Spotlight On… Star of The Fall, Robert Rowe

The Fall runs from 17th – 19th March 2017, book tickets for the show here: The Fall – Book Tickets 

EmpathEyes presents

THE FALL March 17th – March 19th 2017, Acklam Village Market

The Fall is a breathtaking one hour visual spectacle which blends theatre with original animations, live music and projection to unfold a story about one man’s struggle with depression and his unusual path to hope. This play is a new adaptation by EmpathEyes, inspired by Tarsem Singh’s 2006 film, also entitled The Fall.  ★★★★★“Intense and powerful (…) a triumph” Fringebiscuit ★★★★★ “Physically impressive and deeply disturbing” FringeGuru After a failed suicide attempt, a bedridden man tricks a young girl in the hospital to bring him painkillers with the intention of overdosing. He manipulates her attention by telling vibrant stories about the journeys of 5 heroes (represented by ever-changing animation on a screen behind him). As the young girl becomes attached to these characters, the man finds himself inspired by her goodwill and innocence. Yet he finds his cynicism and dejectedness seeping into his storytelling – the fate of the heroes kept hostage by his increasingly despondent mind-set. Alongside the show there will be an exhibition on ‘Depression and Hope’ which follows the emotional journey of the play, starting with the beginnings of a mental illness, the experience when in the depths of psychosis and the emergence of hope. ★★★★ “This production will send your mind into overdrive” The Scotsman ★★★★ “Slick, sexy and utterly terrifying” The List EmpathEyes are a performing arts company that thrives on making work that is raw, honest and has at its core the desire to collaborate with others and fundamentally challenge ourselves and audiences. Their projects stem from the desire to expose and explore the deep crevices of inequality and injustice. They have been drawn to epic stories like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Goat, 1984 and Kafka’s The Trial and have brought these to life on stage by adding their own touch of original live music, animation, and film to the mix. They are deeply inspired by art that makes us question and not sit idle and they beckon their audiences to do the same.

Robert Rowe from the production chatted to me about the show…

Tell me about the piece and your character(s)

It’s about a man in hospital, paralysed by a serious injury, and a child who comes across him as she’s wandering round the wards, and likes to sit by his bed and talk to him. He tells her a long, “epic tale of love and revenge” which you gradually realise is an account of his fears, sorrows and intentions. We discover he wants to die, and thinks of a way of getting her to help him do it. Will it work, is the question.

The clever technical device is that the man’s on stage, live and before the audience’s eyes, while the epic story unrolls in animated form on a huge screen beside him – and the child is in the animation as well, so she becomes a part of the story but without ever leaving his side.

What was your initial impression of the script?

The script is very lively, fresh and colourful and full of picturesque incidents and characters – just as the original film of The Fall was. In fact it’s mostly taken from the original sound track, where a lot of the dialogue was improvised by the actors. The two had a marvellous rapport which I hope we have been able to capture in our chamber version.

Was it easy to translate from page to stage?

The impressive technical feats of adaptation, animation, recording and lighting and the very fine music are not the on-stage actor’s achievements. But they have been a huge help to me in providing a kind of visual story book from which I, as the story teller, just have to read. My part is relatively easy in that sense.

Did you have any ideas about what you wanted to bring to the role(s)?

I wanted to bring out the idea which is central to the character’s role, which is that when you turn your attention from yourself to others, life can cease to be a burden and become a joy. There is a mind-opening moment where the paralysed man, in despair, decides to bring his epic to an end by killing off all the characters, including the one that represents himself. When the child begs him not to, he says: “It’s my story!” and she reminds him that it’s her story too, which is a great truth about a story told by an adult to a child. She has given him her trust, and he must not betray it by abandoning her. For the first time, it brings him face to face with his responsibility to others, and he realises that there can be love and hope even in the most difficult circumstances. If we can get that message across, it will be a worthwhile achievement.

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?

It looks good, the music is gorgeous, the direction is tight and clever, there is a brilliant child actor who will touch your heart.

Thank you so much for a fantastic interview, here’s a to a great run!


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