The Music and The Voice


The Music …. (The Insects)  Evocative and perfectly matched to this endeavor.  The Living and The Dead benefits greatly from the creative accomplishments of this group.

The Voice … Colin’s mastery of his expressive range, his vocal instrument, is not to be underrated.  This aspect of his talent is used in such a natural way, it is oftentimes overlooked.  However, the tones left haunting the space in which they were spoken do not leave the memory easily.    island.6

We have mentioned many times our admiration for Colin’s vocal ability.  Tone, timbre, phrasing all contribute to a spoken audio experience bordering on music.  It began for us with Island and the recitation of island folklore.  The Fall definitely contributes to our opinion, especially the second season interrogations of both Katie and Paul.


The Living and the Dead reveals again his use of tone and inflection to impart intent and emotion more than the words alone convey.

Pitch, intensity, vibration, resonance, color, tone, range … all called upon effortlessly, all part of the collection of character studies that remain in our memories.



Early signs of Tenderness and Anger

Nathan is a man filled with both Tenderness and Anger.

Colin is an actor willing to immerse himself in emotions deep and powerful.


We see Tenderness very early in Colin’s career. As Merlin, his relationship with his mother, Hunith, is set tenderly before us. Every scene between them affirms her son’s precious high regard. His behavior toward Gaius clearly reveals the love in his heart for this man. His reaction to Freya as the Bastet is particularly poignant, in no way recognizing any difference between herself and the beast she was cursed to become. In Island, even though some found it disturbing, Calum’s initial approach to Nikki was very tender, slowly hesitant, unsure, but with a gentle touch as his thumb gently caressed her lower lip. So, Nathan arrives in Colin’s repertoire with the fullness of emotion he has been developing, building on past encounters … working with his co-star to create this warm, generous, spirited relationship with Charlotte.

So it was that Anger surfaced in Island. There may have been hints of it in Merlin, but Island showed us full-on fury as Calum bursts through the door to strike his mother. Leo’s anger with Maxie pierced our hearts, and we felt heartbroken to see Maxie’s bewildered face as his well-loved companion abandoned him so harshly. But, we must say, nothing to date has been so devastating as Nathan’s cruelty to Charlotte, an unrelenting invective that left her feeling shattered and bereaved. The strength and intensity of Nathan’s voice, coming from somewhere deep inside and spilling forth like a poison, spoke not only to venom but also to the depths of his grief and his inability to forgive himself.

As viewers we remain in that suspended space of wonder in which raw emotion has been placed before us and asks our understanding.


Calum … A Storyteller in the Ancient Sense (a Bard)

Table Rock

Calum’s voice stirs latent memories.  Timbre and cadence and phrasing bring stories to life. He was born a storyteller, a troubadour as in the ancient oral traditions of the Celts.  Imprints of words, made vibrant, linger on the air.


Colin’s portrayal of this damaged boy was exquisite.

(Colin as Calum, Island 2011)

The Performance – Island

His portrayal of this damaged boy was exquisite. He was sweet and vulnerable and filled with the magic of the world around him. Calum was beautifully delicate and fragile … an elusive, ethereal creature of the island … with a subtle wisdom … who escapes the demands of an overbearing mother by retreating into an aerie world of his own.

island.10The physical closeness of this girl is awakening other forces within him. Forces not so easily escaped and of which he is unsure. There is nothing forced or artificial in this performance … it flows effortlessly from within, a genuine awakening into a world outside of his chosen retreat

island.11And, about the “incident” … Nikki was in control and led him to the edge; she knows this. He is abjectly remorseful, tearful, and painfully unhappy that he may have hurt her. I must say that Colin’s performance carried with it every bit of that emotional turmoil.

The performance hints at another side of Calum. An anger that when provoked is unmanageable. The shock of overhearing the truth about Nikki overwhelms Calum with feelings of shame and betrayal. The rage shows on his face as he bursts through the door and strikes his mother. There was definitely an impact seeing Colin display such fury … such uncontrolled anger. (and it was disturbing … which hints at its authenticity.)

The weight of the revelation is left for the end … and is played with tender poignancy. The sounds of his words echoing long after the final curtain. “If you never leave me, I’ll never leave you ….”  

island.4I liked the impact Calum’s innocence had on the hardened Nikki. It was all slowly and subtly played … ebbing and flowing, like the rhythms of the island itself. A haunting film, I thought … and a performance worthy of repeated viewings.


Colin’s ability to orally recite these island stories is very moving. His voice and his phrasing bring them to life. He is a true storyteller in the historic tradition of Northern Ireland.


(also posted in Island pages, top of blog, home menu bar)

The Story – Island

Best performances: Island       island.1

The Story …

This is a wonderful film based on an intriguing novel. The film is entirely true to the mood of the novel. The island itself, it has been said, is actually a character in the film. The sounds of sea, surf, and wind predominate. The scenes of sea and sky and wind swept hills are beautifully filmed. The actors are excellent. Colin Morgan’s portrayal of Calum is nothing short of exceptional. It is melancholy and, yet, hopeful. It has become a favorite of mine, which can be experienced over and over and over again.

Calum is a young man who lives in a dream world of faeries and sylkies, and legends told him by his father. His mother dominates him and keeps him very close, unwilling to risk his getting away. He is simple, sweet and caring; he is not worldly in any sense. The character Nikki upsets this balance. He befriends her, but the mother wants her gone. This creates the dynamic which will change their lives.

island.7 Nikki is a very angry young woman who was abandoned at birth and brought up in foster homes. There are flash-backs of cruelty aimed at her by other children. She became very bitter and vengeful over the years. In her late twenties she found that it was possible to trace her birth mother. She did so … determining to find her and have her revenge, imagining that she would kill the woman who left her. She finds her mother on this remote island and rents a room from her while she bides her time. As she rents the room, she finds out that the woman has a son, Calum. Now, she has another painful blow … the mother kept the son … why not her?

Nikki is introduced to the island by Calum. He shows her the treasures he has saved from the sea … an assortment of rocks, shells, detritus, old shoes, etc. He is ebullient, happy, filled with the wonder of the world around him. He is a unique young man caught up in the lore and tales of the island, escaping his mother’s reach whenever possible. These two spend time together. Calum tells her many of the tales of the island. (These are very special moments for me, as his ability to relate these stories is soulful and quite beautiful.)

island.6Calum tells Nikki that he tried to leave once and how that affected his mother (Phyllis). Nikki decides the way to really have her revenge is to take Calum away. She realizes that Calum likes her … and that precipitates her leading him on. She knows exactly what she is doing as she encourages his attentions. His approach to her is very tender and sweet … but she lets it go on too long, and he becomes aroused …

island.9I won’t say this scene is not unsettling, but it is over very quickly. Very early in their meeting Calum had reached out to touch Nikki’s necklace, “pretty,” he says in his awkward way. She slaps him, and he retreats immediately … which says she could have controlled this later encounter if she had chosen to do so.

He is distraught over the incident, and painfully sorry. The story continues. Nikki still attempts to get him away by encouraging him to go with her to the mainland. There is a storm, they do not make it. In the aftermath of the storm Nikki returns to the house and confronts Phyllis … more of the back-story is revealed. But Calum overhears their conversation, and understands now that Nikki is Susan, his sister. Feeling ashamed and betrayed, he bursts through the door and violently strikes his mother in anger. This fatal act supplies the catalyst for the film’s resolution.

island.5(also posted in Island pages, top of blog, home menu bar)

Island …

A few years past, Colin joined the cast of a small, independent company’s effort to bring Jane Rogers acclaimed novel to the screen.  His portrayal of the shy self-conscious young man, caught unknowingly in a plot of revenge against his mother, is memorable.  We have posted comments on this role of Colin’s, which is one of our favorites.  The Island pages are on the Home menu bar next to Merlin if you want to read further or join the discussion and add your thoughts.


There are three pages:  The Story (which many of you may already know ), The Performance (which includes impressions left by Colin’s beautiful portrayal), and The Controversy (which has to do with my interpretation of a particular scene).