Master Rock
Artangel//BBC Radio 4
2015

Ben Cruachan Power Station

Written & Directed by Maria Fusco

Composition & Sound Design by Olivier Pasquet

Performed by Denise Riley, Lalor Roddy & Ceylan Hay

A large scale lighting installation replaced ordinary sodium work light for the BBC Radio 4 recordings of Master Rock. Monumental lighting created ambience to enhance the actors performance and personified the character of the mountain itself.

Conceived as a work for radio, this experimental drama was performed and recorded live inside Cruachan Power Station, almost a mile beneath a reservoir on one of West Scotland’s highest mountains, Ben Cruachan. Half a century ago, explosives experts known as the tunnel tigers blasted their way through the granite rock to make an immense chamber for the power station. Fusing the documentary and lyric, Fusco tells the epic story of the hollowing out of the mountain.

Master Rock incorporates sound composed on site by Olivier Pasquet together with three distinctive voices: Irish actor Lalor Roddy as John Mulholland, one of the few surviving tunnel tigers; poet Denise Riley as Elizabeth Falconer, an amateur artist who made a vast marquetry mural inside the turbine hall; and musician Ceylan Hay as the voice of the ancient granite.

Performances took place over four consecutive days, the first on 15 October 2015, exactly 50 years after the opening of the power station. The first performance was recorded for broadcast and premiered on BBC Radio 4 on 17 October 2015.