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Mark Thomas – A lesson in multi-dimensional storytelling

A couple of weeks ago a few of us CannonHill-ites were invited along to watch Mark’s show; Bravo Figaro, a moving depiction of his relationship with his father and opera. Mark had kindly spent some time earlier in the evening talking to us and answering some questions about his career, his political views and anything else we wanted to know. This was an interesting insight into comedy and performance as a form of political activism. Mark is a really charming guy with a lot of important things to say and just listening to the thought process surrounding his work was great inspiration to look at art in a new light. For me personally it has always been important to work on projects that hold more than just one meaning. As appose to just being about aesthetics or reviews, exposure or money it could also be about social change, progress and the the experience of something new. Mark, with his tales of success, re-affirmed my desire to work with these goals in mind. We were also told about the way projects can develop further the more you look into them. Following leads that you think are interesting can often provide us with something that is completely different to the point that we started at and can deliver more depth, experience and value to our work. The show that followed was entertaining from start to finish but, because of what was mentioned previously, I felt as if I could spot where certain realisations and changes to the projects had come. I could see beyond the jokes and stories and understand the thinking behind them. This gave the show a feeling of ‘wholeness’. We were seeing the culmination of what Mark had told us about before. The story had countless messages about social class, politics and the structures that surround family life, all of which were communicated through heartfelt humour, passion and story telling. It made me want to see more of Mark’s work, but perhaps more importantly, to find a way for my own work to follow a similar vein of intrigue and to provide more dimensions than may be apparent at first glance.