Steal Compass, Drive North, Disappear, The Nightingale Theatre, Surrey Street, Brighton, May 15-16 (From The Argus)
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Steal Compass, Drive North, Disappear, The Nightingale Theatre, Surrey Street, Brighton, May 15-16
Previous solo show The Art Of Catastrophe saw Rachel Blackman portray with humour and heartrending candour the chaotic internal and external worlds of a woman whose life was collapsing around her.
In the follow-up, the Brighton-based writer and performer tells the story of an absentee father, from the perspectives of the women in his life.
“Martin is an artist and academic who’s really successful professionally and prioritises that at the expense of his personal life,” Blackman explains. He gets less reward from his personal life, his ego is less massaged. He’s quite a seductive character – appealing and charismatic – but a fuller picture is painted by the women.”
Blackman plays Martin, as well as his Iranian biographer, adoring five-year-old daughter, savvy performance poet wife and cooling lover.
“I wanted to tell a story about a man’s journey and I thought, well, how do I do that as a woman? I tend to start out by doing monologues in character and coming up with scenarios and relationships to bring the characters together. I also work out which character the piece feels like it wants to be wrapped around and Martin was the common thread here.”
The absentee father was a figure who seemed to crop up again and again.
“I have some themes in my life that relate to that and there seemed to be several people I know of my age whose fathers hadn’t been able to stick around for whatever reason.
“They hadn’t really worked out how to commit to their families.
I wanted to tell a story about how we need each other and how we’re interdependent in relationships. You can kid yourself that your actions aren’t going to have any ramifications on anyone else but the truth is that’s never the case.”
But Blackman is not interested in telling audiences what to think.
“I’d rather approach storytelling by looking at the different external and internal processes that happen inside a character and their moral complexities.
“I try to put an audience in a feeling place rather than a thinking place so their response is an emotional one. I want them to put themselves in the place of that character and wonder how they would feel in that situation.”
* Starts 5pm, tickets cost £8.50/£6.50