Monday, August 27, 2012

The Scottish Play

Piper welcoming us onto a boat to take us to the Island.  Photo credit

I am happy to report that I did manage to attend one superfabulous event during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival!  David and I went to see the Scottish Play on Inchcolm Island.  Roo?  I can hear you saying?  What is the Scottish Play?  It's that Shakespeare play that takes place in know, the one with the witches and Birnam Wood.  Apparently the name of the play is cursed.  Actually, I think saying the name of the play is only cursed if you are an actor and you say it inside a theatre.  So here goes....

We went and saw Macbeth.  Ok, no lightening struck.  It must all be ok :)

While still on the boat, the audience witnesses the re-enactment of the battle with Norway. Photo credit

The best part of the play?  It was a walking play where you follow the actors around and we were all alone (the audience and actors) on Inchcolm Island with the beautiful ruined abbey as the stage.  And get this, Inchcolm island is actually mentioned in Macbeth:

Ross: From Fife, Great King:
Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky
And fan our people cold, Norway himself,
Assisted by that most disloyal traitor
The Thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict;
Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapped in proof,
Confronted him with self-comparisons,
Point against point, rebellious arm against arm.
Curbing his lavish spirits; and to conclude
the victory fell on us.

Duncan:   Great Happiness!

Ross: That now Sweno, the Norway's King craves composition;
Nor would we deign him burial of his men
Till he disbursed at Saint Colme's Inch
Ten thousand dollars for our general use.

The play started in the evening and we took a lovely boat ride from a nearby port town to the island, it took about 40 minutes.  They handed out blankets and flashlights to everyone for us to use on the island (this is a Scottish summer after all).  The sun was just starting to set when we arrived.

I'm wearing my Ness jacket and Pendrell blouse

I definitely want to come back to the island.  It is so beautiful with such a long history.

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble.  The witches on Inchcolm.

Inchcolm Abby provided the ideal backdrop for the welcoming of Duncan into Macbeth's castle, and the violent deeds that ensued.  

The cast was amazing. Caroline Ailsa Howitt as Lady Macbeth gave an impressive performance. Photo credit

Macbeth's 'stars hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires' was delivered to a darkening night sky, and the witches who stop Macbeth on a 'blasted hearth' are at one with the 'foul and fair' nature of Inchcolm Island.

Alexander Forsyth as Macbeth in the last act.  Photo credit.

As the last act ended it was indeed like '...a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more' as we descended back down the island in the dark to meet our boat for a quiet trip back to the mainland.

Inchcolm Abbey   Photo credit

Goodbye Inchcolm, '..when shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurlyburly 's done, When the battle 's lost and won'



  1. Oh wow.  That looks absolutely amazing!  

  2. Now.... that would have been one very memorable event.  You weren't late for this one... 

  3. That sounds amazing! I still want to really go see Macbeth. I missed it when there was a version playing here in NYC :( 

  4. Mock it not, Sassenach. I was i a production of Macbeth once, and during a rehearsal in the university's sawdust gym, the weather closed in and he POWER WENT OUT, plunging us into inky darkness. The wind was howling outside, it was flippin' freaky! And as I was a witch, we were rehearsing the spooky magic stuff too. Brrrr....
    Would have loved to see this, sounds amazing!!!

  5. what an amazing performance that must have been. something to remember for a long time.

  6. I think that would be amazing to see the play there. 

  7. Wow, what an amazing setting, looks like you had a good time.  

  8. Oooh, that is wonderful. I got chills reading your description of the setting. What an experience and what a beautiful place.

  9. Wow, that is awesome - the actors must be so inspired there!   That really makes me want to visit Scotland! :)

  10. Drat! I would have loved to have gone to this. There was so much on at the Fringe this year that it left me in a kind of paralysis of choice. This is right up my alley (or close), though!

  11. This looks like an absolutely incredible evening! 

  12. Went to a professional version of this play one summer, at which the murderers of Lady McDuff were leaving the scene of their crime, but the audience knew that the baby was safe, hidden in a laundry basket by its nurse. Just as they reached the door, there was a faint little mew from the basket. The men stopped, turned slowly and looked at the basket ... and the lights went out. Absolutely the most effective and horrifying theatrical moment I have ever seen.

  13. Oh that looks like an amazing experience! So atmospheric, plus your jacket is gorgeous xxx

  14. How wonderful to see Macbeth outdoors under the stars and on a Scottish island....what an experience...really enjoyed your write up debi and pics, thank you :-)

  15. Wow this sounds amazing! I'd love to see the play performed in that location too, it looks perfect! 

  16. Debi_myhappysewingplaceAugust 30, 2012 8:04 AM

    Thanks Winnie!  Hows all the planning for the event going?

  17. Debi_myhappysewingplaceAugust 30, 2012 8:04 AM

     oh wow! That would be terrifying.  I must admit that's the most chilling part of the play for me!!!

  18. Debi_myhappysewingplaceAugust 30, 2012 8:05 AM

    oh man!!! That would have been awesome if you could have come! I hope you got to see lots of good shows?

  19. Debi_myhappysewingplaceAugust 30, 2012 8:05 AM

    Thanks Katrina!!

  20. Debi_myhappysewingplaceAugust 30, 2012 8:06 AM

    Oh...I definitely believe it! There is indeed something very spooky about this play!!

  21. Debi_myhappysewingplaceAugust 30, 2012 8:06 AM

    Definitely not late for this one! :)

  22. not as many this year as last year...usually I spend most of August at the Book Festival (it's closer to our house and decidedly less drink-sodden than Fringe stuff up by the uni) - but saw some great dance performances at the Dance Space at the Grassmarket. What else did you like?

  23. I was one of Macduff's children (who get murdered!), I'm really glad you enjoyed it!


I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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