Michael Black's New Play Pride Debuts at Adelphi - Tuesday 18th June 2013
By Michelle Dee.
'No-one will love you - you will be alone forever'
The new play Pride by Michael Black conjures up images of the barbaric treatment of homosexuality in the latter half of the 20th Century; a play that explores issues of societal division, segregation and rejection which are as relevant today as they were then.
It is appalling to think that from 1950 and then for the next three decades, Behavioural Aversion Therapy was being administered to homosexuals in NHS hospitals across the country.
As well as writing and directing the play, Michael Black cast himself in the main role of Tommy, the new boy sent by his mother to the institution after admitting to her he is attracted to men.
By way of flashback, the mother was drawn as the archetypal matriarch who overshadowed the young Tommy's life.
The scene has the wide-eyed boy being read Cain and Abel as a bedtime story, in a way that echoed 'Mrs. Winterson' putting the
fear of God into her charge in Jeanette Winterson's seminal coming-of-age novel, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit.
Black set his play in an institution where a mixture of counseling, group therapy and pharmaceuticals made up the treatment.
The threat of being taken to the Orwellian sounding 'Room 401' hung over the boys like an execution.
As the play moves on, Mark, played by Liam Asplen, recounts a tale of a previous 'patient' who he saw taken away but never returning. Like a lamb to the slaughter, he just disappeared that day.
The play included a scene where inmates were following a drug regime. Apomorphine, a nausea inducing drug, was often used during the electro-shock
This was graduate Michael's first attempt at writing a full length play. He worked on the story then rehearsed it for just three weeks, amidst a busy schedule of filming for TV, rehearsing and performing in other theatre works locally.
All that being said, Pride could do with a rewrite, more development time for the actors to really work with the script to bring out the tension and reveal the play's potential, evident in the first showing.
Michael said his reason for writing the play was to explore the age old question of nature versus nurture, but the whole could have done with more scientific exploration to explain and maybe justify the treatment administered by the medical profession.
Faded Ink Productions (Michael Black and Liam Asplen) suggest their aim is to touch subject matter that other companies don't. This being their debut production, time will tell whether they can live up to that ideal.
Reviews, Books - Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory by Mike Watts Reviewed by Terry Ireland
Just spent an hour dipping in and out Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory by Mike Watts. Always did like his style - no words wasted, tight and sparse. Controversial at times but always readable.
Really enjoyed. Another good 'un Mike.
Looking forward to hearing some of them performed. Mike is a superb performance poet that I have had the privilege of working with and attending his work shops. I can hear his voice in every poem.
Reviews, Books - Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory by Mike Watts Reviewed by Michelle Dee
Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory crashes through life in quick-fire stanzas that whack the unsuspecting reader over the head.
This, his second anthology available now at Waterstones Hull, sees the popular writer flexing muscles, girding loins, easing into the
self-made role of Hull street poet.
The poems are accessible, something you can pick up during a cigarette break and immediately share in a sense of solidarity.
You and he versus the rest of 'em.
Reviews, Theatre Adelphi Club Stages Theatre Double Bill By Michelle Dee
Crisis can strike at any time as the television is so fond of telling us.
It can take many different forms but the important thing is how you respond. Do you have the tools in the locker to manage the crisis to recover; to survive?
Joanna Morris' A Delicate Man explores the unknowable quantity that is human nature.
What is an all too familiar set of circumstances: a family torn apart
Reviews, Art Book Launch - Swear Down by Russ Litten at Pave - Wednesday April 10th 2013 By Michelle Dee.
If it is possible for poetry to rock a room, then on Wednesday Joe and Mike did just that.
It was author Russ Litten's book launch and a crowd of authors, poets, theatre-makers, movers and shakers from the Arts scene in Hull
including local press and radio, all gathered to celebrate the release of Swear Down, Litten's second novel,
but his first foray into crime-writing. The night was held at the popular drinking emporium,
Reviews, Theatre Phantom of the Opera at St. Mary's College, Tuesday 12th March 2013 By Michelle Dee
It has been years since I saw a school production. I remember my own performances as an overfed urchin, an unfunny jester and as a witch-doctor, with a mixture of nostalgic pride laced with pangs of sheer terror.
A friend's two daughters were in tonight's show, so I took my seat in the school hall dutifully: poised to cheer and applaud in all the right places.
Reviews, Art Sunday March 4th 2013 - Northern Elements at Fruit By Terry Ireland.
It was an evening of poetry
Of four different styles
An evening of belly laughs
And wry gentle smiles
As each of the ladies
In their own special way Read more...
Reviews, Art Sunday March 4th 2013 - Kate Fox Standing Up for Hull Poets By Michelle Dee.
Stand-up poetry or spoken word, call it what you will, is on the rise in Hull. Joe Hakim, curator for Northern Elements, said as much at the Kate Fox show held on Sunday night at Fruit. You can't fail to have noticed the many venues and night dedicated to this vibrant versatile and increasingly popular art form. Poetry is everywhere.
Whether it is mixed in on a variety billing of live music and theatre,
Reviews, Theatre Thursday 5th July 2012 - Fred Voss and Joan Jobe-Smith - The Longbeach Connection at Hull Truck - Humber Mouth Literature Festival By Michelle Dee
Photographs by Cilla Wykes
Tonight's poetry performance was the culmination of three years effort, to bring the highly respected Californian writer Fred Voss to Hull.
All week I'd been hearing reverential murmurings about the two visiting poets, particularly from the writers in my midst.
Wearing dark shades, dressed in black from head to toe, the flame haired Joan Jobe-Smith,
Reviews, Theatre Theatre Brothel 2.0 at Hull Truck Theatre - Saturday 29th September 2012 By Michelle Dee
Photographs by Cilla Wykes
In recent years, film and theatre reviews have become littered with the following: Spoiler Alert! So what can I tell you about
Theatre Brothel 2.0
without giving the game away?
The Theatre Brothel experience begins as you walk the back corridors and passageways of the theatre. Which two of the four shows you
got to see in any given night, depended on what answers you gave to some probing questions.