John Clarke - The Way Men Breathe

On the 17th-19th January 2014, The Way Men Breathe  ran at the Kings Arms Salford. Our creative agent Potsuki caught up with playwright John Clarke and the actors to get a behind the scenes interview.

What inspired you to write The Way Men Breathe?

 

While waiting for various plumbers to come and look at my boiler, I read some Noam Chomsky. I learnt a lot about Latin America while waiting for the plumbers to show up and then I actually got quite interested in boilers to escape the horrors I was reading. The play just came out of that really and it made perfect sense that I should write about a plumber and his family.

How do you prepare and work with the actors to deliver the quite intense characterisation?

 

I hopefully gave the actors the confidence to question and dismiss. It has to have some meaning and resonance for the actors otherwise the audience won't buy it. I never like to be prescriptive as there are countless ways you can approach a text. The intensity, if you find it, comes from describing how I felt their backstories ran and asking actors if they felt that sounded true. What happens in their pasts is key to their presents and their futures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What was your favourite part of the play?

 

One of three classic lines (none of them mine, I should add; I don't want to come across as a massive egoist): "It's not just anything. It's Chinese!", "I made a bloke come in his pants once in the cinema. We were both fully clothed. Come's better that way. Messy stuff.", and - everybody's favourite - "Want to come in my room?" delievered somewhat in a sinister/pervy manner by Alex.

 

Sum up your character in 3 words

 

Boy. Aged nine.

 

How did you prepare for your character and role?

 

By studying my nine year old niece and listening to THAT One Direction song (oh, the agony!). My niece hates One Direction but tea is one of her favourite drinks. So, pretty close to Jerome in at least one aspect, although she would say she has more "attitude" than Jerome.

 

Describe your experience of working with this team?

 

A whirlwind: intense, over too soon but exciting while it lasted. And we had a good laugh too. We'd have all gone insane if we didn't.

 

 

"A harrowing family drama which is engaging in telling and painfully riveting in action" 

 

"a compelling story about family relationships, responsibility and love"

 

"Stunning" and "never a dull moment"

 

"I became a part of their crazy world and felt right there in the action"

 

  

 

 

What messages would you like your audience to go away with?

 

Initially I wanted the audience to go away and read Chomsky too and spend time talking to plumbers. But that is quite elitist and quite prescriptive and also what would be the point? Now the show is over I'm happy that people think about why it is the characters do what they do. That's more that enough.

 

Sum up the play in three words?

 

Meant for stage!

Andrew Marsden - Jerome

Andrew Marsden played Jerome in The Way Men Breathe.

 

Andrew has acted widely in many productions including:

  • EXAM [Vertigo]

  • The Harpington Toad Fanciers [Nuts & Bolts]

  • Troll [My Beating Heart]

  • Chess Pieces [Casagua Productions]

  • Hotel Midnight [Lass Productions / Syctheplays]

 

 

Juliet Budd - Bev

Juliet Budd played Bev in The Way Men Breathe.

 

Juliet has acted in theatre, TV and film. Recent work includes:

  • Coronation Street

  • The Dies Residence

  •  The Wick [PeeWee Films]

  • Mothers Journey [Silver Bullet

 

We caught up with Juilet to get her back stage view on the play and it's production. 

 

What was your favourite part of the play?

 

......LAMBRRRINI!

 

Sum up your character in 3 words

 

Dying, loves Jerome.

 

How did you prepare for your character and role?

 

Recalled experiences and attitudes of close friend diagnosed with breast cancer. Recalled experiences of children, grandchildren, absent fathers, families in all their diversities.

 

Describe your experience of working with this team?

 

Great, terrifying, exhilarating, funny in equal measures

 

 

 

Jack Egan -Oscar

Oscar was played by Jack Egan who has also worked recently with playwright John Clarke on Blue Tape.

 

Jack Egan's theatre work includes:

  • Comedy of Errors [CYAC]

  • The Adventures of Sky the Reluctant Hero [Digging Deep]

  • The Green Room [Grovers Field Production]

  • The Aftermath [Larkin’About]

  • Blue Tape [Contact]

Alex Baldacci- Marc

Alex Baldacci is co-writer and performer with Live Naked Idiots, sketch comedy group, described as "very funny, must see" (Red Dwarf's Norman Lovett).

 

Alex played Marc in The Way Men Breathe.  His theatre work includes:

 

  • Anna Clarkson's The Wittol's Wife

  • Down By The River

  • The Oyster Vault

 

What was your favourite part of the play?

 

The bit where I cut Juliet's throat open and then nearly nutted Jack. Good times.

 

Sum up your character in 3 words

 

This Charming Man

 

How did you prepare for your character and role?

 

Worringly, I don't struggle to get inside the heads of psyhotics. However, on show nights, I warmed up by listening to thrash metal at full volume.

 

Describe your experience of working with this team?

 

I thoroughly enjoyed working with everybody. Particularly Jack. I think about him when I'm on my own.

 Rehearsal at Kings Arms Salford

 

 

"What's it like working with the team?"

 

              "A whirlwind: intense, over too soon..."

 

 

 

  

Andrew Marsden (Jerome)

What was your favourite part of the play?

 

I enjoyed the Chinese takeaway scene, everyone was in it and so the audience got to see the whole cast and the differences in the characters.

 

Sum up your character in 3 words

 

Out his depth.

 

How did you prepare for your character and role?

 

I used to be a heating engineer but I wasn't sexually assaulted by my dad. Half real and half my wild imagination. Of course, reading the script helped.

 

Describe your experience of working with this team?

 

I thoroughly enjoyed working with everyone apart from Alex.

 

 

 


Follow John Clarke

 

For more information on John Clarke, contact the Creative Management Team.

  Follow Potsuki, 8th Wonder Creative Agent.

(2013 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting)

(2013 Bruntwood Prize for Playwrighting)

(Audience)

(Audience)