This short video contains some taster clips of sound compositions created for Martin O’Connor’s The Mark of the Beast in 2018.
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.
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.
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.
13th – 15th April, Platform, Glasgow
19th April Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh
I am delighted to have been working with Sonic Bothy inclusive new music ensemble since January 2014.
Sonic 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
Recital Rooms, City Halls, Glasgow
UNLIMITED, Tramway, Glasgow
ISME conference, RCS, Glasgow
SOUND Festival, Aberdeen
Atelier Public #2, GoMA, Glasgow
Counterflows Festival, The Glad Café, Glasgow
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)
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.
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.
The end of this phase culminated in a sound installation I composed incorporating the voices and stories of the NERC.
27th March, installation, Platform Glasgow
April, headphone installation, Outskirts Festival, Glasgow
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!
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.
Looking forward to these Open Session workshops with Sonic Bothy at City Halls in February.