As rehearsals drew to a close we met at Scottish Opera’s studios on Edington Street. Our fabulous technical team set up the Stage-Lorry, which had been transformed into an underwater adventure with the newly hung backdrop designed by Iain Piercy. On the backdrop you can see Seal Island Bay where the story is set and home to the quirky characters from Bubble McBea. Our sound superman, Chris, was managing the technical rehearsal – checking levels and balance, positioning of the microphones and onstage speakers to make sure that the show would sound great no matter the weather or outside surroundings. We then tried on our costumes and performed the two shows to make sure that we smoothed over any niggly bits and made any necessary changes to accessories or clothing. It was a gloriously sunny day – hopefully it will continue into the weeks to come.
Butterflies were flying on the Wednesday morning as we were excited to open our shows to members of Scottish Opera. We held open dress rehearsals, which are essentially previews of the show allowing us to perform to an audience and ride the adrenaline rush that hits you from doing live theatre. It is a great way to prepare for opening performances as you can get really stuck in and experience how the show elevates when an audience is present.
Allan Dunn joined the team on Thursday, taking over the role of Narrator from Monday 13th September. The main focus of the rehearsal was to weave him into the performance and make sure he felt comfortable with the flow of the story-telling. This ran very smoothly, as Allan had performed the role before and actually wrote the script and text for the songs. It was a lot of fun to hear his interpretation and get inspired from the original flourishes. I look forward to seeing how his presence onstage will shape the production as I’m sure it will grow arms and legs as we take it out on tour.
As the tour commences, I thought I would break down the key points of the story so you can join me on this deep sea escapade.
Our Story takes place on one of the Scottish Isles nestled to the west – Seal Island. Here lives Bubble McBea, a young girl with a secret. She is a Silkie: part human, part seal. When she is on dry land she is just like any other girl, but when she goes in the water, she transforms and becomes part seal. This enables her to have adventures both on land and in the sea. Like any good story – all seems very calm and Bubble swims out to meet her friend Brenda the Boat lady but all of a sudden, the weather conditions dramatically change and their boat is tossed and turned amidst howling winds. The rain lashed and they were sure they’d be dashed on the rocks until the Blue Men appeared. The Blue Men, the folk on the islands call them Na Fir Ghorma, arrived to tell Bubble that they had grown angry at the mess being made of their deep-sea home, caused by the things humans have thrown into the waters. They vow that no human will cross the Minch until the humans take better care of the water and “The Darkness” is gone. Bubble is worried by this warning as the people living on Seal Island were dependent on boats being able to cross the Minch. Without safe passage, their island would be completely cut off from the mainland meaning that her community would struggle to survive. Together with her friend Brenda, father Barnacle and her trusty Sidekick Shonny the Pony they hatch a plan to find the cause of “The Darkness” that has angered the Blue Men and aspire to eliminate the pollution. You will need to come and watch one of our family friendly performances or wait until the end of the tour to find out their solution!
For those of you able to attend you can buy tickets for the shows on Scottish Opera’s website:
Dates people can buy tickets for:
Thursday 23rd September, 18:00 – Pirates of Penzance, Kirkcudbright Primary School
Saturday 25th September, 12:00 Bubble McBea, 14:00 Pirates of Penzance, 16:00 Pirates of Penzance, The Wigtown Showfield, (Wigtown Book Festival)