Mini Mall Theatre bring their bold one-man show Ballistic to Offbeat on Tuesday 29 June at 6.15pm.
Hi there, why don’t you introduce yourself?
I’m Mark Conway the performer of Ballistic, which is coming to the Old Fire Station as part of Offbeat Festival.
Nice to meet you! So, what’s the show you’re bringing to Offbeat and what’s it about?
Ballistic is a one person show about a young man who feels as though he is dealing with constant rejection and embarrassment which leads him to a point where he feels he’s got to take some action. The play was inspired by stories and accounts of violent acts committed by young men around the world and the growing trend of infamy in death.
What kind of person do you think will enjoy this show?
I suppose someone who enjoys the creation of an entire world and all its characters by a single performer. The play deals with some difficult themes so someone who is open to debate the root causes of these violent acts. There is also a lot of humanity in the play. Anyone who has made it through puberty and survived will recognise quite a lot of what our character goes through!
Can you sum up the pitch for your show in 6 words?
Gut-punchingly relevant one man show.
What’s the background to the show? Why did you make it? What’s the journey been like so far?
I’ve been on board since the very early days of development, through conversations with the writer and director, and later workshopping early script drafts. I don’t want to give away too much of what happens but I was drawn to the script because I feel really passionate about mental health in young men and the pressures put on young people. At the same time the play was inspired by the growing online cults of the alt-right and angry men’s rights groups. There is an interesting tension between the idea that people who subscribe to these ideologies or commit violent acts are pure evil verses the idea that maybe they could be persuaded to take a different path. The play is designed to test the audience’s loyalty which has been a fascinating relationship to play with. Ultimately we made this piece because over the two and half years of development it’s a story that kept repeating itself again and again. We wanted to try to understand why.
What other cool stuff have you done that folks might like to know about?
As well as being an actor I am also a movement director, I was recently shortlisted for the Old Vic 12, which are a fantastic group of young creatives. I also worked on the movement for the multi award winning Land of Our Fathers on the West End and UK Tour.
Are you excited to take this show to Offbeat? Why?
I’m really excited! The festival has a cracking line up and the Old Fire Station is an amazing venue. They work with the charity Crisis to create opportunities for homeless people to see theatre and create their own work. We feel really lucky to be performing there.
Finally, is there anything you’d like to say to folks in Oxford?
Please come and see Ballistic! It’s a story that we are really passionate about and we hope it will open up conversations and surprise people.