when the original cast had to withdraw with a few weeks to go the director (alter ego my wife) and I had to get the band back together pronto in the shape of a theatre group we used to run years ago and which we’d thought was past it’s sell-by date. The group was called Shoestring on the basis of doing quirky productions on an er…shoestring budget! (Sorry can’t think of alternative less cliched image here). Hence all the extra perspiring over recent weeks.
But we did it in the beautiful setting of the High Mill at Scotland’s Jute Museum Verdant Works Dundee to very appreciative audiences. The show was enhanced by the beautiful music of the late Michael Marra sung by the Loadsaweeminsingin and Lochee Linties choirs directed by Michael’s daughter the one and only Alice Marra – aka female vocalist in Dundee Indie band the Hazey Janes. Who incidentally have recently worked with Scotland’s former maker (National Poet) Liz Lochead. Which brings us back to Poetry and the perspiring thereof to which I’m about to return. Though we are hoping to repeat ‘O Halflins an Hecklers an Weavers an Weemin’ in Verdant Works next year. Watch this space!