“The main reason I am exploring this story for ‘Òr Treasure‘ stems from a deep desire to share the incredible indigenous genius of Gaelic”.
Ariel is currently in residence working with Director, Jen McGregor and Theatre-Maker, Emily Ingram, to research and develop ‘Òr Treasure’, a new production working towards production later in 2022.
In this development lab, Jen has been getting to know more about my physical expressive abilities, particularly to music and drawing from my experience as a semi-professional dancer, and focussing on the tone, expressive colour and atmospheric context of each of the separate seven treasures in the Treasure Chest. We’ve also been looking at various sections of the script and looking where we can refine and tighten up some sections, given there’s a lot of historical detail in the script. It’s been important to look at – what information is most important and how can we streamline that to make it less overwhelming, more enjoyable and thus more retainable and impactful.
A few weeks ago I was wondering how I would cope with being in a professional theatre environment and working closely with a Director for the first time in so long. But it’s helped to know why I’m doing this, pushing myself and challenging myself to see how much further my dramatic Gaelic Performance Storytelling practice can go. And it’s been helpful to think it’s less about me and more about honouring the sentiment expressed by so many kids, teachers and parents across the country who’ve been emphatic in their appreciation of this work and a knowledge that there is a really strong desire for more of this work that deserves to be fulfilled. And I will push myself to deliver that for them.
What’s been lovely is that it’s been like a duck to water. The four day’s Dramaturgy with Jen really helped in giving us time to work together, achieve our aims for those days and discuss openly my background as a largely self-directed self-producing performer, without me bottling up my concerns about how I might cope with being formally directed for the first time in nearly a decade.
Ariel introduces her inspiration and ambitions for Òr Treasure.
The main reason I’m exploring this story for Òr Treasure stems from a deep desire to share the incredible indigenous genius of Gaelic in a practical yet metaphorical way, that opens up the near scientific excellence of Bardic alliterative runs, internal rhyming and assonance that can be found forming part of even more mundane phrases in Gaelic. I wanted to share this brilliance I’ve found during my journey of researching and writing 8 complete interactive, Gaelic Performance Storytelling shows, and how this is embedded in the land of Scotland, like gold itself, with our many Gaelic-derived place names forming the doors to these rich now largely hidden underground seams of Scottish gold and Gaelic Oral Art brilliance that honestly, so many folk just don’t get access to.
As regards the Òr Treasure piece specifically, the initial idea was for a cycle of four plays, supported initially by the awarding of the Scottish Storytelling Forum/Centre Andy Hunter Memorial Bursary, with the first play to focus on landscape. Initially, I wasn’t confident I was the best person to write this play, as I hadn’t grown up in Scotland and in the end, the concept of the Treasure Chest hidden by my Gaelic-speaking Ancestor, forced off his land for sheep, as a sort of revenge against his incredibly economically successful Sheep-Sheering Grandson, came to me as a full concept just while out walking. It helped me realise that my story as a Clearances Diaspora Returnee, returning to ‘re-discover’ Scotland, is actually a very important part of the varying threads of Scottish social and cultural history, and in the end, I’m really happy with how it all came together.
Ariel will continue to share her thoughts and updates from her time in residence developing Òr Treasure.
‘Òr Treasure’ is a new production in development, written by Ariel Killick, directed by Jen McGregor, production managed by Emily Ingram, and produced by Hopscotch Theatre.
‘Òr Treasure’ is in development until March 2022 and touring later in 2022.
‘Òr Treasure’ is supported by Fèisean Nan Gaidheal via the Maoin Ealan Gàidhlig Fund.
Written by Ariel Killick, February 2022.
Edited by Hopscotch Theatre, February 2022.