It is the 1930’s, and times are changing rapidly. After World War 1, technological advances drew much of Scotland’s traditional economy of steel mills and ship building south to England. In some areas, unemployment reached 75%. This desperate situation was exacerbated by the global Great Depression. Young men were faced with either extended unemployment and an uncertain future, or working the oil refineries – or leaving.
We meet two young men, the “wide boys”, full of youthful bravado, who partake in petty theft to fund their Friday nights at the pub where they flirt with the local lasses. As the future comes to Scotland in the form of World War 2, Callum and Findlay are faced with an end of their innocence, and forced to make some tough decisions.
Hannah is a beautiful woman, living an independent and free-spirited life in France. While on a brief leave from battle, Callum and Hannah meet and fall in love. As he returns to the war, Germany invades France, and Hannah is swept up in the large-scale arrest of Jews to be transported to internment camps in Germany and Poland.
As the war ends, Callum and Findlay are together as their regiment march into the Belsen internment camp to liberate the prisoners. The horrors of the camp are only assuaged by Callum’s discovery of Hannah.
Sometime later, we watch as their children innocently, naively, play war games in a peaceful garden back in Scotland. Their experience has forced them all to question the validity of war, and they are more aware of the need to be vigilant in the face of political and social threats to society’s safety.
Each character has been written representing a different value of conscience. Each young man chooses his conscience, even as it takes them in very different directions – and both are able to make their own choices. Hannah, on the other hand, is a strong, powerful, independent, self-assured woman whose choices are taken from her simply by an accident of birth.
NOTES: Some stage information is provided, but it is envisaged that the stage would be virtually bare of static sets, and much of the staging would be visual projections on a screen. This makes the transitions between the various locations more practical, and less expensive.
Duration: 126 minutes
"With a real name of Derek William Dick, it became very necessary to find a nickname as quickly as possible."
Scottish singer-songwriter and actor, Fish grew up in Dalkeith, near Edinburgh in the mid-Lothian region of Scotland. He joined progressive rock band, Marillion in 1981 and found international fame with the hits, “Internal Exile”, “Kayleigh” and “Lavender”, among others. He launched his solo career in 1988, where his propensity for emotive poetry dealing with subjects as complex as war, social and political issues, and Scottish nationalism, brought him much acclaim.
In “Heart of Lothian”, I have made every effort to pay tribute to Fish’s catalogue of work, while creating an original story of depth and complexity with characters in which an audience can invest.
As ideal as it might be to have Fish performing these songs on stage, it is unlikely that he would be available. There are several tribute bands that do justice to his music, especially the Dutch group, Sil-Marillion, as well as Misplaced Neighbourhood from Sweden.
As always, the best outcome would be to encourage the artist’s fans to attend a dance production (potentially for the first time), and also introduce balletomanes to the excellent talents of Fish, thereby expanding the fanbase of both.