Techniques reflecting change

McGrath uses two techniques to explore the theme of change.

Casting

Each member of the company plays multiple roles. For example, the actor who plays Andy McChuckemup goes on to play Texas Jim.

Both characters are self-interested, motivated by capitalism and gaining wealth. Using the same actor to playing these two roles draws attention to the cyclical nature of history – there will always be someone seeking to capitalise at the expense of others.

"These are my mountains"

McGrath uses the recurring refrain these are my mountains at different points throughout the play. The only time at which these lines have a note of sincerity is at the beginning when the audience (symbolic of the generations of Highland people) are asked to join in with the singalong.

The character of Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria as played by actor Chris Martin

Later, the line is used by four of the more obnoxious characters in the play:

  • Queen Victoria
  • French North-West Trader
  • Lord Vat
  • Texas Jim

Each uses this line to validate their presence or actions. The repetitive refrain is used to show how the time and place may change, but attitudes and capitalist motives never do.

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