CHARACTERS

Lindsay MacDonnell
Physical Characteristics: Age 18, attractive, tall like her father, long blond hair, skinny figure. Wears little or no make up. Funky, retro bohemian dresser.
Personality: Affable, reserved, hesitant to form close relationships. Quick witted, Doesn’t take things at face value, artistic, vegetarian.
Background: Mother passed away when she was 12, has a mercurial relationship with her father.
Speech patterns: unflustered, articulate, forms strong arguments.

Mr MacDonnell
Physical Characteristics: Age 48, tall, slightly greying hair, sensitive in nature.
Personality: Intellectual, attractive, old school practical around the house. Good sense of humour. Never has enough time. Appreciates the French Impressionists and Chick Murray. Likes being the centre of attention. A people person yet has become something of a recluse of late.
Background: McDonnell Clan Chief. A well-respected author (Psychology). Runs the Loch Ness Visitor Centre.
Speech Pattern: Regularly holds conversations with his deceased wife (Morag). Can be loud at times and a bit flowery. Makes too many euphemisms and analogies. Easily distracted.

Duane
Physical Characteristics: Age 19. Clean cut, contemporary look, dark hair, pointy side burns. Big seductive smile. Always wears hip stylish black clothes.
Personality: Confident, astute, yet impatient, enthusiastic. Get on with it attitude to life. Has a strong sense of self.
Background: Believes that in life anything is possible.
Speech patterns: His natural excitability outweighs his desire to act cool. Confident if a bit brash. Speaks his mind.

Martine
Physical Characteristics: Age 38. Bright red lips. Busty, big, curly black hair, Latin looks, walks like she is dancing in high heels.
Personality: Always smiling, dresses for a Rio street parade. Pretends to be working hard when anyone passes by.
Background: Worked in an Edinburgh Hotel in the 90’s. Fired when she spilled soup on Mr Mac, a guest at the time. Has worked as nanny/housekeeper for the McDonnell family for 16 years.
Speech patterns: heavy Mexican accent mixed with even stronger Scottish parlance. Interrupts a lot.

Professor Ferguson
Physical Characteristics: Age 52, Archetypal mad professor. Larger than life, balding with fluffy red hair on each side, quite camp deportment
Personality: Bonkers. Knowledgeable, does not suffer fools. Nonchalant, a well liked lecturer, helpful, really cares about his work and his students.
Background: Spent all his life in academia, plays the mouth organ.
Speech Patterns: Authorative, affected deep voice which at times reverts back to its natural sweetness.

Angus
Physical Characteristics: Age 62, gardener and handyman. Rough, countryman appearance. Personality: Dour, unco-operative. Ill-at-ease indoors and in polite company. Devoted to the family he has served all his life. The obedience he has owed to Mr Mac will pass to Lindsay when she becomes guardian of the house and loch.
Background: Spent all his life in the service of the MacDonnell family. Started, under his father, as an assistant in the gardens, straight from school. His is not a sophisticated skill; the gardens require hard labour rather than botanical knowledge. His duties include providing the house with firewood, game and vegetables. He occasionally, and reluctantly, helps out in the house when there are too many guests for the family and Martine to cope with.
Speech Patterns: softly spoken, highland accent.

Graham MacAbel
Physical Characteristics: Age 35, good-looking, suave, well-dressed, sophisticated.
Personality: Pleasant, good company, charming. However, it is all a front: his only interest is in obtaining more power and money for himself. He recognises that he will most often get his own way by being seemingly gracious rather than aggressive. Capable of anger.
Background: He has inherited his estate, close to the MacDonnells’. He has not lived there, however, being brought up and educated in the south. The Highland estate was a holiday retreat for the family but now that he has control of it he is determined to make it pay. He is ruthlessly trying to take advantage of a doubt that exists over the ownership of the land between the Macdonnell house and the loch.
Speech patterns: private school, smooth, generally quiet – till thwarted.

The Ensemble
and of course
The Loch Ness Monster



SYNOPSIS

The musical considers universal themes such as family relationships, the search for truth and love. The need to make selfless decisions for the good of the whole is also explored. Overall, protecting the Loch is viewed as a metaphor for the environmental decisions that we face globally.

Act One

After tonight's party to celebrate her 18th birthday, Lindsay will be off to University where, with an eye to the future, she will take up her place in Media Studies. Her preparations for the party have revealed a still-strong feeling of loss following her mother’s death 12 years before. To some extent Martine acts as a surrogate mother.

At the party, Lindsay's father thinks how beautiful she looks as she makes her way downstairs past the full-height balcony windows of their baronial family home which sits on the edge of the loch. Her relationship with her father has at times been volatile, yet, as she prepares to leave the family home, it seems they have never been closer.

A shadow falls across both party and future when neighbouring laird, Graham MacAbel, reveals to Mr Mac that he intends developing the strip of land that lies between the house and the loch. Mr Mac believes that the land had belonged to his wife and that somewhere there exist the deeds to prove it.

Mr Mac reminds Lindsay that they have been custodians of the Loch for 1500 years, that time stands still for no man, and that we must adapt if we are to protect what we hold dear. After his wife died, Lindsay's father, eminent psychologist Ian MacDonnell, has immersed himself in his work. He is now the elder member of the MacDonnell family, who had over the generations made it their charge to protect the loch.

To her shock, Lindsay is made aware of the true nature of her father's work: many years ago the keepers of the Loch agreed that the best way to protect the Loch's secret (the Monster) was, from time to time, to create decoy creatures, so naive that they would be easily discredited. It followed that any true sightings would also be disregarded as hoaxes. Blowing away the dust from an old book, her father highlights a few entries from these diaries. He reads an early account of Seers living among a superstitious community; all they need do was a scary dance to keep undesirables away.

He goes on to describe a pagan ceremony - emerging from layers of low lying mist, flaming torches, relentless chanting and drumming from painted bodies dancing wildly. To climax, a fiery effigy honed from branches and twigs would be set out onto the loch, smoke rising up to the heavens.

These days on the other hand, Lindsay will need to trust her intuition. Her father assures her that whatever the future holds, the legend will be around her. Midnight heralds a spectacular fireworks display, 18 intense flashes of coloured light cast mysterious shadows across the loch. In the distance an eerie echo can be heard resounding across the loch from the mountains.

Act Two

Three years later, on the eve of her graduation, Lindsay learns of  MacAbel’s plans. Her father has managed to hold him off thus far, but can do so no longer since the missing deeds have not been found.

At University, Lindsay is a popular student with a gift for being in the right place at the right time - her friends are convinced she must be psychic. Lindsay and her fellow students have learned much over their years, in particular from Professor Ferguson who has provided great insight into the Scottish identity, its myths and its legends, most of which seem founded on clever invention.

After one lesson on hoaxes in the media. Lindsay gives a gift to fellow student Duane - a thank you for helping her with her studies. Lindsay and Duane are clearly attracted to one another. Unusually Lindsay refuses Duane's advances, she simply cannot allow anyone to get to close to her, however tonight she agrees to walk back to his flat.

At the Loch House, MacAbel gives Mr Mac a final warning.

A warm balmy wind billows at the curtains as he opens the window for some air. Outside a neon sign flashes weird shadows into the room. Duane wants to talk about Lindsay but she's too nervous to notice and dances around the subject all night. Eventually he corners her, looks her straight in the eye and confesses that he thinks she is different from all the others.... enchanting.... beautiful.... sexy.... he kisses her and for a time she is enchanted.

In the middle of the night Lindsay becomes aware that her father is dying and leaves Duane’s bed to go to him.

When Duane awakes early the following morning, he is shocked to find that Lindsay has gone. He calls her mobile leaving the message that they meet after the graduation ceremony later that day, but she doesn’t turn up at the graduation. Believing she is avoiding him, Duane is disappointed, worried and annoyed. However, his main concern is that he may never see her again.

Duane thanks his lecturers on behalf of the class but goes on to make a moving plea for information on Lindsay's whereabouts, Prof. Ferguson passes him a publicity leaflet for Lindsay's father's Visitor attraction. He resolves to go there and find her.

At the loch, Duane meets Martine and hears of the untimely passing of Lindsay's father. She warns him off trying to contact Lindsay, believing that this is what Lindsay wants. However, love drives Duane into attempting to cross the loch in spite of the fact that at that time of night getting there won’t be easy. A local boatman offers to rent him a small craft. Although the weather is closing in, he heads out into the loch towards the MacDonnell family home. Staring into the paraffin lamp that will light his way across the misty darkness of the Loch, he considers his romance with Lindsay and questions whether or not it’s time to put out the flicker that once was flame.

At the house Lindsay has already taken over the duties she inherited from her father. To save the land she even considers accepting a proposal of marriage from MacAbel but she and the land are saved by her discovery of the whereabouts of the deeds. She and Martine also discover that MacAbel has been pursuing them both. With the land problem solved they take great delight in dumping him.

The weather turns, it begins to rain heavily, the Loch becomes choppy and lightning strikes in the mountains; Duane is in difficulties. Lindsay has a feeling something is amiss. She rushes down to the balcony, from where she can just make out Duane in the boat. She calls out to him. He begins to reply when, tragically, his boat upturns and he is lost to the Loch. Lindsay pleads to the spirit of the Loch to spare his life; the echo of her screams resound across the loch. Lindsay rushes down to Duane's body on the shore. She cradles him in her arms begging his forgiveness for turning her back on him. She speaks of her background and the real reasons for remaining aloof. By a miracle Duane comes around. He explains that he imagined a large creature, like the one in Prof. Ferguson's pictures, lifting him up from the deep and laying him on the shore. Lying there, he could hear Lindsay talking, quietly, but he had heard everything she said. Now that she had revealed everything to him there could be no reason for them to be apart, whatever happens, they can face the future together. She imagines her mother and father up on the mountain, smiling down on them both.

Their wedding is a joyous occasion with much huchin'n'burlin'. After singing Auld Lang Syne with the guests, Lindsay steals away from the party and walks to her favourite spot on the balcony - she looks out over the moonlit loch. Stars reflect on the surface which looks like sparkling polished onyx. Hearing that familiar echoey sound - she is unfazed and looks neither shocked nor afraid when, in a spectacular and dramatic final reveal a Leviathan begins to rise from the loch before her. She looks up as its powerful mass is silhouetted against lights from the house. The entire loch seems to settle into a stunned silence as a huge shadow is cast across the loch, another old friend has come to visit.

For further information please contact donjack@ideas.co.uk   © Don Jack 2004