POETS Day – Mark Brookes
POETS Day is defintely not play for the light-hearted or if you are wanting a good time out. I realised this quite quickly whilst working on the script for publication. And this was reinforced when I saw a video of the production on 22 April 2017.
Set in a London pub on 29 June 2008, the lads, all in the construction industry, have finished work early to spend the afternoon and evening enjoying a pint (or more) and exotic dancing with their boss Lee. (For those, like me who weren’t sure, POETS Day refers to Friday – Push Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday: thankfully I had resisted the temptation to turn POETS into Poet’s or Poets’ before reading the script.)
Events unfold due to the presence of a new lad on the team, Ben, who reveals some unsettling news about who he is. The revelation of this information on this particular day, the anniversary of the death of Lee’s child, sparks a chain reaction exaccerbated by drug use.
POETS Day is raw, it’s hard, it’s politically incorrect – all with the purpose of reflecting life as it was in 2008 (and unfortunately still is today in 2017). Mark wrote the play’for fun’ for his teenage son ‘as a gift … however it quickly developed into a more serious piece of work’. Archie, Mark’s son, played the young Lee in the original production, and a very able performance it was too.
POETS Day is thought-provoking and plucks at the emotions. Mark has ably used the medium of theatre to warn his son and others of what life can be like. It provides an ideal platform for teachers, youth workers and others involved with young adults (16+) to discuss issues of sexuality, drugs, alcohol, equality and much more.
In recognition of this, Mark involved Barnardo’s in the play’s debut perfomance run, and fundraised for the same charity. The published script recognises that the play can raise emotions and memories which have remained hidden for some time and to this extent has a list of relevant support organisations a person can contact to obtain help.
Before you think all is bleak, Mark makes good use of appropriate humour and language to lighten the mood before tackling another heavy topic, and his lead-in to the interval was absolutely wonderful (and creative).
POETS Day ends on a note of uncertainty – on purpose: parts 2 and 3 are being written together to ensure all the elements come together as they should for a powerful trilogy. I can’t wait to see the script of Craic of Dawn mid-2018 based on what I’ve seen of POETS Day and the snippets Mark has let slip of what’s to come.
For any theatre company interested in performing POETS Day, it’s worth knowing that Mark constructed the complete set which is available for hire from him – even to the working taps in the bathroom!
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