In the run up to the launch of Feel and Feel More we’re spending some quality time with our brilliant cast and creative team. We posed our fiendish 10 Questions Challenge to one of our super-talented “Feel More” writers Marcus Bernard, proving that sometimes, its the quiet ones you have to watch out for…
Describe yourself in Five Words
Quiet. Observant. Intelligent. Activist. Mixed-Race.
Tell us a bit about your character
When I write, I tend to be more interested in the impacts of events rather than the actual events themselves. I focus a lot on things like trauma and the long term implications of being involved in (or in the case of this character, witnessing) life altering events. I think that so much of writing focuses on horrific events, murders, rapes, snakes being released onto planes, but they never look at what it’s like to live with that after everyone goes home to their families. How those impacts hang around and haunt people for the rest of their lives.
My character, Matt, works in a bar. Someone mentioned the idea of people watching, and I ran with it. I wanted to play with the idea of people watching as means to escape their own life, toying with a kinda creepy voyeurism but also a sense of duty to protect the vulnerable.
I had a the Narrator from Fight Club and Trevor Reznik from The Machinist in mind when I first started playing with the idea but had to find a way to lighten it a little to fit with the Feel universe. I don’t really write “funny”, I tend to just write a character and if they happen to be funny then great. But it doesn’t always work out that way, so trying to lighten the character has been the trickiest part because instinctively I wanted to write a lot darker. I tend to write about heavy subjects because I find them fascinating and, because of the events of my own life, I relate to them.
What’s the best thing you’ve seen at the theatre and why?
The Brothers Size is probably my favourite theatre experience. I’m a huge Tarell Alvin McCraney anyway, even in his work which isn’t quite at the same level, there’s just something in his words. Plus, it’s brilliant to see an openly gay black man writing about these issues and stories which don’t get told by the black community.
And that’s part of what makes The Brothers Size so brilliant, the issues that it tackles from romantic feelings towards friends to toxic masculinity to duty and familial responsibility. But he writes with a pure lyricism. I’m not really the type of person that displays many emotions, I’m quite subdued and reserved, but it’s the only time I’ve been to the theatre where I actually cried as Ogun and Oshoosi danced together.
What three things would you take to a desert island with you?
My vinyl collection, record player and speakers.
What are your 3 favourite songs and why?
”Everything In Its Right Place” by Radiohead. "When I was younger I used to suffer from insomnia, I used to play the Kid A album as a way to relax my mind. Eventually, as I got older, if I ever had problems sleeping, I would always slip Kid A on and drift off to sleep. Everything In Its Right Place is the first track on Kid A.
”Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon. Zevon is one of the most criminally underrated rock musicians in history. His lyrics were just so weird and wonderful and witty. Werewolves of London was Zevon at his best.
”Hurricane” by Bob Dylan. It’s the entire story of Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter who was falsely imprisoned for a triple murder that he didn’t commit spending almost 20 years behind bars. Bob Dylan’s song is lyrical perfection, a beat-by-beat recapping of the entire history of what happened to Rubin Carter, the prejudices and racial motivations. It is, in my opinion, the definitive protest song, right up there with classic protest songs like Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name, Grandmaster Flash’s The Message or Scott-Heron’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.
If you were president for the day what three laws would you enact?
Assuming this is President of the United States, I would increase corporation tax, enact universal healthcare and ban the public sale and ownership of guns.
If you could swap lives with anyone for the day who would it be and why?
My partner who is a Junior Doctor, currently she’s an Obstetrics and Gynaecology SHO. I’d swap with her for a day because growing up I wanted to be a doctor so I’d like to see what it’s like to be in that world and confirm that I didn’t make a huge mistake by not pursuing it. But also because she deserves a break and will get a day in my significantly easier life.
Who would play you in the film / play of your life?
Richard Ayoade because, hair aside (the Indian part of my cancelled out the Jamaican when it comes to the curls), we look pretty similar and I’ve been told we have comparable mannerisms. I am significantly less talented, quite a bit shorter and, I suspect, nowhere near as hardworking as he is.
What do you like most about the world of Feel / Feel More and why do think people should buy a ticket?
It’s truly universally relatable to its audiences. It requires no narrow lens of perspective to identify with seeing the same person on the train every day and wanting to chat to them.
Tell us something surprising about you that people might not know.
I can hyperextend my fingers so that they bend backwards.
We’re almost certainly convinced that Marcus is going to change the world. When he’s not writing about people watching people, you can follow Marcus on Twitter @Marcus_Bernard. Marcus also works as a Story Producer for the Mortified Podcast (which we love!) as well as forming a new BAMER writing night in London in 2019 called “The Upsetters”.
Proforca Theatre Company are a theatre company based in London Tickets are on sale for “Feel” and “Feel More” now from www.proforca.co.uk/boxoffice. You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @ProforcaTheatre #TeamFeel