Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Friday, 8 June 2012

M'Connachie & JMB by Anne Stenhouse


M’Connachie & JMB by Anne Stenhouse

This is the Theatre Royal, Dumfries. It was opened on 29th September 1790 shortly after Robert Burns arrived in the town. It is believed to be the oldest theatre in Scotland in 2012. At the time it had seating for 550 people, Box seats costing 3/-, Pit 2/-, and gallery 1/-.

I think Sara Bain must have been playing ghosts inside the theatre but other figures on the left are Mary Smith, Lynn Otty, Gill Stewart and Carol Hogarth who are waiting to see the performance by Theatre Broad of two plays by J.M.Barrie - Seven Women, and The Twelve Pound Look, and a new play called M’Connachie & J.M.B. written by Anne Stenhouse - pictured :-

M’Connachie was the name Barrie gave to his alter ego, or as Barrie said “the unruly half of myself: the writing half.” Anne has clearly done a lot of research into Barrie’s life and she cleverly used two stage characters to portray the two sides of the man. In doing so she brought out many aspects of Barrie’s life which were new to me and intrigued me sufficiently to make me want to read more. Thank you Anne. It is well known that Barrie found his inspiration for Peter Pan in his school friend’s garden at Moatbrae while he was attending Dumfries Academy. However I did not know Peter’s character was influenced by the death of Barrie’s elder brother who died shortly before his fifteenth birthday in a skating accident and therefore never lived to grow old. We all remember the best about a young person when this sort of tragedy happens According to some biographers he was his mother’s favourite, her golden boy.

            Apparently Barrie realised other writers might want to know more about him and his complicated life. He is reputed to have written “May God blast anyone who writes a biography of me”. Fortunately there is not room here for me to do that. If the opportunity arises you will have to see Anne’s play to learn more.

            Whatever aspersions some biographers may cast about his various relationships I think Barrie must have been fond of children, including the five boys of Arthur and Sylvia Llewellyn-Davies, and he bequeathed the copyright of Peter Pan to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children. No doubt many have reason to be grateful for that.

Note to Kindle users. Family at Fairlyden by Gwen Kirkwood will be free to download on Sunday and Monday 10th & 11th June:

12 comments:

  1. Truly wonderful play. Thanks for reminding me of a great evening Gwen!

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  2. I really enjoyed the play when I saw it at the Cottier's in Glasgow.

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  3. ...and I'll certainly be downloading your novel,Gwen!

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  4. Thank you Gill and Myra. I'm sorry if the theme of the blog is a bit repetitive. I hope you enjoy the book Myra. I'm sure you will want to give the nsty charcter a good shake/slap!

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  5. We had a wonderful evening at Cottier's Theatre in Glasgow, Gwen, when four of us went to see Anne's play. Thanks for the heads-up on your novel offer - I really enjoyed the first Fairlyden book.

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  6. Thanks Joan. I think Anne has done well with her drama. I wouldn't know how to set about writing a play - laying it out and such like.

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  7. It was an intriguing play, Gwen and made me, like you, want to learn more about Barrie. It seems he was a complex character. There was some great acting from the cast of Theatre Broad.

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  8. What a wonderful old theatre, Gwen - thanks for showing us a photo of it. As Myar and Joan said, we really enjoye Anne's play in Glasgow. And I, too, am downloading your book, thank you!

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  9. Yes, Mary, Barrie seems to be more complex the more you read, but sometimes I wonder how much, and how fair, writers are about fellow authors, especially after they are dead. Not just in Barrie's case but lots of others too.
    Rosemary there has been a lot of controversy over our little old theatre and whether it should be maintained or demolished. I hope it can be preserved. I'm sure it will outlast the modern monstrosity we now call DG One - which is where entertainments are supposed to be held, plus swimming baths.

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  10. Perhaps there is too much focus on the writer - and trying to work out what 'makes him or her tick' rather than on the writing.
    Totally agree about DG One. Several people from the world of music say the acoustics are dreadful.

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  11. Thanks Mary, I'm glad I'm not on my own in thinking this way.

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  12. Very interesting post.....I've learned so much from this. But the name Bain brought back mixed memories - my childhood dentist was a Scot called Bain and while I was never comfortable in the chair he was a really lovely man. I could hear his voice in my head just reading the name ...:)

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