The hidden secrets of what once went on under our feet, in the various mines of Scotland is revealed in Tortoise in a Nutshell’s The Last Miner. Developed in association with Catherine Wheels and Ideas Tap, this new children’s play concentrates on the life of one man, as he exists in self-imposed solitude in the shadows and dark recesses of a his own thoughts. Whilst living in a place that just so happens to be a nameless and forgotten old mine.
The Last Miner follows the eponymous title character as he lives out the remainder of his life in the space where he used to work. With only a few treasured artefacts, belongings and a persistently chirpy canary for company, the deteriorating condition of his home leads him to make a difficult choice; should he stay underground, or abandon the mine for a new life on the surface?
Performed using puppets, music and very few words, The Last Miner presents a tender and understanding insight into the decline of the mining industry, and the very human cost of the loss of employment and consequently, identity. Set in an unknown time, this piece moves gracefully through a dark and lonely underground world carved by loss and haunted by memory. Peppered with themes of bereavement, lost love and tradition, this play succeeds in to creating a long-awaited homage to a forgotten part of Britain’s history. But the real message of Tortoise in a Nutshell’s highly atmospheric play is the notion of learning from the events of your past, whilst not getting lost in them, and finally accepting the opportunities that the future holds. Both heartbreaking and uplifting, this is an exceptionally moving and universally appealing piece of new theatre for children and young people from a promising company that have so much more to give.