THE MAN WHO LEFT THE TITANIC

SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL...
SHE WAS UNSINKABLE...
SHE WAS DOOMED...

On April 25th 1912, the Titanic, the greatest ship in the world, slipped below the frigid waters of the Atlantic.

Yet J. Bruce Ismay, Managing Director of the White Star Line, stepped onto a lifeboat and sailed away from the stricken ship, sailed away from his passengers, sailed away from the cries and screams and tears.

'The Man Who Left The Titanic' evokes that terrible voyage and asks whether Bruce Ismay only did what any of us might have done in the same circumstances, or should his actions that night consign his name to infamy? Was he a coward, or merely human?

A new play by Patrick Prior - Performed by Pat Abernethy and Dave Marsden
Directed by Jim Dunk


Reviews

The reception room in the City Hall provided an excellent venue for an enthralling evening of theatre.Two men - and a few boxes - held the audience for over an hour as they talked through their strongly held feelings, one the accuser and the other a man trying to defend himself against the undefendable.Or was his action understandable? Andrews (Dave Marsden) is quite chilling as he cross examines his superior and his intensions.Ismay, (Pat Abernethy) gains an amount of sympathy with his plea, “Give peace to my soul.”Clever writing by Patrick Prior tells the story of the ship and it’s last few hours......The big question held within The Man Who Left The Titanic asks, was Ismay a coward, or merely human and it left the audience of about 50 wondering, what would I have done? The much respected Isosceles Company are undoubtedly multi-talented and this production must be one of their most thought provoking. I would encourage you to get tickets.

Anne Hailes - Irish News

 

This is a new play by Patrick Prior,conceived as a duologue between conscience and dismissal of responsibility. The central figure is J Bruce Ismay, who was the managing director of the White Star line, and he admitted to the authorities getting on board what was believed to be the last life-boat. He escaped, while the ship he commissioned sank to the bottom of the Atlantic. Pat Abernethy and Dave Marsden perform the moral arguments beautifully, with resonating voices and eloquence of speech. The captivating words covered the tragic and chilling facts, which were enthralling to hear and historically accurate, many aspects of the story being new to anyone like me who has only seen the blockbuster movie. The play gives a deeper understanding and grasp of why the public responded by calling the vessel cursed........the actors were elegant, graceful and delightfully modest, never appearing false or forced in their delivery.

Lola McEvoy - Darlington and Stockton Times

 

Patrick Prior's research into the facts and statistics relating to the Titanic disaster was meticulous. You were watching the ghosts of J Bruce Ismay and Thomas Andrews(reminiscent of Scrooge and Marley) going over the conduct of Bruce Ismay and others on that fateful night in 1912. Pat Abernethy and Dave Marsden give excellent performances....Ismay claimed he only did what anyone might have done under the same circumstances, we don't know how we would react in the same situation.This is a MUST SEE play, catch it when it comes to a theatre near you....a splendid performance.

Howard Nelson - Titanic Heritage Trust

 

A Little after 7:00pm the lights dimmed and the play began, and what a play it proved to be, thanks to the skillful acting by two extremely professional actors, Pat Abernethy and Dave Marsden. The play is set in 1932, twenty years after Titanic sank. Stage props were large open topped wooden boxes, similar to those one might see on a pier or onboard a ship. These figured into the play acting perfectly during the many pensive moments, giving the impression they might have represented lifeboats or a shelter for Ismay to retreat to. Ismay's words and gestures were filled with emotion, guilt, and occasionally tearful answers, which added admirably to his role of a man totally beaten down by the pressure of the years as he too had been questioning himself why he chose to do what he did that night leaving so many to die. Because Andrews "was deceased", his ability to ask Ismay direct pointed questions then freeze in position stonefaced to await Ismay's answers were perfect dramatic pauses which reinforced his role of being deceased. Both actors fed off each others lines perfectly without any hesitation in their flawless dialogue. The back and forth questioning and answers provided to each other by these two excellent actors is "excellence personified". When "The Man Who Left The TITANIC" ended the audience leaped to their feet with an unending round of applause, still applauding as they departed. Should you have the opportunity to see this play, do not miss it. Outstanding, the entire audience were spellbound from scene one to the end.

Commander Bill Wilson

Member, Titanic International Society

 


To watch just two men exchanging dialogue over two acts on a near empty stage could easily be hard work for an audience but this play is anything but. It is captivating, moving and totally engrossing.

Titanic Stories, Belfast

 

The theme of this two-hander is survivor's guilt. Years after the sinking of the Titanic, the chairman of the White Star shipping line....is visited by the ghost of the ship's architect, one of the drowned heroes of the disaster, well played by Dave Marsden.........The premise of the play is interesting. Well documented facts about the ship are trotted out and there are re-enactments of the official inquiry into the monumental tragedy........Pat Abernethy as Ismay is a man who thinks he is more sinned against than sinning. And perhaps this is the case.

Irish Examiner ***

 

Patrick Prior's work is an effective marshalling of the facts. And director Jim Dunk....brings a clarity and efficiency to the way in which the arguments are presented. In so far as it is a kind of courtroom drama, he and the writer give us a clear presentation of the case for the prosecution and the case for the defence. Pat Abernethy as Ismay characterises him with a sense of self-justification, anger, compassion and hurt while Dave Marsden gets to take the smarmier, unforgiving prosecutorial role sitting in judgement.....(the play) does tap into the bottomless fascination with all things Titanic and it is most effective as a courtroom drama eliciting a lot of information and putting honour on trial.

Evening Echo, Cork

 

The Man Who Left The Titanic is a powerful narative, brilliantly delivered on a narrow but important topic in the multiplicity of issues surrounding the sinking of the great liner. Absent are the bells, whistles and glamour of Hollywood, instead theatre goers are presented with the stark reality of loss, self doubt and human tragedy. In a magnificent performance by Abernethy and Marsden the occasional surfacing of arrogance, power and position is strongly balanced by the haunting regret of those who survived and lived.........It airs the doubts, explores the excuses and leaves the audience with an informed balance from which to deduce for themselves their own conclusions.

Michael Martin, Author and Creator - Titanic Trail

 

As part of the Belfast Titanic Society's Convention in May 2011 The Man Who Left The Titanic was performed on a barge........The performance by both actors Pat Abernethy and Dave Marsden was outstanding, bringing the characters to life; you could feel the emotion and almost put yourself in that ghostly room! Indeed the emotions were not only portrayed by the actors as I was reduced to tears at the end of the first act! The play was well written and factually well researched by Patrick Prior............At the end of the production I was left wondering about the impact of media coverage and social stigmas in 1912: it seems to me not much has changed on some of those aspects in the last hundred years..........I would highly recommend this play not just to Titanic enthusiasts, but to anyone with an interest in humanity and the effects of social class and media influences on the human soul.

Patricia Keigher, Addergoole Titanic Society



 

The performance on the Barge was amazing. Many have said to me that they
now think differently about Ismay after seeing the play. You really
brought the characters alive. Well done again....I've told everyone to get tickets to see the play.
Una Reilly MBE - Co-Founder Belfast Titanic Society

I did enjoy the piece very much in Cork.
Patrick Talbot - FormerArtistic Director, Everyman Palace, Cork

I would have no hesitation recommending this play.
Clifford Ismay - Titanic Schools Project

Best show I've seen in this theatre.
Finlay Calder - Scottish and Lions Rugby International

I saw your show during our recent Arts Festival and very much enjoyed the play and the performers.
Roger Windsor MBE, Trustee Dumfries and Galloway Festival

Well done with your 'Man Who Left The Titanic' at the Antrim Courthouse last Monday night - a first class piece of work.
Terry Madill - Titanic Schools Project


For two actors to create so large a cast of characters in so small a place and to convey so many ideas was truly impressive.
Highgate Cemetery Newsletter


 


This play opened at the Yvonne Arnaud Mill Studio, Guildford 

February 2010 and has since played at the following veues;

Nuffield Theatre Studio, Southampton

Middlesbrough Theatre

The Stables Theatre, Hastings

Georgian Theatre, Richmond

Subcription Rooms, Stroud

Byre Theatre, St Andrews

Cumbernauld Theatre

Haddington Festival

Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine

Lockerbie Little Theatre

Bowhill Theatre, Selkirk

Yetholm Hall, Kelso Cub

Everyman Palace, Cork

Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

Wimbledon Studio Theatre (2 weeks)

Brookside Theatre, Romford (2013, 2015)

The Ellen Terry Theatre, Kent

Helmsley Arts Centre, Yorkshire

St John's Chapel, Chichester

Queens Theatre, Hornchurch

Cutty Sark, Greenwich

The Playhouse, Sleaford

The Heron Arts Centre, Cumbria

The Rose Theatre, Kidderminster

The Sarah Thorne Theatre, Broadstairs

Birchington Village Hall, Kent

Highgate Cemetery Chapel

Eastgate Theatre, Peebles

Civic Theatre, Motherwell

East Kilbride Arts Centre

Eden Court Theatre, Inverness

Theatre Royal, Dumfries

Arts Guild Theatre, Greenock

Birchvale Theatre, Dalbeattie

Mill On The Fleet, Gatehouse of Fleet

Haddo House, Aberdeenshire

Boat of Garten

Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Swallow Theatre, Whithorn

Bluecoat School Theatre, Coventry

The Barge, Belfast (Titanic 100 Festival)

Market Place Theatre, Armagh

The Playhouse, Derry

Limavady Theatre

Island Arts Centre, Lisburn

The Old Courthouse, Antrim

The Courtyard Theatre, Newtownabbey

Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen

Riverside Theatre, Coleraine

Burnavon Theatre, Cookstown

Garage Theatre, Monaghan

Norbury Theatre, Droitwich

Ifield Barn, Crawley

Limelight Arts Centre, Aylesbury

Spotlight Theatre, Bridlington

Dragon Theatre, Barmouth

The Maltings Theatre, St Albans

Horsham Arts Centre

Phoenix Theatre, Bordon

Underground Theatre, Eastbourne

De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton

Belfast City Hall

Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick

Linenhall Library, Belfast

Square Chapel, Halifax

Netherstowe School Theatre

Eccleshall Theatre,Norfolk

Sheringham Little Theatre, Norfolk

Angles Theatre, Wisbech


AUDIENCE REACTION


It was fab! Saw it Tuesday night (Cork), I really enjoyed it.


We absolutely loved it, brilliant, gripping and perfect.


Wow! Just wanted to say thank you, far beyond brilliant - I so enjoyed it.


I have just returned from the Square Chapel with a friend. Not visiting theatres regularly, we didn't know what to expect. I can honestly say we were both captivated from start to finish. The use of dialogue, lighting and minimal props, really brought this fascinating part of hstory to life. The actors were true professionals and the emotions expressed were spot on. Thanks for a great evening.


I see 200 shows a year and this was pure magic! Congratulations.


It was such a good performance you gave at The Barn. Come again and soon. You add a touch of class that is much appreciated in the sticks.


Wonderful. I was so affected by this play. I will take it home with me.


A wonderful evening...enthralling and enlightening...Thank you both for bringing the tragedy of the Titanic to life on stage in this way.


That show was amazing, we'll definitely book to see your next one.


Thought it was absolutely brilliant, acting first class, script very well written.


Absolutely fantastic - would book to see it again without thinking about it. Well done guys!


Thanks for a great night, so interesting a subject and very well presented.


Great show.


My friend and I really enjoyed the play on Friday night. It was thought provoking, as usual, and had us gripped from start to finish. Thanks for great performances.


It was a lovely show, we both enjoyed it a lot.


I have had excellent feedback for 'Titanic'...Thank you for bringing your fabulous production to the Playhouse.


A real play - that's what I call proper theatre - congratulations!


Very impressed, thanks for the show. I learned some history as well, ie run of bad luck from start to finish for the ship. Very thought provoking in reference to work, blame culture and the 5 levels of failure, then denial, to catastrophe and hanging someone out to dry.