Review: Wingman, Soho Theatre
Interview #2: Writer/performer Richard Marsh talks about Wingman

Interview: Writer/performer Andrew Maddock talks about The Me Plays

Andrew Maddock in The Me Plays 4 (c) Hannah Ellis Photography
Andrew Maddock in The Me Plays, photo by Hannah Ellis

Andrew Maddock is currently performing his self-penned The Me Plays at the Old Red Lion Theatre. It is part prose part poetry and draws on personal experience. I put five questions to him and he kindly answered:

1. Describe your play in a Tweet (140 characters)
One mans poetic journey into the human condition #YOLO

2. How much of the story is autobiographical and where else did the inspiration come from?
Everything in the play has been drawn from own experiences if that be a real situation or even a feeling or opinion. The stories are 'Me's' journey and it was created that way so I could safely explore those elements of my past and perform them truthfully.

I would say the seed for the play began hearing a group of young people I worked with as part of Generation Arts describing a video they had seen on the internet, it made me judge them, but then go back into my own adolescence. As we grow older I feel we judge younger people, but you realise they are just products, as we all were, of the world around them. So I wanted to explore how we are all shaped by that.

3. What are the challenges of using verse and what do you think it adds over prose?
Words. Especially when Me is a person who doesn't possess the most varied vocabulary! In order to stay true to the character and to myself. I feel that the style in which the plays are presented add power over prose as people have commented that it's much easier to pay attention to, which in two forty minute plus shows is vital.

To me dialogue is music at the end of the day, music can do things to you emotionally that other forms can't, and allows us to enjoy the character as he enjoys what he is saying, almost as if through all his inadequacies he at least has his ability to string a lyrical sentence together. When Me hit's a piece of verse that impresses him, it shows in the performance and having performed for a week now, I can feel the audience shift and appreciate it, it's been a humbling experience.

4. Which is harder: writing or performing?
Performing. It was very hard for me to make the decision to act out the stories, I approached a fantastic actor John Seward to play 'Me' originally but it was him as well as the director Ryan Bradley & Assistant Director Anouskha Bonwick that convinced me that I was the only person to perform 'Me's' story.

It was very unselfish of him to do that and he is a terrific actor and someone I will work again with in the future as I will with Ryan and Nush, I'm a fan of people that build companies and work and collaborate with a close knit group, always bringing new people into the fold to help keep it fresh, and I can't wait.

5. What’s next?
My first holiday in two years! While I'm sunning I will be working on a piece for Vertical Line Theatre Company as part of their LineUp event in November at the Greenwich Theatre. Their artistic director Henry Regan has always championed my work and I find it a great place to try new things and improve my craft. I will be devising a piece with a group of actors and Anne Stoffels who is an amazing director having just come off an amazing childrens show called 'Superhero Snail Boy' I'm very keen to write a play for young people and she is the perfect soundboard for that.

I will also be working with Generation Arts on their Future Stage program which is a Level 3 qualification for young people not in Education, Work or Training. I will be coaching them for their Drama School Auditions and University Applications and giving them confidence that there is more out there for them to work towards.

I'm sure it's obvious from my plays that school wasn't the best time for me, I feel like education needs to change and cater for the digital generation, we are becoming more kinesthetic and Future Stage is a great place to help coach young people who can't fit in with mainstream school to gain confidence and realise there is a place for them. We all learn differently and Generation Arts caters for that perfectly, its not about the acting. It's about the process and preparation for the rest of your life.

The Me Plays is on at the Old Red Lion Theatre until Sep 20 and you can read my review here