‘Ghosts in the Glen’ by Celtic Circle was a magical evocation of the ties that bound two great explorers to the splendours of Glen Prosen.
It was performed there, in Balnaboth, last weekend.
The roots of Captain Robert Falcon Scott were traced back to his 13th century ancestor, the wizard Michael Mathematicus, through the Scotts of Buccleuch to Sir Walter Scott himself, as the case was made for Scott to be included among ‘the Ghosts of Glen Prosen.’
Star witness to his entitlement to this honour was that great explorer of the imagination, and lover of Glen Prosen, Sir J M Barrie. That the two men were great friends, each in awe of the other, was made luminously clear in the ghostly gloom of a candlelit chamber of the house.
Readings from Scott’s diary gave moving testimony to that, as well as to the valour of his team.
In this centenary year of the Terra Nova expedition, because so much of its planning had taken place in Burnside, the Macleans of Balnaboth had commissioned the play. Burnside was owned at that time by Reginald Smith, who published works by Barrie as well as Scott.
Celtic Circle’s previous adaptation of Barrie’s “Farewell, Miss Julie Logan” remains etched on the memory of those who were fortunate enough to see it. Writer Rosie McLennan grew up in Elgin but, like co-writer Richard White, has long lived in England.
Their admiration for Barrie and Scott knows no bounds, and, with the help of their professional acting and singing friends, based in North Berwick, Vincent Guy, Tina Moskal and Zoë Moskal-Guy, wove a wonderful web of words and music to tell their heroes’ stories in a uniquely moving way. Each actor took a variety of roles. Kirriemuir actor and musician Kern Falconer played, among others, the Keeper of the Ghosts, with great humour and wit.
He was a significant contributor to the content of the piece, and invited Kirriemuir piper, Arthur Balfour, to add haunting music to the performance on his Small Pipes.
The music and verse chosen was mostly traditional, some found only after much research. The gifted Zoë specially composed two emotive pieces, ‘I was the Ice’ and ‘Each man must Discover,’ and provided a variety of apt pieces at the keyboard.
Richard and Rosie have already completed a full-length two-hander play ‘The Mythmakers,’ exploring the Scott-Barrie relationship and are currently seeking a sponsor and a local venue in which to perform it, hopefully to coincide, in due course, with the unveiling of Bruce Walker’s momentous sculpture of Scott and his fellow heroes.