Stage play to bring the Flannan Isles mystery to life

A new play on the enduring mystery of the disappearance of the Flannan Isles lighthouse keepers will be showing at An Lanntair this Saturday.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 12:50 pm
The three-man cast of the play: Fraser Sivewright, Garry Stewart and Rhys Anderson
The three-man cast of the play: Fraser Sivewright, Garry Stewart and Rhys Anderson

Izzy Gray’s debut play Keepers Of The Light will explore what could have happened - did the men succumb to a tragic accident or did something more sinister happen? Is there more to the mysterious island than meets the eye?

While answers might not be found, the audience will be taken on a voyage, coloured with tales of remembrance and conjecture, and with lashings of humour and suspense, promises Izzy.

Inspired by her late grandfather’s profession, the play asks whether people today can really fathom what life must have been like as a keeper 100 years ago – in a time before radio communication and with only their colleagues and the sound of the night’s sea for company.

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Izzy, who wrote the play before the pandemic, said: “We’re delving into a true story – this is something that genuinely happened back in the 1800s – three lighthouse keepers disappeared.

Don’t miss Keepers Of The Light at Aberdeen Arts Centre.

“But the reason why I really wanted to look into this story and I always wanted to write something about lighthouse keepers was because my grandad was a keeper.

“Lighthouse keepers move stations every few years. Some of the lighthouses he was at were Skerryvore, Oban, and Sule Skerry.

“He passed away when I was just a baby so I didn’t get to know him, but I was always told stories about him and his career. And it was such an interesting profession to me and it made the perfect basis for a play.

“I wanted to delve into the true story but also show what the actual job was like and what it must have been like for the men – spending a month with just each other’s company.”

Haunting true story

The new play follows three modern-day technicians who are sent to a lighthouse and realise that one of them isn’t familiar with the haunting story.

Izzy said: “They try to fill his head with these various theories of what could have happened.

“The show also explores the dangers of what a mystery can be like when people don’t know the truth.”

The show switches back and forth between modern day and December 1900 when the real-life keepers disappeared, with each of the three actors playing two roles.

Helping to bring the story – which was also the inspiration behind the 2018 film The Vanishing staring Gerard Butler – to life is an upcycled stage set.

Izzy said: “All the materials were provided by a company called Reset Scenery in Glasgow.

“They take old theatre set pieces that are no longer required and they lend them out or sell them to other companies to re-purpose or re-imagine.

“That was really keen to us – we wanted to make the show as green as possible, so to be able to make it all from recycled pieces was really exciting.”