Gar­nish play evokes strong emo­tions

“The Caranza and a Man of Faith” tells the story of the tragic sink­ing

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - BY AL­LAN STOODLEY

Some 200 peo­ple were in at­ten­dance at the Gar­nish Com­mu­nity Cen­ter on Fri­day, Aug. 10 for the pre­sen­ta­tion of the emo­tion­ally charged play “The Caranza and a Man of Faith”.

The play is a true story of the sink­ing of the schooner Caranza in Septem­ber 1930, tak­ing eight men from the small Burin Penin­sula com­mu­nity of Gar­nish to the bot­tom with her.

Two other fish­er­men from the com­mu­nity, Ge­orge Aaron Cluett and Thomas Cluett, along with four other sea­men from other com­mu­ni­ties, man­aged to es­cape the sink­ing ship. For 72 hours, with­out food, wa­ter or a com­pass, the sur­vivors bat­tled the un­for­giv­ing el­e­ments in a small open dory be­fore they were fi­nally res­cued by a pass­ing ves­sel.

The play, writ­ten and di­rected by Ho­ra­tio Cluett, is also the story of his fa­ther, Ge­orge Aaron Cluett — one of the sur­vivors — and the ef­fect the ter­ri­ble or­deal had on him and how it changed the path the rest of his life would take.

The au­di­ence was stone quiet and tears were welling up in some eyes as the loud thun­der, light­ning and wind tossed the ex­hausted six fish­er­men in their dory around like a cork on the open ocean. Then the quiet af­ter the storm passed and to keep their spir­its up the weak­en­ing sur­vivors be­gan singing the hymn “Throw out the life­line across the dark wave”.

In the words of 76-year-old Bert Cluett, son of sur­vivor Thomas Cluett, “The play re­ally af­fected me. I can’t imag­ine the emo­tions and the feel­ings my fa­ther and the oth­ers had dur­ing the three days and nights in the dory. The ac­tors did a fan­tas­tic job and all of them along

“The play re­ally af­fected me. I can’t imag­ine the emo­tions and the feel­ings my fa­ther and the oth­ers had dur­ing the three days and nights in the dory.”

with Ho­ra­tio are to be com­mended. It was su­perb.”

Bert was 18-years-old when his fa­ther died and as he ex­plained, “Dad didn’t talk a lot about the ship­wreck.”

In later years his fa­ther, who Bert de­scribed as be­ing a very nice, quiet and re­li­gious man, said to him, “Your Dad was a very brave man .... it was very tough go­ing out there.”

At the con­clu­sion of the play writer/di­rec­tor Ho­ra­tio spoke to the au­di­ence. As he choked back tears he ex­plained that all his life he found the story of the Caranza to be cap­ti­vat­ing.

“It is so hard to talk about it,” he said. “Many times in my younger years I came home at night and the first thing I would see was my fa­ther sit­ting at the kitchen ta­ble and read­ing the Bi­ble. Dad was a very re­li­gious man, teach­ing Sun­day School and so faith­ful to the Sal­va­tion Army Church.”

Many of the cast mem­bers in the play were de­scen­dants of the two Gar­nish fish­er­men who sur­vived. In at­ten­dance were many other di­rect de­scen­dants of sur­vivors Thomas and Ge­orge and the skip­per of the Caranza, Cap­tain Joshua Matthews of Grand Bank who went down with his ship.

PHO­TOS BY AL­LAN STOODLEY

Act­ing in the play “The Caranza and a Man of Faith” pre­sented dur­ing the 2018 Gar­nish Bakeap­ple Fes­ti­val were front row, from left, Bella Moul­ton, Lyn­don Se­nior, Jessie Ann Marsh, Fred Dodge, Pa­tri­cia Legge; back row, Ho­ra­tio Cluett, Holly Cluett-Smith, Wil­liam Grandy, Wayne Intveld, Bruce Grandy, Charles Reid, Carl­son Grandy, Mal­lory Wis­combe, Gayle Wis­combe, Lau­rie Se­nior and Lyn­d­say Sch­lar­baum.

Ho­ra­tio Cluett is the 76-year-old son of Ge­orge Aaron Cluett, one of the men who es­caped from the sink­ing schooner Caranza in 1930.

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