They’ve performed the play a number of times before, but doing it in Halifax, the final resting place of some Titanic victims, will change things.
“I think the information from being here will be so important to how the piece evolves,” says Lucy Rupert.
“We have a scene at a grave, and there is something about the names of the dead,” added director Allyson McMackon. “We don’t know who these people are, but they were children, wives and brothers.”
McMackon and Rupert are at the helm of April 14, 1912, one of the plays being presented this weekend as part of Eastern Front’s Super Nova Theatre Festival. Produced by Toronto’s Theatre Rusticle, the movement-based play tells the story of the ill-fated maiden voyage of the Titanic.
“There is always room for new information, new images and new life to be injected into it,” said Rupert, who plays the vessel which sank in the North Atlantic after striking an iceberg. This story of the unsinkable ship is based on testimony the second Marconi wireless operator on the ship, Harold Bride, gave after he was rescued — frostbitten and deformed — from a life boat.
McMackon began working with his account, and then added movement to the piece. As she did more research, additional facts, stories and ideas were included in the production.
“I think it is bigger than we can imagine,” she said about this story, explaining that some people today can’t comprehend this tragedy, which claimed around 1,500 lives.
“This whole thing with the ship going on its aft quarter, and going straight up in the air and people diving off, the easy access point for people today is 9-11, when you saw people diving out the windows,” McMackon said.
That scene happens slowly in the production, with Rupert listing more and more to her side. At past performances, the moment has been punctuated by crying in the audience.
“I try not to listen to it,” Rupert said. “It is a daunting, but really exciting challenge to do this piece.”
- For more information on all the plays being shown as part of the Easter Front’s Super Nova Theatre Festival, visit www.easternfront.ns.ca