What are you most looking forward about working on Alice in Wonderland?
There are a number of things I’m looking forward to about working on Alice. For a start I’ve never worked with Blackshaw on a full production and having worked on various new writing nights over the last year or so I’m really looking forward to joining the team on a full project. I also love the space we are performing in! Creating an adaptation of Alice for a library space is interesting enough but when it’s for one as characterful as Battersea Library it opens up so many creative opportunities.
What’s your favourite scene or character in Alice in Wonderland?
I think it would have to be the White Rabbit. I quite like rabbits anyway so a talking, hyper-energetic, perpetually late rabbit is quite appealing! He’s also effectively the gateway into the magic of the story so he is a pivotal character.
What was the last project you worked on?
My last project was directing a French translation of The Diary of a Madman by Gogol at the Reine Blanche theatre in Paris. It’s a truly astonishing text that presents the world through the eyes of a schizophrenic. I think everyone should read it not only as a fascinating exploration of mental illness but also because Gogol’s dark genius makes it incredibly funny throughout.
What’s the last book you read?
I recently finished Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. Another fascinating read and a novel that really gripped me. There’s a frantic, desperate energy that drives through the novel that is terrifying but also irresistible – and it really tests your moral compass.
Besides Alice, what’s your favourite past role (or favourite past project you’ve worked on) and why?
Very tough to decide between previous projects! I think if I had to choose, it would be the production of Shakespeare’s Henry V that I directed as the first production with my company, Cyphers. It was very special to bring that group of people together. Building an ensemble and developing ideas of how we work as a company was a fantastic challenge and one that was immensely rewarding. It’s probably my most important project to date, in that it marked a clear shift in the way I wanted to work as a director.
What’s the best play/show/concert you’ve ever been to?
Continuing the Russian theme… I recently saw an adaptation of Eugene Onegin by the Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre at the Barbican. Wow. This production completely blew me away. I had never seen anything like it on stage before and it made me reassess my views on theatre as a whole. It was a beautifully choreographed piece of storytelling – truly inspiring.
Not a lot of people know that…
In France, stage-left is known as cour and stage-right as jardin. This derives from the one of the first theatres in Paris being situated between the jardin des Tuileries to the right and the cour du Carrousel to the left.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
The Musketeers on BBC. I watch very little TV but this always brings a smile to my face. It’s hardly high art but it’s just pure romanticised, swash-buckling fun. I’m immensely jealous of all the actors who get to dress up in fantastic seventeenth century costumes and play with swords for at least 15 minutes an episode, all in the most beautiful settings too!
What really grinds your gears?
Politics. I just try and avoid the subject now.
You can see the product of Marcus’ work as Assistant Director, in Alice in Wonderland at the Battersea Library 2-16th May 2015 – more details and buy tickets here.