Mark Ware’s video composition entitled ‘The Dog That Barked Like A Bird’ and his play entitled, ‘Free Speech’ have been staged at two theatres: at The Sallis Benney Theatre in Brighton in 2004 and at The Carlton Theatre in Teignmouth, Devon during March 2011. The Carlton Theatre event was entitled, ‘The Dog That Barked Like A Bird (and other tales)’, and included an exhibition of Mark’s digital art prints and a live performance by singer and trumpet player Jerri Hart.
The Dog That Barked Like A Bird is a surreal exploration of a diary Mark kept after having a severe stroke during May 1996. It was his attempt to reflect the contradictory and confusing place he suddenly found himself in and is an expression of how he struggled to find meaning in his new world. Some of the words in his diary were written at a time when he couldn’t see clearly enough to write due to the stroke and so Mark drew the shapes of words from memory in the hope that he would be able to decipher at a later date. George Robertson composed the music for the film, performed by Patricia Calnan (violin) George Robertson (viola) and Nick Cooper (‘cello).
Free Speech is a dark, comedic one-act play, written, directed and produced by Mark Ware. It explores notions of good and evil, diminished responsibility and punishment, through a series of bizarre, sometimes banal and occasionally horrific observations. Written during a period when the side-effects of post-stroke medication were causing enormous psychological problems for Mark, Free Speech expresses the main character Victor’s struggle to fight against ‘moral aloneness’ and its magnetic pull toward mental disintegration. At the Sallis Benney Theatre and The Carlton Theatre, the character Victor was played by Simon Harvey.
The video composition and play are stand-alone works, but they were written to be presented together in various forms. The overall structure of the works were designed to be able to include live music, exhibitions of digital images, and interactive audience participation elements.
“This is an extraordinary piece of work’ (The Dog That Barked Like A bird’) – Alan Bennett
“This is a stunning piece of work (The Dog That Barked Like A bird’)… I have never seen – know I never will see – stories told in this way” – Marc Wellin, Director, Mothlight Pictures INC, Chicago.