Monthly Archives: February 2019

Catching up with Grant O’ Rourke

download-1I lost saw Grant O’ Rourke live at The Gilded Balloon in Jockey Wilson Said for Fringe Festival in Edinburgh during the summer of 2017. Great one man show. That fall Season 3 of Outlander aired and we said goodbye to Rupert after the Battle of Culloden. So just what has Grant been up to in the last year or so. A great bit of stage work, and recently, working with The Lyceum to promote youth in theatre. If you haven’t kept up with some of the austerity measures in the UK, many schools and other arts outlets for students have had funding yanked. So just like in the US and other countries, conservatives are hitting the arts.

Grant has been busy with stage in the last year plus, with what looks like some fun roles:

2018, StageClarke/DirkWHAT GIRLS ARE MADE OFTraverse Theatre,
2018, StageSir GeorgeTHE BELLE’S STRATAGEMRoyal Lyceum EdinburghTony Cownie
2018StageKing KeichKING KEICHOran MorPaul Brotherson
2018StageActor 2BALLYTURKTron TheatreAndy Arnold

2019StageOrgonTARTUFFEOran MorTony Cownie

Rupert has also done a bit of Television other than Outlander, while it’s 2016, still it’s a show that’s been running in the UK for a while, and you can catch on Brit Box in the US, In Plain Sight, playing DS Wilson. Plays with another Alum, Douglas Henshaw. In Plain Sight is a true story based on one of Scotland’s earliest known serial killers. Henshaw is currently playing in Shetland Season 5, airing now. If you are in the UK, you should be watching.

So keep an eye out on his Twitter feed for new adventures.

The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh Scottish Talent fund

Richard Rankin at Wizard World Comic Convention, Portland

 

 

Richard Rankin supporters were out in full force this weekend in Portland, Oregon. I attended the last day of the convention, namely to see Richard Rankin’s panel where he answered all things Richard and Roger MacKenzie. The fan group, The Rank and File, were in full force, hanging out in Richard’s booth and at his rather intimate panel.

I was first in line for autographs this Sunday morning, and chatted with some of the attendees who had been by a few times over the weekend. Due to the bridges being up and a shuttle mishap from the hotel, Rankin came a wee bit late. I want to say, he was a sport for the three of us while waiting grabbed the chalk and started creating very colorful drawings and slogans on his table. I will admit I gave him a bit of ribbing. We also proceeded to point out a video making the rounds at the convention of his not hitting the mark at the axe throwing event. We were soundly informed that it was a faked video, and he had a real video to show us, which he hunted down and shared.

He took it all in stride and fought right back with some rather original artwork all over my photo. Of course I asked for an official autograph, got that and a few selfies. Sadly the man shines and I don’t, but you’re not here about me. The hug was great, and the second one where I told him sorry for teasing so much, was even better. Yeah, he’s started working out just a bit.

The panel was a small gathering with fans and I was able to ask a question about “Was there ever a time when you had played either stage or screen, a scene you wanted to do over or make better at a later date?” Great response and insight into the acting craft. Hoping a video surfaces of the panel, with good audio because we were having trouble with the mics. But for now, have fun with the axe throwing videos on YouTube.

From the Rank and File Fan Site, Richard Rankin erm……
https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FTheRankAndFile%2Fvideos%2F558649464630111%2F&show_text=0&width=267

IMG_2633

Richard, and avid photographer, is now dabbling in art and hands on photo mods.

That’s A Wrap, Andrew Gower and Stephan Walters

IMG_2545Andrew Gower and Stephen Walters have been working fervently, when not on acting and music projects, and a documentary called Humpty Dumpty. It’s a documentary about the Mersey Beat music scene in Liverpool. It’s a story featuring Tommy Quickly, a lesser known musician of the same scene that the Beatles and Jerry and the Pacemakers came out of.

Tommy’s story took a very different path from his peers, and musicians and actors Andrew and Stephan rand a successful fundraiser. There will be some original songs by Andrew and Stephan for the track. This past week, production wrapped and it’s being edited and ready to show at film festivals. IMG_2546

Gower fans what can you see Andrew in since his days on Outlander? Plenty. The Black Mirror TV series on Netflix in Crocodile, Season 4 aired December 29, 2017. Midsomer Murders (2018) a long standing series in the UK with the episode Send in The Clowns, check it out on Britbox. Indie Film Running Naked, released in the UK in January 2019.

And wait for it…Season 5 of Poldark! Andrew will play James Hadfield in episode 5.1. Can’t locate images yet for your viewing pleasure. It was announced in January, but we do not know the particulars on this character yet. Hadfield was a political historical figure in England. He had served in the French Revolutionary Wars as soldier, received head wounds and was subsequently damaged for life. He was convinced that he could help bring about the second coming of Christ by downloadassassinating King George III. Well, if that’s not a role Andrew can get his teeth sunk into, who else could? Poldark is due for release later this year in the UK and on PBS in the US in the Fall. Other upcoming in production roles as Ezra Spurnrose in Carnival Row , a dark and moody future series, and Blessed Are They That Fear The Lord.

Stephen Walters is currently filming the new download-2series Anne, staring as Steve Williams. The film is about the Hillsborough disaster in Liverpool at the FA Cup semi finals, where Anne Williams son is killed as a result of the tragic rioting, along with 95 other victims. Stephan visited this subject before when he starred the drama Hillsborough in 1996. He is also in pre Production for This Guest Of Summer as Catcher ,with another Alum or two, Duncan Lacroix as Flayel, and directed by Graham McTavish (Mallory). Filming will start in fall of 2019 in New Zealand.

Film info and video summary about film project with a song : https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1840778365/humpty-dumpty-film?ref=user_menu

 

andrew

From Andrew Gower’s Instagram Poldark 5

 

 

Bursting the Murcasta Bubble

410jocasta

Yes, spoilers. Enter at your own risk.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a good romance. It’s just you see Murtagh’s a favorite of mine, a very special character that’s had a lot of grief in his life, a survivor. One we know would not be content to just live after all the hardships, well the easy life won’t do for him. He’s feisty to the end. Many were so quick to jump to the pairing of two unlikely characters, the fandom’s big fantasy of many fans on Murtagh taking the place of Duncan Innes came to life. He was a Drums of Autumn and Fiery Cross book character, who eventually weds Jocasta to secure River Run against marauding neighboring landowning and non-landowning suitors . You see, Jocasta in the series has been pretty tame so far. She’s smoldering under the surface. However her machinations and control aspect, as a MacKenzie, have barely begun to surface. It’s a tale of survival by wits and how else can a woman retain power in the man’s world of the 18th Century?

So why am I taking the angle here, it’s certainly  not the popular one? I just don’t see that they have a future, really. Can Outlander handle another power couple? I mean I am rooting for a change up on Jocasta, maybe Murtagh can change her so, get her to see the truth. When you are in a healthy relationship, growing together is one thing, having to make someone change, or trying to make them change, doesn’t always bode well. Murky waters ahead for sure.

Believe it or not, there were those of us cringing when this coupling happened. Many of us book readers know a different Jocasta. Granted, very few things from the books have been in this season, or at least not the way they went in the book Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon. To be fair, you have to give screen Jocasta a chance. But I believe we really haven’t seen her true self. It’s true that Ron Moore warned at New York Comic Con 2018 that the books will be there in essence, some books may be split, some mixed in timelines, and characters changed. So here’s my take on why I see Murcasta heading for sweet disaster:

411phaedrajocasta

River Run

Jocasta Cameron, played by Maria Kennedy Doyle to perfection, has been mistress of River Run for many years, and relies heavily on Ulysses, her slave, to run the plantation. Indeed, you come to find that really it is he who runs the plantation, and quite a bit more. She has been fending off many influential men herself since her forth husband died. She may be almost totally blind, however her other senses are very, very sharp, and she runs things like a fist of iron through Ulysses. She has avoided several offers of marriage herself, as she knows that the suitors are after River Run. When Jaimie and Claire turn up, she finally has a solution: her nephew can help her run the place, thus she makes him her heir. She tries to control another pawn piece. It’s a game to keep control, especially when she has lost her sight and her youth. Claire picks up on her manipulations to control Jamie, and when Jamie and Claire make the decision to take up Governor Tryon’s sign-in-blood offer for land, Jocasta tells her she is doing her nephew a disservice by persuading him to leave River Run. Because, she has to blame someone, Jamie cannot make a decision for himself. Claire, in her usually stand up fashion, tells it like it is. Really, Jamie is his own man, and wants his own land and opportunities on his terms. Unfortunately he makes a deal with a devil to do it. However, he can chose his devil. Really, we don’t like that Jocasta tried to come in between Jamie and Claire.

download-1

The Heir

In the book storyline, and in the series, we see Jocasta latch on to the next best thing for some control over River Run’s future, the saving of Brianna’s reputation, and perhaps naming a new heir. She spends a great deal of effort to try and secure a wealthy influential neighbor for Brianna’s and child’s security, which really is about the family saving face. And well, having a familial ally to help her just is another card in her game. Brianna’s resistance and quick thinking finds a temporary ally in Lord John Grey. By keeping up appearances and having a beneficial betrothal, and well, having a Lord in the family with property does just as well, Jocasta has made quite a coup. Jocasta, being a busy body and manipulating others in such a way, really doesn’t score high on the redeemable qualities. In the book. Ever a MacKenzie. Is Jocasta redeemable?

img_2462

Which Brings Us To Murtagh

So, many of you will be rewatching Season 4, probably already have, and certainly rewatch the finale Episode 413 Man of Worth, again, if anything just to watch and hear the Murtagh and Jocasta dialog. Some funny things have niggled at me, as I like to look at storylines from all angles. Murtagh, played intrepidly by Duncan Lacroix, was an indentured man for 14 years, then stayed on as smithy in a small town a few days up river from River Run. Now, Jocasta, who has her pulse on everything going on from the coastal waters to the mountains and beyond, did not know that a “Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser” was in the vicinity? Someone she knew from the old days, someone she had a little crush from the side on because he was in actually in love with her sister? Or did she know full well, and didn’t want to tarnish her reputation and estate with such acknowledgement? Indeed in the Murtagh and Jo tête-à-tête, where many short heated accusations occurred from their past, I was waiting for her to slip up that she knew where he was and had not contacted him because he was the trouble maker he was. This could still turn up in an outtake. Of course, when the sparks flew with two old adversaries, the reality set in that Jo did like him, and was just too proud to do anything about it, or knew that her families’ many machinations to get her married and allied for their gain, would stand in the way. Remember, the man we all love has never had more than two sticks to rub together, except when he ran the smithy. Sadly we know that what little he had gained with his smithy, he has had to forfeit because he is fighting in a just cause.

When Murtagh shows up after his jail escape, Jo is tells him to fill up and be on his way. She does give him a whiskey and the conversation turns. Of course, not one to back down from a fight or pointing out injustice, Murtagh sets right in with tearing apart her perfect River Run life. He tries to reason with her, point out that others have lost all they had, she of course goes on about how others had made something out of themselves. He brings up he did not come there by choice, but he did make something, and the over taxation was strangling him and others. He had been and seen the same cruelty play out in the past. It happened to many a Highlander up to Culloden, and the subsequent crushing of the Scottish people after that forced many of them out of Scotland. It would continue as long as The Government exploited the king’s subjects. Of course, when the two pair up, and somehow she conceals him at River Run, while there have been search parties for weeks, we are wondering how she managed that. Jamie and Claire notice the relationship it in the mad dash to get Murtagh out to the slave quarters to hide. They are not sure about this new development either.

img_2456

Future Twists

More spoilers ahead. Turn back now. If you think Jocasta hasn’t lead her own interesting life, there’s a few mysteries about her that end up coming to light in subsequent books. You then start seeing her more robust self, the woman she was before she lost most of her sight. She has survived several husbands. She has her own uprising story to tell, and subsequent fleeing to the colonies.

Her right hand man has been Ulysses. He has run everything for her for years and has been closer to her than you think. Is he willing to just step aside for another man? Or will Jocasta have to wed again for convenience sake, since she can’t openly do so with Murtagh, a wanted man? Or, will the wily pair contrive an existence of Jo hiding and running guns through her plantation to help Murtagh’s cause, while keeping up appearances? Would Ulysses ultimately manipulate this himself?

Then there is the conflict with Jamie and Murtagh having to be on opposing sides now that Governor Tryon has declared war on the Regulator Uprising. Murtagh will be conflicted, Jamie will be conflicted. Jamie will have to make it look like he is keeping the Regulators in check, and hunt his Godfather. This means separation for the couple. Will there be coded letters and messages? Will Jocasta decide to stick to her old ways and not endanger her lifestyle? Or will she by the end of season 5, break from it all and follow Murtagh and live in hiding. Will Murtagh allow that sacrifice?

img_2102Ultimately, I hope that Jocasta can change, she can come around a little to the reasoning of Murtagh, that she can actually see ahead despite her physical limitations, that owning slaves is wrong, and that over taxation is cruel. That she should meet the man she loves at least half way. That the rebelliousness that had her flee Scotland to seek a better life, could include a full, real life. However that would be too easy, and perhaps will be a long hard lesson for her. It will certainly add some spice and make sparks fly in the coming season.

Then there’s that other Duncan Innes plot twist book readers know about. Hmmm, that could twist things up a bit.

I’m digging out my Season 1 part one DVD set. I have been a fan of Murtagh from the beginning, and Jocasta better live up to that man’s love. Let’s hope she proves it in Season 5.

411Murtaghsacrifice

Outlander, Droughtlander

We’re here, in Outlander Purgatory again. Season 5 has been in production with scripts and set building for a month, and recently Duncan Lacroix stated on his Instagram he was heading back to Scotland from his month long trip in New Zealand, for Season 5 prep. Jon Gary Steele dropped hints on construction beginning on the ‘Big house’, a spoiler from the books. So, we are looking at at least a year before we see Season 5, meaning winter or spring 2020? Better get yourself occupied.

Season 5 will encompass much of Diana Gabaldon’s book, The Fiery Cross. We have the cliff hanger of the season, where Jamie Fraser is told he must muster men and seek out and assassinate is Godfather Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser, one of the leaders of The Regulators. Going into this season, a Jamie storyline will be infused with a conflict, where he and Murtagh will be on two sides of an ideal. Going forward, show runner Ron Moore had stated that rather than each season involving a book, there may be half of a book covered, or scenes from another book brought forward in time. Rejoice in the fact that you have Season 5 and 6 in the wings.

Caitriona Balfe Talks Season Finale

Recently, I and other fans who are enrolled in Starz Insider, got to participate in an end of season, in-depth survey about the direction the show was taking. Very specific questions were asked about each of the characters, the relationship outcomes, rating the stars performances in the series, and more. I get the feeling they are considering having a hand in more of what goes on in the scriptwriting in the future, to give feedback to the writer’s room on the relationships and characters. Hopefully this means that you may be heard about some of your favorite characters and plot lines. I think this kind of survey can be helpful and harmful to the series at the same time. We’ll see what happens. Many of you vote on online star contests, thinking that this will boost your favorite character, but when it comes down to it, a survey like this can mean a great deal more.

Season 4 Cliffhanger Explained

So what do you do to survive Outlander Purgatory? Here’s a few things you are probably already doing, and if you are not, get started.

  1. Watch the series from the beginning. yes, you will drive everyone you love insane. Call your friends and just get together and watch it.
  2. Take a free, online class at Open University Scotland on Scottish History. Brush up on The American Colonial Revolution. You think you know it, but really you probably don’t.
  3. Read The Fiery Cross. Keep in mind they will be deviating and swapping storylines from here on out, even more so than in this season, but your should still read it.
  4. GO TO SCOTLAND. Yes, if you can get it together and have been saving up, go! Track down some of the many filming locations here on my ever updating and changing Google Doc Outlander Locations in Scotland. Please feel free to contact me and tell us of your experiences traveling to these sites. Here is an itinerary idea from Visit Scotland. Does not include all of the seasons sites. These are free ideas on touring.
  5. Want someone else to drive? There are a few good Outlander themed travel agencies and some not so good ones, and some you have to book well in advance. I have heard some good things about Mary’s Meanders.
  6. Go to Outlander Themed conventions. There were a few announcements this week for Rick Rankin at Portland Wizard World and Duncan Lacroix at Sasnak City, and Highlanders 4 Starfury Conventions UK. Please keep in mind that stars do cancel at some events if production or gigs come up. Not a guarantee.