Mark’s video composition entitled ‘The Dog That Barked Like A Bird’ and his play entitled, ‘Free Speech’ have been staged at two theatres: 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 video composition that is based on a diary Mark kept after having a severe stroke at the age of 39. The work reflects upon how he struggled to find meaning in his new world where events would often seem simultaneously profound and absurd. Mark says, ‘The stroke was a terrifying experience at the beginning, but in amongst its chaos I soon discovered a wonderful way of perceiving the world around me that has transformed my life for the better’. Some of the words in his diary were written at a time when Mark couldn’t see clearly enough to write due to the stroke and so he drew the shapes of words from memory in the hope that he would be able to decipher them at a later date. George Robertson composed the music for the video composition. Scottish born George studied at the Royal College of Music, London, under a Caird Scholarship. Early in his career he was a member of the BBC Symphony, Bath Festival and Philharmonia Orchestras, working with Kempe, Klemperer and Menuhin before going on to play principal viola in the Bergen Symphony Orchestra, then with Celebidache in the Stockholm Radio Orchestra. Returning to London in 1966, he rejoined the New Philharmonia until 1977, when he began freelance work, recording for films and television and playing with many chamber groups. He has recorded the complete works for solo viola by Max Reger for ASV records. George spends much of his time today performing chamber music and pursuing his other interests of painting and video work. George (viola) performed his composition for The Dog That Barked Like A Bird, with Patricia Calnan (violin) 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 main 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.