Hatched, our artists development programme, is back starting this week with more work-in-progress productions every Friday of this month. Kicking it off is Marcus Hercules with one-man physical theatre piece, Prison Game, focusing on the prison system and what happens to people psychologically when they have been institutionalised. Ahead of the performance this Friday 11 July at 7pm, we asked Marcus a little bit more about it:
What piqued your interest in prisons and the lives of inmates? And why did you choose this subject matter?
I was at my cousin’s house who had spent several years locked up and it was fascinating to hear them talk about their time in prison and how it was sometimes a place where they had the most structure in their lives. Also that because they had spent so much time there it no longer seemed like punishment to them.
Who is the main character in the piece?
The character is based on my cousin, but some parts have been changed, but I would say 80% is based on real life experiences.
How did you prepare for Prison Game both as an actor and theatre maker?
For the first stage of writing I went to St Lucia which was great and I got a first draft, then coming back through customs was searched for two hours, which was interesting because of how they perceived me to be a drug smuggler.
What do you hope audiences will take from it? Is this meant to be a cautionary tale?
The inner strength we all have and how it’s important what we do with it, and the importance of life. It does have things in the story that will make you think about your own life, good or bad.
What are your thoughts on the prison system in the UK?
It seems like a mixed bag: some good some bad, and I think that a young person going to prison just for the structure of prison life is a shame.
Have you known anyone who has been in the prison system?
Yes, where I’m from I think that is normal; most people will know someone, it’s just a part of life, just like getting stopped coming through customs, being told you can’t get into a club because you’re dressed too dark, not getting the job interview because of your post code, these things can push some people to rebel against the system.
What inspired you to become a performer and theatre maker?
When I was at school it’s what I loved to do and I am fortunate to be able to do what I love. I chose to start making work because I wanted to work.
Is it very different devising and performing in a piece of theatre rather than just performing? Does it give you extra freedom artistically?
Most definitely because I know my strengths and I can write a piece that will get the best out of me, which is an advantage.
What is the most challenging and the most rewarding thing about being a theatre maker?
Telling stories that you want to tell is great, but getting things going and preservation is a challenge, but I always remember what my mum used to say “nothing good comes easy”.
What is your dream role to play, either from pre-existing theatre or something yet to be written?
I would like to play Martin Luther King, or Bob Marley, but where is the script? They would be great stories to tell.
Prison Game will be on this Friday 11 July, 7pm, for more information and to book, click here.
Hatched, our programme for artist development, is happening every Friday this month from 11 July – 1 August, for details on all four productions, click here.