Using mask, puppetry and physical theatre, Theatre Témoin show how the monsters and demons of childhood can follow us into our adult lives. Jack is a young homeless man, living on the streets in London. Throughout The Marked he is haunted by his mother's alcoholism and her subsequent, recent death. He dreams of the comfort of her arms around him, yet is terrorised by memories of her drunk and abusive.
Alcoholism is broadly defined as uncontrolled and compulsive consumption of alcohol. It is medically considered an addictive illness, with four main symptoms: a strong need, or compulsion, to drink; an inability to limit one’s drinking on any given occasion; withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness and anxiety; and the need for increasing amounts of alcohol in order to feel its effects.
The World Health Organisation says that 'Globally, harmful use of alcohol causes approximately 3.3 million deaths every year (or 5.9% of all deaths), and 5.1% of the global burden of disease is attributable to alcohol consumption.' The National Association for the Children of Alcoholics reports there are an estimated 2.3 million problem drinkers in Britain, and 5 million children affected by parental substance misuse.
Jack clearly adored his mother, but was deeply afraid of what alcohol made her become. His chaotic childhood has left him scarred and scared, tortured by paranoid visions, and nursing a deep suspicion of anyone who drinks. When someone has been drinking in The Marked they are physically transformed. They become massive, they grow claws, blood streams from their eyes. We are plunged inside Jack's head in this play, and it is often a frightening place to be.
For this piece, Theatre Témoin say they were inspired by real-life stories of homelessness. They include a quote on the back of the programme from a Cardboard Citizens Performance Consultant: 'When you're a child living with an alcoholic that's what they are, enormous, a monster, because you are so small. And everything, all of those memories, are of the dark.' (HB)
The Marked is on at the Pleasance Dome at 13:30 until the 29 August. Wheelchair Access, Level Access, Hearing Loop - https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/marked
Global status report on alcohol and health 2014: http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/publications/global_alcohol_report/en/
The National Association for the Children of Alcoholics: http://www.nacoa.org.uk
'Pain and anger are the hidden burden for children with an alcoholic parent': https://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/feb/14/children-parents-alcoholics-nacao-alcoholism
Cardboard Citizens: https://www.cardboardcitizens.org.uk