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Moray playwright says it 'feels special' to bring play to Eden Court


By Margaret Chrystall


THE first reviews are good for Morna Young’s Lost At Sea, the play which has been as much part of her life since she wrote it in 2012 as the giant presence of the sea on screens is in the play itself.

Morna from Burghead calls herself “a born and bred fisher quine” and it meant when she started to look into the death of her own father, lost at sea in 1989 when she was five, the fishing community opened up and spoke to her about it.

Lost at Sea – from left - Ali Craig as Jock, Gerry Mulgrew as Billy and Andy Clark as Kevin. Picture: Mihaela Bodlovic
Lost at Sea – from left - Ali Craig as Jock, Gerry Mulgrew as Billy and Andy Clark as Kevin. Picture: Mihaela Bodlovic

Trained as a journalist, Morna says she doesn’t really use her shorthand any more, but her writing life has blossomed while she has waited for the world premiere of Lost At Sea to finally come.

There have been three previous good attempts to bring Lost At Sea to the stage.

Just weeks before the opening, Morna laughed: “So many times I thought it was close, then something would shift. With this production the set is built, the tickets are sold and it’s happening!”

Lost At Sea – from left - Ali Craig, Gerry Mulgrew, Kim Gerard, Thoren Ferguson, Helen McAlpine and Andy Clark. Picture: Mihaela Bodlovic
Lost At Sea – from left - Ali Craig, Gerry Mulgrew, Kim Gerard, Thoren Ferguson, Helen McAlpine and Andy Clark. Picture: Mihaela Bodlovic

Morna admitted that some time ago she had had to stop putting her life on hold waiting for the play’s opening to happen.

Last year Morna was picked for a Creative Scotland theatre exchange with New Zealand, spending three months as a playwright in residence in Wellington writing a play which she hopes will be staged there.

“Dad’s friend Jim – they were both in the Merchant Navy – used to send us a calendar of New Zealand every year and we put it up on our kitchen wall in Burghead. So for me New Zealand was the ultimate fantasy place on the other side of the world.”

A year before, Morna was awarded the Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship, allowing her the time to write. Morna explored “the folk and language and landscape of the north-east,” producing five plays in her time as a fellow, including the one-woman Play, Pie and a Pint drama – I, Elvis – about a female Doric Elvis impersonator starring one-time River City actress Joyce Falconer and now being developed into a full touring production.

“The fellowship meant I had space for me to explore and experiment, to think outside the box.

“I would say to myself ‘Whatever I come up with, I will follow it through.’ That’s how I, Elvis happened.”

Morna is glad that the production of Lost At Sea – its world premiere in Perth just after the 30th anniversary of her dad’s death – will come to Eden Court.

Lost At Sea – from left - Kim Gerard, Jennifer Black, Ali Craig and Helen McAlpine. Picture: Mihaela Bodlovic
Lost At Sea – from left - Kim Gerard, Jennifer Black, Ali Craig and Helen McAlpine. Picture: Mihaela Bodlovic

“I’m delighted it will be at Eden Court because we originally thought it would be an Eden Court production, but sadly the theatre had a funding cut which meant it couldn’t do the production in the end.

“It feels lovely and intensely special to take it to Eden Court.”

Morna – who is also a working musician – commuted from performing in Glasgow last year to working on Findhorn Bay Arts’ The Buke O The Howlat.

But after Lost At Sea, she will be taking a break: “It feels my life’s ambition has been to get this piece onstage, then I will have the chance to look back and to pause.”

And there is still that Doric novel in her drawer…

Lost At Sea is at Eden Court from Thursday (today) to Saturday, May 16-18.



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