Artistic Associate Julie McIsaac Takes The Plunge…

Dives in. Sets the trap. Trolls the depths. Reels in the catch. Brings home the bacon. I mean… cod.

JULIE McISAAC, Relephant Artistic Associate

Artistic Associate Julie McIsaac takes the plunge with a reading of her new script, The Out Vigil. As she puts the in fishing touches on the draft for the first reading  we asked Julie to share her present thoughts on the piece.

“I live on the West Coast, but I’m an East Coast girl, too…  Generations of hardy Cape Breton-y ancestors, some super-duper Scottish/Norwegian/Irish combo pack, and the fact that bagpipes make my blood sing.  Not boil.  Sing.  It’s a good thing.  Bagpipes.   And I took fiddle lessons.  Though please do not confuse me with Ashley MacIsaac.  No, we are not related.  Though I suppose we could be; my great-grandfather got lazy, dropped a letter, made us “Mc” instead of “Mac” and boy oh boy have I been trying to make up for the loss of that vowel ever since…

Which is to say… I’ve written a play.  There are lots of vowels in it.

It is my hope that there is lots of heart in it, too.  And some grit.  And some whimsy.  And, of course – there will be blood.  I promise.  And there’s even a bit of music… in jest, and with every possible earnestness, too.  There are four characters, two from Little Harbour, Newfoundland.  Two from Dutch Harbor, Alaska.  .  When the action is set against the opening of the winter king crab fishing season (yes, Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catchthat fishing season, the one where you’re out on the Bering Sea in January, and where 42 men died in the 1988 season alone) everything means a lot.  Everything felt is felt further, and there are no casual conversations.  It’s game-time, got it?

And it’s 1993, five months after the Newfoundland cod-fishing moratorium was called, and an entire way of life ended.  This is a Canadian story.  And it’s about holding on, and letting go.  And a mother.  And her son.  And a young man.  And a young woman.  And fish.  And when there’s no fish.

And there’s myth and legend.  And belief.  And questioning that belief.  And knowing – the facts, and that knowing that happens in the pit of your stomach, the stronger kind.  And there’s fighting to keep the ones you care about close, and safe.  And knowing that you can’t.  That in the end, you can’t.  But you can try your darndest.  I like seeing people try.  I love people who try.

It’s a first draft.  I’m excited to find out what more is in there.  And to find out what only I find funny, what delights me – but not a single other bloomin’ soul.  On Monday, some lovely actor friends are going to give it a read, and some (equally lovely) friends and family are going to come have a listen, and then, hopefully, ask some questions.  I want to hear the questions.  Please, come.  I have a story to share with you.  I hope you can come and help me uncover the other parts of it, the secrets still hidden, cowering on the ocean floor, waiting for us to swim down there and yank’em up.  Though kindly.  Always, kindly.  Come out, come out, wherever you are…”

A first reading of The Out Vigil, by Julie McIsaac

Monday, March 28th at 7:00 pm, in the upstairs studio at the Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova St.

Featuring Charlie Gallant, Annabel Kershaw, Sebastian Kroon, and Caitlin McCarthy.


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