Haunted memories of the Titanic disaster
WHEN Bruce Ismay stepped off the deck of the sinking Titanic into a lifeboat ahead of hundreds of men, women and children who perished, little did he realise that his actions would haunt him for the rest of his life and be the subject of heated discussion for almost the next hundred years.
This well-written and historically accurate play by Patrick Prior has been constructed as a narrative between Ismay (Pat Abernethy) and his guilt- ridden conscience in the form of Thomas Andrews (Dave Marsden), the ship’s designer who went down with the illfated liner.
Set in 1932, some twenty years after the disaster, the exchanges between Ismay and Andrews take us through a dramatic recollection of the sinking, emphasising the moral dilemma of Ismay’s rescue while Captain, crew and passengers – including seven millionaires - stoically accepted their fate.
Along the way we were cleverly presented with a vivid impression of the liner’s grandeur together with sensitive descriptions of the people and events on board. Mr Abernethy portrayed a troubled, broken man who nevertheless defended the decision to save himself despite the strong factual and moral arguments thrown at him. The audience make up their own mind – cowardice, self-preservation, human nature? Sadly, only a small audience witnessed this excellent play. Next year marks the centenary anniversary of the Titanic disaster – hopefully this play will be doing the rounds again then and will attract a considerably larger audience, which it deserves.
Dilemma: Pat Abernathy and Dave Marsden