HALIFAX - Rosalee Peppard took the stage accompanied by only a guitar, a chair, and her powerful voice.
© MITCH WARD FOR METRO
Rosalee Peppard portrays Hilda Mary Slayter, the only Titanic survivor from Atlantic Canada, in her one woman show titled Living Titanic.
That was all she needed to narrate the sinking of the Titanic as lived by Hilda Mary Slayter.
Peppard‚Äôs performance Living Titanic was part of an event put on by the Titanic Society of the Atlantic at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in downtown Halifax to commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the luxury liner‚Äôs sinking.
Born and buried in Halifax, Slayter was the only Atlantic Canadian survivor aboard the ship that went down April 15, 1912.
Peppard, a musical oral historian focusing on women‚Äôs truth, discovered Slayter‚Äôs story and decided to make history come alive. She brought the performance to Colchester County back in the summer of 2012.
She blended her training as an artist with her research skills to create the musical. Slayter‚Äôs family gave Peppard access to Slayter‚Äôs journals, allowing her to narrate the performance in Slayter‚Äôs own words.
‚ÄúWhen you read her journal, it‚Äôs amazing. She had a really great perspective. She saw awful things, but her perspective was always hopeful,‚ÄĚ Peppard said after her hour-long performance Sunday afternoon.
Peppard, donning a costume that took 300 hours to make, weaved in and out of song as she took the audience on the journey through Slayter‚Äôs eyes.
The performance included two original songs by Peppard, as well as songs played by the ship‚Äôs orchestra and other music Slayter had known and sang herself.
She included a scene from Slayter‚Äôs journals in which Slayter removes her fur boa and fur-lined travel coat for other passengers in the lifeboat she was in as the Titanic ‚Äúcollapsed and slipped under the sea.‚ÄĚ
Audience member Terry Choyce said Peppard brought the story alive.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôs just so many little details,‚ÄĚ Choyce said. ‚ÄúWe all know the story but when you see the little life details, it really makes it real for you. And the music was fantastic.‚ÄĚ
Peppard plans to take the performance on tour in Europe next year.