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Hector MacMillan Technician     Playwright     Luthier Honorary President: Scottish Society of Playwrights

Honorary Fellow: Association For Scottish Literary Studies

“If we investigate only by physical and chemical means, we can only get physical and chemical answers.”

Sir Alister Hardy, FRS

Clann a CheoClann A Cheo

Commissioned by Fir Chlis Theatre Company, Isle of Harris, 1980.

Director Mairead Ross.

Gaelic translations by Tormod Domhnallach.

Music, dance, poetry and song blended with drama to suit the capabilities of the new company.

Some years earlier I had the intention to write a play for Dundee Rep around the story of Rob Ruadh MacGriogair, but some unexpected changes in circumstances caused that project to be abandoned. Much of the research material then amassed was used to inform this play.

Clann A Cheo [Children of the Mist] uses the history of the persecuted Clann Griogair as a short-hand symbol for the Celts in general, particularly in relation to repressions by invading foreign ideologies intent on cultural and ethnic cleansing.

The story of Rob Ruadh MacGriogair's wife, Eilidh Mairi MacGriogair, has been much overshadowed by the exploits of her famous husband. There has been very little historical research into the verifiable facts of her life and the pen-portrait by Sir Walter Scott almost certainly conveys a highly distorted outline.

During her husband's outlawry the Duke of Montrose ordered his factor, Grahame of Killearn, to take troops and evict her from the family home at Craigrostan. That Eilidh Mairi was badly abused is not disputed. She possibly was raped. One account used a phrase in Latin to suggest more than rape was involved.

The play puts one psychologically-possible interpretation on events when, much later, Rob Ruadh eventually captured Grahame of Killearn, had him prisoner on an island in Loch Katrine, yet seems to have turned him loose without any revenge recorded.

It was a very ambitious project for the recently-formed Fir Chlis [Northern Lights] Company and they rose to the challenge.

The production had a successful tour of the Western Isles as well as performances in Edinburgh and, I think, London.

The material of the basic script has all the ingredients for a Scottish Opera.