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Massacre of Glencoe
Script and show content



Tour 2003

All shows 7pm-10pm

The script and show running order will appear here shortly


Tickets? - Reserve yours now:
tickets@thescottishtattoo.com

 

 

Performers will include Scottish singing stars Moira Kerr & Stuart Barbour
plus Champion Brass or Military Band, Champion Highland Dancers, First Class Pipes & Drums,
Royal Scottish Country Dancers and Irish Dancers, Gaelic Singer

 

The Show Script

Voice Over

In August 1691 King William of Orange decreed that all Highland Clans swear an oath of allegiance to him by new years day 1692.  Letters of fire and sword would be issued against any Clan failing to meet the deadline.  On 31 December, Alastair MacIain Chief of the Glencoe MacDonalds reluctantly made his way to Fort William to sign.  There, Colonel Hill the Governor, advised that he must swear his oath at Inverary 40 miles away.  Without stopping, although passing within half a mile of his home, he hurried through the snow covered mountains to Inverary.  Sir Colin Campbell of Ardkinglass, sheriff of Argyleshire was absent.  The oaths were finally sworn on 6 January 1692.  The massacre that followed has been described as the foulest deed in Scottish history and left its mark on the Clans MacDonald and Campbell.  Over 300 years later you will witness the meeting of MacIain and Campbell in heaven and take the opportunity to help settle their feud.

 

MacIain looking across gloom to Campbell                                                                                

Is that you Campbell? Come to haunt me in heaven after murdering me in my own home? 

 

Campbell

Aye, it’s me - Capt. Robert Campbell of Glenlyon. But I have not come to haunt you Alastair MacIain. Did ye no hear the heavenly music? It’s time for the reckoning. Time to put our story to the test and let the world decide which of us had right on his side. (Gesture to audience so they know they are the world!)

 

MacIain

Murdering a man and his family in his own house can never be right.                                      

 

Sir John Dalrymple, Master of Stair                                                                     

But I say rooting out such a damnable Sept as the MacIains of Glencoe* - the worst in the Highlands - is not a murder but a public service. 

 

Pipes & Drums                                                                                  

Cock o’ the North, 4 parts Pibroch of Donald Dhu 4 parts    

MacIain                                                                                         

The music of the Highlands stirs my memory. We MacDonalds of Glencoe gave you Campbells a bloody nose at Loch Awe and rescued Donald Dhu - the last surviving grandson of the Lord of the Isles.

 

Campbell                                                                                       

A MacDonald yes - but he was only alive because he had a Campbell for a grandmother!

 

MacIain

I admit we have not always been enemies. These lands were given to the MacDonalds by King Robert Bruce himself - after MacDonalds and Campbells had fought side by side to defeat the MacDougalls who were with Balliol and the English. I was the 12th Chief. Although our clan has never numbered more than 500 we always managed to raise a hundred warriors. 

Pipes & Drums                                                                                   

Wi’ a Hundred Pipers Colins’ Cattle, march off Shoals of Herring.           

 

Dalrymple

Whilst the Campbells prospered with Government support, gaining lands by force, marriage and trickery - you MacDonalds were nothing but murdering thieving scoundrels. Always raiding the lowlands, stealing cattle and taking your plunder back to your smoky stone hovels in the hills. Living on sheep, cattle meat and smoked herring was a savage way of life and your time ran out. The Government could not have lawlessness so something had to be done!      

                                                       

Brass/Military Band                                                                             

English Warlike music                                                                                                              

 

Campbell          to MacIain                                                                                              

You and others drove me off my lands. Leaving me with drinking, gambling and army pay for my way of life.

 

MacIain                                                                                         

So that’s why you came for me.

 

Pipes & Drums                                                                                   

The Campbells are coming, Glendaruel Highlanders.

 

Brass/Military Band                                                                             

Including Road to the Isles

 

Campbell                                                                                       

You brought it all on yourself MacIain. You did not sign the oath of allegiance to King William of Orange until it was too late. That gave Dalrymple, the secretary of state, the excuse he needed to carry out the king’s orders to the letter.

 

MacIain                                                                                         

But I was only 5 days late and I did sign.

 

Dalrymple                                                                                      

But you were a Jacobite at heart MacIain and you and your kind were better put to death by fire and sword.

 

MacIain Gestures to performance area fron stage.                                                   

But see here Campbell, how I gave you and your troops true Highland hospitality for 10 days.

CEILIDH - variety of song, music & dance

Country Dancers                                          

Moira Kerr 

Sings "MacIain"

 

Moira  Addresses Chief and Clan members – and welcomes cousins from Ireland to join the entertainment.

Irish Dancers                                                    

Gaelic Singer       - Emma MacInnes  Mod Gold Medallist from North Uist 

Highland Dancers                                            

MacIain                                                                   

Then, Campbell, my son Alexander noticed that your men were active and making preparations – but he was assured all was well.

Brass/Military Band (representing the army)                                                       

Dalrymple                                                                                       

On the evening of 12th February 1692 my orders, countersigned by King William, were received by Captain Campbell and his true mission became known to him.

Reads out the order from scroll. "Duncanson's Order"

Campbell                                                                                                 

And at 5 o’clock next morning, as a beacon was lit on Signal Hill - I obeyed that fateful order.

Carnage here as the Brass/Military Band stand and shout “Death to the MacDonalds” very loudly – waving hands/instruments etc at the Highland Dancers (the MacDonalds). The dancers stand at the first shout and run around stage screaming. Some will escape and some will die all over the stage! When done everyone is still and the Brass/Military Band - still standing -have their heads bowed. The stage will have some dead bodies laying on it for effect. Stage still dim. Piper plays as the massacre gets under way

Piper/ Pipes & Drums                                                                                            

plays Ballad of Glencoe solo once through during the carnage then joined by band playing.

 

Moments silence then MacIain sings from centre stage spot on, sings Ballad of Glencoe throughout (unaccompanied if possible) At end all heads bowed and silence (audience applause probably unless they are all crying!)                                                                                                   

 

MacIain             to Campbell.                                                                                           

In murdering me and my kin you violated the highland code of hospitality.

 

Campbell            to MacIain

Aye and it haunts me to this day - but I had no choice. I had reason enough to kill you but how, when and where was not of my choosing. My quarrel was with you. I spared your sons and grandson and out of 300 of your clan only 38 died that day.

 

MacIain                                                                                         

But many more died in the hills, from cold and starvation.

 

Dalrymple                                                                                      

And good riddance!

3 years after the massacre, a commission cleared the king and blamed me for the murders. I had to resign - but when you do your duty and do right - you need not trouble yourself to take the pains to vindicate yourself. I was soon back in favour.

 

MacIain to audience and joined by Campbell and Dalrymple.                             

So, more than 300 years after the massacre of me and my clan - we need you to decide which of us is, perhaps, the most guilty.

 

Dalrymple                                                                                      

Aye, if you believe that the thieving MacIain, gestures to him the MacDonald of Glencoe, was most at fault - shout aye.

Audience responds.

MacIain                                                                                         

And if you think it was Robert Campbell of Glenlyon shout aye now.

Audience responds.

Campbell                                                                                       

But if you think, after hearing our story, that the true culprit was Sir John Dalrymple, Master of Stair and Secretary of State - let it be known now!

Audience responds.

MacIain                                                                                         

The matter is finally settled. Henceforth, may our clans work together for the good of Scotland and Britain.

MacIain & Campbell go off - pals together? Issue solved after 300 years?                                             

Pipes & Drums March                                                                         

Scotland the Brave

Interval 20 mins  

Second Half

Moira & Stuart Introduce performers 2nd half    

Moira Kerr           2 songs                                                                

Pipes & Drums                                                                                                  

Own choice MSR set            

Country Dancers                                                                                 

Brass/Military Band                                                                              

Gaelic Singer                  2 songs                                                                  

Enter via aisles exit stage left. Lights off singer, light stage floor

Highland Dancers                                                                          

Stuart Barbour              2 songs                                                            

Irish Dancers                                                                                          

 

Pipes & Drums               

Country Dancers                                                                                

 

Highland Dancers                                                                                  

Irish Dancers                                                                                           

 

Pipes & Drums                                                                                          

Combined Bands                                                                                    

Highland Cathedral                                                                    

 

Brass/Military Band                                                                            

Evening Hymn & Sunset                                                                                                    

Brass/Military Band                                                                            

National Anthem

 

Pipes & Drums                                                                                            

Flower of Scotland        

Lone Piper                                                                                               

Moira/Stuart          singalong medley  (alternate)                                                                                                                                                                     

Combined Bands/singers                                                                   

Auld Lang Syne     x 3                                                                                          

 

Combined Bands                                               

We're no awa' to bide awa', Highland Laddie, The Black Bear                                          

 

© Ian McLennan. "The Scottish Tattoo" 1999 revised 27 November 2002

 

 

 

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