The story of RMS Titanic has been told in grand style many times: the monumental ‘unsinkable’ ship, the scarcely-believable hubris of its owners and the dreadful events of 1912. Waking the Titanic is something new – a living history told on a small, but no less poignant human scale.
Fourteen young people - ranging in age from 17 to 32 - from the poor community of Addergoole in county Mayo set about making plans to emigrate. Through stylised re-enactments, the docudrama recreates a joyous trip to the next town to buy a new hat for the voyage ‘because the ladies of America are well-dressed’; the wedding of a young couple prior to the voyage; the young shop girl measuring a child’s finger with a piece of string so she could send a ring back to her from the States; the brother reading his sister’s tealeaves, and warning her not to get on the boat; a fare sent from America that was spent on a new cow, thereby saving a life, and the day that fourteen excited people left the only world they knew in search of a dream.
Focusing on the drama of anticipation prior to the fateful voyage the story of the Addergoole 14 and what happened to them on the Titanic is told using detailed accounts handed down to family members from the people of the time and interviews with the descendents of those who survived.
This is no mere retelling of the Titanic story. This is a unique account of hope and the loss suffered by the people of a tiny west of Ireland village whose sons and daughters went in search of a better life only to be subsumed by the tragic destiny of the world’s greatest ship.
Only 3 of the party of 14 survived the sinking.
Across the Atlantic, the story also abides – embodied in the lives of 96 direct descendents of the survivors – whose voices provide both the core and the epilogue to this tale.
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