Tag Archives: participatory practice

The Mark of the Beast review

The Mark of the Beast gets a ***** review

Presented by Martin O’Connor and Platform
Written and Performed by Martin O’Connor

With Nichola Scrutton and the North East Recovery Community
Platform, Easterhouse 13th-15th April
The Scottish Storytelling Centre 19th April

Inspired by Glasgow and its relationship with alcohol and addiction, Martin’s latest poetry performance The Mark of the Beast explores society through a prism of morality, temptation and family attitudes towards the ‘demon drink,’ and is performed in Martin’s recognisable blend of Scots and song, shot through with religious references and imagery.

The performance includes sound design created by Nichola Scrutton featuring personal experiences of alcohol addiction from members of the North East Recovery Community.

Creative Team:
Martin O’Connor – Writer and Performer
Nichola Scrutton – Composition/Sound Design
Fergus Dunnet – Set Design
Hana Allen – Stage Management
Davie Green – Lighting Design
Alan McKendrick – Directing Support
Eoin Carey – Image and Production Photography

Theatre Review – The Herald
The Mark Of The Beast
Platform, The Bridge, Glasgow

*****

“Whit ye huvin?” The voice has a chirrupy geniality to it: pure Glesca’ camraderie. “Ur ye huvin’ a drink or no?” The camaraderie is now teetering on the querulous, the aggressive even. Offence is on the verge of being taken, here. Minutes into this pithy, comedic, often harrowing monologue about various shades of alcohol addiction, writer/performer Martin O’Connor has wheeched us inside a pub, and into the core shorthand of belonging – of being a mate, a part of a community – that is inherent in the offer of a pint.

One pint… unseen voices chip in with memories of the wee swally that first introduced them – often, as far back as childhood – to the compulsive disorder of getting totally blootered. The recorded voices belong to Glasgow’s North-East Recovery Community: mixed into Nichola Scrutton’s chorale-cum-sound design, they will add personal witness to O’Connor’s tangy, savvy progress through the cumulative effects of long-term alcohol abuse. There’s the bilious heartburn of self-loathing, the upsurge of resolve – “Ah’m affit..” – and the lonely isolation of battling your demons when your pals remain in the boozer.

There’s a graphically vicious section when a posse of well-dressed lads become a pack of drunken thugs, relentlessly kicking a total stranger

just because… because he was there. It all sounds, feels, pungently real.

O’Connor’s talent for morphing social documentation into a bravura prose-poem pivots merrily on the rhythms of everyday Glesca’ patois, but – back-lit by designer Fergus Dunnet’s row of stained glass windows – he offsets the gallus patter with the soaring fire and brimstone of biblical texts, juggling revelations and hallucinations in a linguistic cocktail of those abiding havens: bevvy and religion. We laugh a lot, because O’Connor understands bathos but he never mocks the alcohol-afflicted, or diminishes their trials in what is a truly exceptional piece of work.

Read the review online

Martin O’Connor/The Mark of the Beast

Mark of the Beast 1

The Mark of the Beast is a collaboration with writer/theatre-maker Martin O’Connor that explores issues/ideas around alcohol and addiction in Glasgow.

Between November 2015 to March 2016, Martin and I undertook a period of research and development, commissioned by GEAC Platform-to-Health and GRAND (Getting Real About Alcohol n Drugs). Working with the North East Recovery Community.

At that time, I composed a sound installation Good Days Bad Days, incorporating the many voices/stories of participant’s experiences. For The Mark of the Beast, I re-visited and re-composed that material for Martin’s live solo show.

***** The Herald (Platform Glasgow)
**** The Wee Review (Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh)

Performances

2018
13th – 15th April, Platform, Glasgow
19th April Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh

Sonic Bothy Inclusive New Music Ensemble

SB Counterflows 2014 sonic bothy sound reh1 sonic bothy sound workshop3

I am delighted to have been working with Sonic Bothy  inclusive new music ensemble since January 2014.

Scottish New Music AwardsSonic Bothy was founded by creative director Claire Docherty, and explores, composes and performs experimental and contemporary music. Residencies include CCA/AC, Glasgow and SOUND Festival, Aberdeen.

Visit the Sonic Bothy  website for more information about the project and up-to-the-minute news. Read about

Sonic Bothy recording 1

Performances include:

Recital Rooms, City Halls, Glasgow
Mono, Glasgow
CCA, Glasgow
UNLIMITED, Tramway, Glasgow
ISME conference, RCS, Glasgow
SOUND Festival, Aberdeen
Atelier Public #2, GoMA, Glasgow
Counterflows Festival, The Glad Café, Glasgow

Good Days Bad Days Excerpt

Background to Good Days Bad Days

Working in collaboration with writer Martin O’Connor, Good Days Bad Days was a 5-month research and development project with Glasgow’s North East Recovery Community commissioned by Platform-to-Health and GRAND (Getting Real About Alchohol N Drugs). Participants were engaged in conversations focusing on remembering their first and last alcoholic drink, to open up bigger discussions of childhood and family life; living conditions and wider society in Glasgow and the impact of addiction and recovery on individuals and communities.

These conversations formed the basis of an immersive sound installation that was staged at Platform Glasgow and as a headphone installation at Outskirts Festival in 2016.

The research was preliminary work for Martin O’Connor’s spoken word/theatre work The Mark of the Beast, which we developed for Martin’s performances at Platform, Glasgow in 2018. (***** The Herald)

Martin O’Connor/Good Days Bad Days

Good Days Bad Days words

Good Days Bad Days Sound Installation

Good Days Bad Days is a new work created in collaboration with writer/theatre-maker Martin O’Connor. Initiated by Martin, the work explores issues/ideas around alcohol and addiction in Glasgow.

IMG_7584

From November 2015 – March 2016 we worked with participants from six recovery cafes in the north east of Glasgow (NERC – North East Recovery Community) as part of our research and development.

Good Days Bad Days installation

The end of this phase culminated in a sound installation I composed incorporating the voices and stories of the NERC.

 


Performances

2016
27th March, installation, Platform Glasgow
April, headphone installation, Outskirts Festival, Glasgow

 

Carnival Summer School


I was really delighted to co-facilitate the drumming activities with Erin Scrutton at the Platform Glasgow Carnival Summer School for children and young people. Other activities included movement, circus skills, big makes, costumes. An excellent week in general: skills, fun + games, parading, performing –  some really wonderful moments and a huge dose of fun!

Sonic Bothy Paritor Award

Sonic Bothy 8 Panes
Sonic Bothy rehearsing ‘8 Panes’ in City Halls, Glasgow.

Some excellent news for Sonic Bothy recently.

Sonic Bothy was one of several Glasgow Life/City Council partnered projects submitted to the National Music Council Awards, and was very excited to receive the Paritor Award for New Music in Education. Read more about the Paritor Award and other winners at the National Music Council website.

Read more about Sonic Bothy inclusive new music ensemble here.