The Captain’s Collection
Matthew Zajac of Dogstar Theatre to play Gaelic music preservationist Captain Simon Fraser
The latest production from Inverness-based company Dogstar is a rich tale about a composer and former British Army officer who courts fame by publishing his volumes of Highland music. The piece, which is being performed in Glasgow as part of Celtic Connections, is adapted from an original idea by Blazin’ Fiddles’ Bruce McGregor that was adapted into an award-winning four-part radio series in 1999.
‘While Gaelic culture of north Scotland was being eviscerated, Captain Simon Fraser was preserving a lot of tunes,’ says artistic director Matthew Zajac, who also takes on the titular role. ‘He was a vain man and rather obsessed with his music. He embodies the schizophrenia that so many people in the Highlands were supposed to have.’
Desperate to appeal to the bourgeoisie, the Captain removed the Gaelic and anti-government elements from his collection of Scotland’s folk tales. This production, however, reclaims the catalogue, embracing and reimagining the tunes the Captain preserved by means of a live duo alternating between fiddle, guitar, clarsach and keyboards.
‘Music is pretty fully incorporated into the show,’ says Zajac. ‘It is rich in language, funny, loving and we’re blessed with the performers we’ve got in the show – myself excluded!’
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 25 & Thu 26 Jan.