SHACKLETON'S CARPENTER Will Come to the Australian National Maritime Museum
From the producer of such memorable productions as Freud's Last Session, Howie the Rookie, Blonde Poison, The Time Machine and Lip Service, comes a different experience - a dramatised reading of Shackleton's Carpenter, by the indomitable Peter FitzSimons. It is an epic true story of exploration, survival, courage, conflict and the workings of the British class system, through the eyes of Shackleton's carpenter.
McNish is just a carpenter on an historic expedition, led by a legendary figure - almost larger than life - Sir Ernest Shackleton. In 1914, as war was about to envelope Europe, Shackleton, together with 27 hand-picked men sailed in the Endurance to Antarctica with the aim of walking to the South Pole. Within 80 miles of reaching land the Endurance became trapped in the ice. Eighteen months later all the members of the expedition were saved.
Twenty four members of the expedition were awarded the Polar Medal. Amongst the four who were not, was McNish, the man who had made the lifeboats seaworthy for the hazardous journey which led to safety.
Minor characters do not often get their side of the story interpreted by others. Rosencrantz and Gildenstern (Tom Stoppard), Kate Kelly (The Whitlams) and The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz in Wicked are a few examples.
Gail Louw's play sees McNish destitute, living rough on a wharf in Wellington, New Zealand, fighting his demons and trying to come to grips with the injustice he feels he has suffered. This minor character is given a voice!