Tuesday, 8 November 2016

IN THE DARK: A Whisper Of Black Silk on BBC Radio



Thought I'd focus here on the storytelling drama I performed for BBC Radio Scotland at Halloween as part of their show In The Dark. This is now available to hear on the BBC iPlayer - but only for just over a couple of weeks, so listen now! I'll paste a couple of links below....

LINK 1: This is my story A Whisper Of Black Silk, in isolation... A WHISPER OF BLACK SILK

LINK 2: This is the full programme, as broadcast, in which my story is second on the bill, about 14 minutes in, after an atmospheric and subtle story by Kirsty Logan based on the Scots legend of the Kelpie.... IN THE DARK

Both are admirably introduced and compered by John Kielty who played Edgar Allan Poe in my radio play Moyamensing a couple of Halloweens ago. 

The show was performed before a live audience back in mid-October before a full audience at Glasgow's wonderfully atmospheric Britannia Panopticon Music Hall, the place where Stan Laurel famously made his stage debut.

The remit from our producer Elizabeth Ann Duffy was to tell stories rooted in Scots folklore and I was encouraged to draw inspiration from the lore and legend of my native Glasgow. I had coffee with Elizabeth Ann in Glasgow early last summer, promised I'd come up with something, said "Cheerio" and basically had come up with a story by the time I'd walked a couple of blocks through Glasgow's Merchant City. 

Thinking about the history and strange tales of Glasgow, I was drawn towards a story that has haunted me a good deal of my life - the story of Glasgow's most famous (possible) murderess, Madeleine Smith. In a nutshell, back in the mid-19th century, Madeleine - the daughter of one of the most respectable of haut bourgeois Glaswegian families, got into a passionate (emotionally and, it would seem, physically) relationship with Pierre Emile L'Angelier, writing him love letters of an intensity to make much 'official' Scots literature of the 19th century seem bloodless and sexless by comparison. 




When her family, oblivious of the secret relationship, urged her to marry a much more respectable young Scots gentleman, L'Angelier threatened to reveal the letters to her father. And then suddenly Pierre, in the habit of drinking hot chocolate on his nocturnal visits to Madeleine, died of what seemed to be arsenic poisoning, Madeleine herself being in the habit of purchasing arsenic in nearby Sauchiehall Street, for its efficacy as an exfoliant. 

Madeleine then went briefly 'on the run' only to be caught and put on trial for murder. Famously, the court found her neither Guilty nor Not Guilty, but rather decided the case against her was Not Proven - that rare verdict possible in a Scots court: in other words, "we think you might have done it, but we can't prove it, so go away and don't do it again." And away she went, finally living in America.

The case had always had a fascination for me. IF she did it - and IF Thomas DeQuincey is correct in identifying murder as being one of the fine arts, then Madeleine - I had always felt - was perhaps the finest artist to come out of Glasgow, far surpassing the likes of Alasdair Gray or Charles Rennie Mackintosh with a combination of raw passion and sheer conceptual precision to put one in mind of the early Stravinsky. Against the twin corrosions in the Scottish soul of machismo & puritanism (so inimical to the creation of art in the first place), she fought the good fight for a transgressive, uninhibited and uncompromisingly female eroticism. As a kid, I would wander through Blythswood Square on a kind of pilgrimage - without, to be honest, much idea of which specific house in this grand square at the top of a steep hill (conveniently en route to my youthful haunt in the front row of the Glasgow Film Theatre) Madeleine occupied. 




Some concerted research led me to the right house, complete with its low level window just around the corner, through which - I've heard - Madeleine used to hand up Pierre his hot chocolate. Although I've never been short of artistic heroes and role models - from Emily Bronte to Mary Shelley, Roman Polanski to John Webster, Jan Svankmajer to Max Ernst, Euripides to Howard Barker, Dostoevsky to Edgar Allan Poe, W B Yeats to Bela Bartok - I struggled, frankly, to find a real honest to goodness artistic hero in my own home city, past or present. Even the one Scots author I genuinely couldn't live without, Robert Louis Stevenson, came - inescapably - from that 'other' city to the East. 

So Madeleine, passionate and sensuous in her murderousness, took that 'hero' position for me, assuming a totemic role in my youthful imagination alongside those other figures I considered the patron saints of my own private matriachal mystery religion: Irena Dubrovna (from 'Cat People'), Mircalla Karnstein (from 'The Vampire Lovers' & my own novel - out on Kindle - Dances Sacred & Profane, here's a link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/DANCES-SACRED-PROFANE-Romance-ebook/dp/B00858QERM/ref=la_B004H9DTMQ_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1365784911&sr=1-8 - the fact that the second female lead in Vampire Lovers was an actress, non-murderous, called Madeleine Smith, added an extra resonance) and the Countess Elizabeth Bathory (as featured in my Wireless Theatre Company play Blood And Stone.).  

And after years of thinking about her, revering her with all the necrophiliac intensity of a Poe protagonist haunting the grave of his beloved, I thought perhaps I could use her story as the basis for my In The Dark performance. Certainly, in recent years I had noted that her house, now split into offices, had gained a plaque declaring it to be, officially, "Madeleine Smith house". What, I had wondered in passing, might it be like to work in her house - and maybe one day confront her ghost?

But there was a catch... creating an imaginative Gothic fiction, I didn't want to be too hemmed in by the restrictions of historical fact. And if Madeleine had killed at all, she had killed at long distance, poisoning Pierre in such a way that he died at his own lodgings a considerable distance away. In my story, bluntly, I wanted a crime of passion that would spray the walls with blood in the most immediate way.

So I opted instead for a "Madeleine-Smith-type" murderer in the form of the fictional "Bonnie Annie Sharp". This also gave me the opportunity to shift the setting from the city centre to my own part of Glasgow. Because I'm not just any old sort of Glaswegian, but a Southside Glaswegian - the centre of my Glaswegian universe being defined basically by the hilly sprawl of Queen's Park, my four homes in the city having been at the four corners of the park. And the house in which A Whisper Of Black Silk takes place faces "the dark end of Queen's Park".




But the idea remained: modern man stumbles on Victorian female ghost - and the new twist was the way she doesn't simply confront him at a corner and go "Boo!" but actually slips her way inside his brain and bone to haunt him from within - this giving me a further opportunity to give the story an undercurrent of dark humour... as a quintessential macho "man's man" Glaswegian male, the sort of guy who'd punch your lights out if you so much as suggested his having a feminine side, finds a very pronounced and passionate femininity taking hold of him... from within. A local Glasgow audience can be heard, in the recording, 'getting' this sardonically funny subtext with laser-guided efficiency. 

I only had 10 minutes plus to work with, but I like to think I've packed a lot into this 'monodrama': all my work, let's face it, either rips off Euripides' Medea or The Bacchae, and this manages a little bit of both, within the tightest of constraints. So do listen - before it vanishes back into the BBC vaults!  

Monday, 31 October 2016

My... best... Halloween... ever...!

Well, what a Halloween weekend it's been! Friday night I was off to see Chilwell Arts Theatre to catch a rare big screen appearance of Rosemary's Baby, by one of my artistic heroes (though I wouldn't necessarily take him as a role model for my personal life!) Roman Polanski. 

Then the very next night I was back there to perform my storytelling drama 21ST. CENTURY POE: FALLING FOR THE USHERS, which updates Poe's Fall Of The House Of Usher to the contemporary Scottish conceptual art scene. This was quite a show, where I enjoyed the luxury of a specially designed set, Bauhaus meets Jackson Pollock, complete with some post-Damien Hirst sculpture - as well as seriously atmospheric lighting, with shades of fire and dark water. 



Then, briefly drawing breath, it was out to Belper in Derbyshire to perform THE GORBALS VAMPIRE, my show based on the urban legend from my native Glasgow of an iron toothed vampire haunting the city's Southern Necropolis. Apart from getting a couple of serious carpet burns on my bare knees during a bit of seriously dramatic acting (when I performed it earlier this month at Glasgow's Britannia Panopticon, I accidentally thumped my nose with my fist and played much of the second half with a big bead of real blood on my proboscis: it must be one of THOSE shows), the show seemed to go down very well and I hope to return to Belper before long.



And then today, Halloween itself, the show I recorded for BBC Scotland at Glasgow's Britannia Panopticon went on air. I'll put a link here for the show. As you'll see, the page in question  gives the option of listening to the complete show as it went out - my story, or rather the intro to my story by John Kielty, who played Poe in my Radio Scotland drama MOYAMENSING, starts about 14 minutes in. But you can also listen to Kirsty Logan 's story in the first half or, scrolling down, listen to four separate stories by the tellers who were there that night, presented in isolation. Whichever way you choose, I'd love for you to listen to my story, A Whisper Of Black Silk, which is on one hand a very Glaswegian ghost story, but also a darkly comic comment on the rigidities and neuroses swirling beneath the machismo of many a Glaswegian male - you can audibly hear a local audience latching onto that sardonic undercurrent! Just below is the link...

I N T H E D A R K on BBC Scotland

Just the thing for Halloween (although, PS, as it's on BBC iPlayer I'm not sure non-UK listeners will be able to hear).

And tonight I'm going to round it all off by relaxing and letting someone else do the work, heading to the cinema for a rare chance to see Stanley Kubrick's magnificent THE SHINING on the big screen.

How on earth do I top this next Halloween???

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Halloween Part One: 21ST CENTURY POE: FALLING FOR THE USHERS at Chilwell Arts Theatre

Drawing breath briefly before my big Halloween storytelling weekend... at two of my regular performing venues. First up on Saturday night I'm performing 21ST CENTURY POE: FALLING FOR THE USHERS, my radical update of The Fall Of The House Of Usher, which sees haunted siblings Roderick & Madeline Usher relocated from their misty Gothic manor to the contemporary conceptual art scene in my home town of Glasgow.


I was rehearsing in the theatre just the other day, even as our production designer Stuart constructed the set around me. And I got a first look at a couple of my co-stars.



And here's the set under construction. This will represent, among other things, the converted warehouse on a Glasgow quayside which my modern version of the Ushers call home. Someone might just fall out of that big window.... Note the Jackson Pollock influence on the direction of the screens, hinting at the dark oily roll and chop of the waters of the River Clyde as they flow just below.



It's going to be a great show and anyone who wants to book should contact Michael Schillinger at Michael@chilwellartstheatre.co.uk

Then on Sunday, I'm performing The Gorbals Vampire at No.28 in the Market Place in Belper. You can book for that at www.BrownPaperTickets.com


Monday, 24 October 2016

THE GORBALS VAMPIRE comes to Belper, Derbyshire

Yes, it's the week of my two big Halloween storytelling shows. On Saturday, 29th of October, I'm performing 21st CENTURY POE: FALLING FOR THE USHERS at Chilwell Arts Theatre. More of that in my previous post and if you want to book, contact:

michael@chilwellartstheatre.co,uk

Meanwhile, the very next night, Sunday 30th October, I'm performing THE GORBALS VAMPIRE at another regular venue, No.28 in the Market Place in Belper, Derbyshire. 



This show is inspired by the urban legend from my native Glasgow about an iron toothed vampire running amok in the city's Southern Necropolis. There's more on the background elsewhere on this blog, here's a link....

http://martyrossstoryteller.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/me-gorbals-vampire.html

But the story's close to my heart. I spent a significant portion of my youth - and particularly the bit when I was making my first beginnings in the theatre - was spent living with my dear Nana, Jessie Downs, literally about ten minutes' walk away in her tenement at the corner of Langside and Butterbiggins Road. Basically, she was the biggest influence on my life, and indeed the greatest artistic influence, since it was from her I learned the art of storytelling. 

She was a great, spontaneous storyteller. Crucially, the stories she told were not traditional folk tales, but stories from the old Hollywood movies that she loved so much. I would huddle at her side on a Sunday morning and she would tell me the stories of movies like Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, Gaslight, The Spiral Staircase.... not simply synopsising the plots, but retelling the stories in a dramatic and visual detail as rich as that of the original films, often happily taking an hour, two hours, to tell the whole story, often adding her own distinctive 'touches' and flourishes that occasionally made the film itself a disappointment when I finally got to see the 'real' thing.

The influence of this on my own work as a storyteller should be obvious to anyone who's been to one of my shows - which favour single stories taking a whole evening, stories having all the depth and detail of a feature film, stories unapologetic about the influence of modern popular cultural genres from movies to comic books... as opposed to the purist emphasis on snippety ten minute long, rigorously pre-modern folk tales of the more 'trad' approach to the form. I am a storyteller for whom the modern world exists - for whom storytelling is as fully contemporary a form as TV drama. 

Anyway, you can imagine how big a deal it was to me when I learned that ten minutes from Nana's front door lay the site of the last great vampire panic in European history: the Gorbals, and not Hungary or Transylvania. I took to wandering the graveyard, pondering the true story - which, of course, ended anti-climactically as, for all the fuss, there doesn't seem to have been a real vampire in the graveyard.




But what, I thought, as I looked at bare bushes sprouting among the broken tombstones like clawed fingers reaching up, if there really WAS something there - a very distinctly Glaswegian Nosferatu? And what if a vampire-mad boy, like the vampire-mad boy I had been, fell into its clutches?




And a story was born. It's been very well received on native soil, back home in Glasgow, with full houses at both the Southside Fringe and the Britannia Panopticon, as well as a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, as part of my Vampires In The Vault double bill. But now I'm taking my vampire further afield - and I hope Derbyshire will take this very Scottish monster to its big English heart!

Tickets can be booked at www.BrownPaperTickets.com - here's a link below: 

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2666788

Saturday, 15 October 2016

21st CENTURY POE: FALLING FOR THE USHERS at Chilwell Arts Theatre Saturday October 29th

My two Glasgow shows last week at the wonderful Britannia Panopticon - In The Dark for BBC Radio Scotland & my own The Gorbals Vampire - went well, with full houses and wonderful appreciative audiences both nights.

But I've barely got time to draw breath before my two shows on Halloween weekend. On Sunday 30th October, I'm performing The Gorbals Vampire at the No. 28 Arts Centre in Belper, Derbyshire - more on that to follow. 

But first up, on Saturday 29th October, is 21st CENTURY POE: FALLING FOR THE USHERS, in which I radically reinvent Poe's "Fall Of The House Of Usher" for our era.


Haunted twins Roderick & Madeline Usher are no longer glooming it around a Gothic mansion in the middle of nowhere, but are now superstars of Glasgow's contemporary conceptual art scene, Turner prize nominees for their macabre installations. But when an old flame of Madeline's from Glasgow School of Art shows up, the stage is set for a tragic downfall as dramatic and disturbing as that in the original tale.

This has always been one of my best received shows and I've performed it at the likes of the Edinburgh & Glasgow Southside Fringes, as well as the London Horror Festival - and it's great to be bringing it, finally, to my theatrical 'home base' at Chilwell Arts Theatre. I was just rehearsing today while our wonderful resident production designer Stuart was busy painting a bit of Jackson Pollock-style set design. My shows are always a bigger, grander affair at Chilwell!

Want to book for this unique Halloween event?

Contact Michael Schillinger of Chilwell Arts Theatre at: 07772 053412 or at: michael@chilwellartstheatre.co.uk

Monday, 10 October 2016

THE GORBALS VAMPIRE & IN THE DARK at Glasgow's Britannia Panopticon this week

Home in Glasgow gearing up for a big week of dramatic storytelling at one of my favourite venues, the hugely atmospheric Britannia Panopticon Music Hall - basically, if the Phantom Of The Opera was playing gigs in Glasgow, this is where he'd play.

On Tuesday, I'm performing as one of a whole line up of storytellers in BBC Radio Scotland's IN THE DARK, performing a very gritty contemporary Glaswegian ghost story about the dark side of MacHismo, A Whisper Of Black Silk. I understand this show is SOLD OUT already, but if you miss it live, the show is being recorded and will be broadcast on Radio Scotland on Halloween itself.

Then, the very next night, Wed 12th October at 7pm, I'm performing my full length drama THE GORBALS VAMPIRE, already a sell-out at this year's Southside Fringe back in the Spring. This is my dark, disturbing and darkly comic take on the local legend of an iron toothed vampire haunting the city's Southern Necropolis. I spent much of my formative years -- and learned the ropes of storytelling -- living with my Grandmother just about ten minutes' walk away in her tenement on the corner of Butterbiggins and Langside Road: you can't imagine how much of a big deal it was to this Hammer Horror-daft kid to hear that the last great vampire 'panic' of European history had happened a couple of streets away. So this show is a big deal to me. Tickets (£8 / £6) are bookable here.... 

http://tickets-scotland.com/events.html?event_method=viewevent&event_id=574466b5-6b9d-11e6-b2cc-22000b75ede9


And don't forget, I'm also performing Halloween weekend down England way... Saturday 29th October sees me performing 21st CENTURY POE: FALLING FOR THE USHERS at another favourite haunt, Chilwell Arts Theatre.

And then on Sunday 30th. October I'm back at No.28 in Belper performing, you guessed it, THE GORBALS VAMPIRE all over again. Tickets for that show are now available at www.BrownPaperTickets.com

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Gorbals Vampire returns to Glasgow - Britannia Panopticon October 12th!!!

Just gearing up for the epic month of spooky storytelling which  the Halloween month of October will inevitably usher in. I'll be performing two nights running at Glasgow's Britannia Panopticon music hall on October 11th & 12th. On the 11th. I'm performing as part of BBC Radio Scotland's IN THE DARK show, which will be recorded for Halloween broadcast. And then on October 12th. there's THIS....




THE GORBALS VAMPIRE
A dramatic storytelling show by Marty Ross.

12th October 7pm at Britannia Panopticon, 113 – 117 Trongate, Glasgow G1 5HD.
Venue contact: 0141 553 0840 / info@britanniapanopticon.org

Tickets £8 / Concession £6


To Book Tickets, here's the link... http://tickets-scotland.com/events.html?event_method=viewevent&event_id=574466b5-6b9d-11e6-b2cc-22000b75ede9

Ghoulish and gallus... Gothic and grotesque and blood-glugging... gaun yirsel' – spend an evening with Glasgow's very own Gorbals Vampire!

Glasgow's very own vampire legend comes to disturbing dramatic life in this unique performance by master storyteller and playwright Marty Ross at Glasgow's most atmospheric and historic performing space ... just the thing to get Glasgow in the mood for Halloween, after sell-out success at this year's Southside Fringe.





It was in the 1950s that kids in Glasgow's Gorbals became convinced that the Southern Necropolis was haunted by an iron toothed vampire with a taste for children. Mass hysteria erupted among both young and old, kids embarking nightly on vampire hunts, wooden stakes in hand, while panicked adults called the police and demanded a ban on the US horror comics perceived  - erroneously, modern historians believe - to be responsible: much more authentically local traditions were involved.

But this true story ended rather anti-climatically: there doesn't,
disappointingly, seem to have been a real vampire in the graveyard.
But Marty Ross' drama asks: what if? What if there actually was a
"something" there, very ancient and strange and terrible? And what if one vampire mad boy found himself in the vampire's clutches?

Thus the Gorbals gets its very own full blown Gothic horror myth, a story aspiring to do for Glasgow's south side what Dracula did for
Transylvania, what the Phantom did for the Paris Opera, as a
disturbing tale is spun of innocence lost and - possibly – regained.
This won't be Glasgow's only Gorbals Vampire show this Halloween, but Ross' show came first (premiering at 2015 Edinburgh Fringe) and is a very different vampiric beast -- an edgy, under-your-skin, in-your-face, full-blooded modern horror story, extreme and grotesque even in its humour.





Those who have attended Ross' previous dramatic storytelling
performances, whether at the Edinburgh or Southside Fringes, at the Britannia Panopticon or the London Horror Festival, or at any of his other regular venues, will know that storytelling with Ross is far removed from the comfy chair Jackanory clichés of this oldest, yet suddenly newest, of theatrical forms. Rather his style is boldly
theatrical and expressionistic - and finds an ideal venue in the rough and ready grandeur of Glasgow's grand old Victorian music hall. How can you resist the spell of this very Glaswegian vampire?

“Marty Ross has mastered this art of storytelling...” TVBomb,
Edinburgh Fringe 2015

“Ross is a master craftsman who never turns down the pressure,
painting vile pictures and weaving a grotesque spell... Trainspotting
meets Gothic horror” Broadway Baby, Edinburgh Fringe 2013

“Ross has a great aptitude for suspense and terror, and he hurls
himself into his tale with energy and passion, in words which ring
with the native Glasgow rhythm.” The Scotsman. Edfringe 2013.

MARTY ROSS is a playwright and storyteller with a long track record in radio and audio drama, particularly for the BBC, for whom he has written drama ranging from the Radio 4 series The Darker Side Of The Border to the popular serials Ghost Zone and Catch My Breath to one-off dramas such as Rough Magick, My Blue Piano, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, The Dead Of Fenwick Moor and Moyamensing: Scenes From The Life, Death & Dreams of Edgar Allan Poe. He has also written two Doctor Who audio dramas and an award-nominated Dark Shadows drama. He has also written drama for the Wireless Theatre Company, including two
plays commissioned by, and performed at, the Buxton Festival, Redder Than Roses and The Woman On The Bridge. This year has seen the release of his most acclaimed production yet, Romeo And Jude, an epic love story for Amazon Audible featuring Owen Teale (Game of Thrones) and Nick Moran (Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels) He also performs widely as a live storyteller in venues great and small ranging across Britain and Ireland.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

MY AUTUMN SCHEDULE

Just updating the blog with some details of what I'll be up to over the next few months. First of all, I'm involved with writing another epic audio drama production for Amazon Audible, who commissioned my epic love story ROMEO & JUDE last year (via Wireless Theatre Company). More on that later (hint, hint) - don't want to give too much away while still only about a third of the way through a first draft. 

But in terms of storytelling performance, the Halloween month of October is going to be very busy. On October 11th. I'm performing as one of a series of Scottish storytellers in the show IN THE DARK. This will be performed live at Glasgow's glorious Britannia Panopticon Music Hall and recorded there for Halloween transmission on BBC Radio Scotland. The live performance is 'invitation only', but is I think free: check BBC Scotland for more info nearer the time.



Then, the very next night, October 12th, at the very same Victorian music hall, I'm performing my solo show THE GORBALS VAMPIRE, which sold out at this year's Glasgow Southside Fringe. The show is inspired by Glasgow's urban legend of an iron toothed vampire haunting the city's Southern Necropolis. More details on the background to that show are available elsewhere on this blog, i.e: HERE....

http://martyrossstoryteller.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/me-gorbals-vampire.html

And here's the link for the Britannia Panopticon's website, which has ticket details -

http://www.britanniapanopticon.org/what-s-on/



Then on Halloween weekend itself I'm performing The Gorbals Vampire at my old haunt of the No.28 arts centre in Belper, Derbyshire: that's on Sunday 30 October. 

That's a change of date, because the show I WAS going to be doing on the Sunday has been shifted to the SATURDAY...

SO... on Saturday 29 October, I'm performing old favourite 21st CENTURY POE: FALLING FOR THE USHERS, which I've performed to great acclaim just about everywhere except where I'm performing it this October: at my regular performing base of CAT: Chilwell Arts Theatre. 




And by the end of this year, there should be something BIG coming from Amazon Audible (big as several dinosaurs, hint hint!)

W A T C H   T H I S   S P A C E ! ! !

Friday, 13 May 2016

GORBALS VAMPIRE at Southside Fringe now SOLD OUT

Just a quick note to anyone who might be thinking of coming along to my Southside Fringe show THE GORBALS VAMPIRE tomorrow night Sat 14 (see preceding posts), the show is now SOLD OUT and as things stand I'm afraid there won't be much point in coming to the door on the night. IF there are any cancellations and any more tickets become available, I will let you know, but tickets are currently unavailable.

BUT THE GORBALS VAMPIRE will return. I'm currently booked to perform the show in Glasgow again at the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall in Argyll Street. That's in October, just ahead of Halloween, so watch this space for further details.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Tickets for THE GORBALS VAMPIRE at Glasgow Southside Fringe -- now available at Brown Paper Tickets

Further to my last post concerning my upcoming show at the Southside Fringe in my native Glasgow, just spreading the word that tickets are available both at the Southside Fringe box office, which this year is going to be located in The Art Village in Shawlands' main shopping centre on the main Kilmarnock Road, you can also get hold of tickets online at BROWN PAPER TICKETS. I'll post the LINK here -- http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2544456 Remember... tickets are STRICTLY LIMITED for this very intimate venue.

Meanwhile, here's a rough draft of the poster!


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

THE GORBALS VAMPIRE returns - to Glasgow Southside Fringe Sat 14 May 2016

Yes, after successful performances at last year's Edinburgh and Nottingham Fringes, I'm bringing my show about Glasgow's very own Gorbals Vampire back where it belongs... to his and my native turf on the South Side of Glasgow at this year's Southside Fringe, where my 21st Century Poe shows were well received last year. I'll attach here a link to a previous post giving a little bit more of the historical background to the story.... here's the LINK below....

http://martyrossstoryteller.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/me-gorbals-vampire.html

And here I'll paste in the press release for the Southside show. Bear in mind this is a small, intimate venue and tickets will be strictly limited! Tickets are available from both the Southside Fringe Box Office at Art Village in the Shawlands Shopping Centre at 104 Kilmarnock Road in Glasgow, or from the Brown Paper Tickets website (link here): http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2544456

PS: Here's a link to a SOUNDCLOUD "trailer" recording from my rehearsals... https://soundcloud.com/user-752957699/the-gorbals-vampire-trailer

THE GORBALS VAMPIRE

A dramatic storytelling show by Marty Ross for Glasgow Southside Fringe 2016.

14th. May at Number 6, 6 Carment Drive, Shawlands G41 3PP.
Venue contact: 07761 299 717
8pm (for 8.30). Tickets £10 (includes food)




Ghoulish and garrulous... Gothic and grotesque and blood-glugging... gaun yirsel' – spend an evening with Glasgow's very own Gorbals Vampire!


Glasgow's very own vampire legend comes to disturbing dramatic life in the latest performance by master storyteller and playwright Marty Ross... What better show to chill spines at this year's Glasgow Southside Fringe?

Well received at last year's Southside Fringe was Ross' 21st Century Poe, in which he not only updated two classic terror tales by Edgar Allan Poe, but relocated them to the streets of his native Glasgow. Now he goes one better, by building this new show around a native horror legend of Glasgow's South side.


It was in the 1950s that local kids in Glasgow's Gorbals became convinced that the vast graveyard of the Southern Necropolis was haunted by an iron toothed vampire with a taste for children. Mass hysteria erupted among both young and old, kids embarking nightly on vampire hunts, wooden stakes in hand,  while panicked adults called the police and demanded a ban on the US horror comics perceived - erroneously, modern historians agree - to be responsible: much more authentically local traditions were involved.




But this true story ended rather anti-climactically: there doesn't, disappointingly, seem to have been any real vampire in the graveyard. But Marty Ross" drama asks: what if? What if there actually was a "something" there, very ancient and strange and terrible? And what if one vampire mad boy found himself in the vampire's clutches?


Thus the Gorbals gets its very own full blown Gothic horror myth, a story aspiring to do for Glasgow's south side what Dracula did for Transylvania, what the Phantom did for the Paris Opera, as a tale is spun - dramatic, theatrical, darkly humorous but deeply disturbing, of innocence lost and - possibly - regained.


Those who have attended Ross' previous dramatic storytelling performances, whether at the Edinburgh Fringe or Southside Fringe or the London Horror Festival, or any of his other regular venues, will know that storytelling with Ross is far removed from the comfy chair Jackanory clichés of this oldest, yet suddenly newest, of theatrical forms. Rather his style is boldly theatrical and expressionistic - and here finds itself a fascinating new venue at No. 6 in Shawlands, a performance space combining the intimacy of a domestic fireside setting - so traditional for storytelling - with the room to create a startling one man theatrical spectacle. Please note the £ 10 ticket price also includes food and drink both before and at the interval of the show.

How can you resist the spell of this very Glaswegian vampire?

Marty Ross has mastered this art of storytelling...” TVBomb, Edinburgh Fringe 2015
Ross is a master craftsman who never turns down the pressure, painting vile pictures and weaving a grotesque spell... Trainspotting meets Gothic horror” Broadway Baby, Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Ross has a great aptitude for suspense and terror, and he hurls himself into his tale with energy and passion, in words which ring with the native Glasgow rhythm.” The Scotsman. Edfringe 2013.

MARTY ROSS is a playwright and storyteller with a long track record in radio and audio drama, particularly for the BBC, for whom he has written drama ranging from the Radio 4 series The Darker Side Of The Border to the popular serials Ghost Zone and Catch My Breath to one-off dramas such as Rough Magick, My Blue Piano, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, The Dead Of Fenwick Moor and Moyamensing: Scenes From The Life, Death & Dreams of Edgar Allan Poe. He has also written two Doctor Who audio dramas and an award-nominated Dark Shadows drama. He has also written drama for the Wireless Theatre Company, including two plays commissioned by, and performed at, the Buxton Festival, Redder Than Roses and The Woman On The Bridge. This year has seen the release of his most acclaimed production yet, Romeo And Jude, an epic production for Amazon Audible featuring Owen Teale and Nick Moran. He also performs widely as a live storyteller in venues great and small ranging across Britain and Ireland.


Saturday, 20 February 2016

ATLANTIC IN OUR BONES Chapter 3 of my Scottish thriller.

Pasting here third chapter of my new Glasgow-based thriller ATLANTIC IN OUR BONES which I'm currently in the process of revising. If you want to HEAR me read the chapter on Soundcloud, them here's a link: L I N K


And here's the text of the third chapter....

3./ "You sure you're alright?" the man in the driving seat asks.

Mhairi, gaze searching the mountainous darkness for any hint of Loch Lomond, is slow to turn round.

"What?" she asks.

"That bump I gave you."

He looks kind enough, a wee bit sagged and rumpled and middle-aged; maybe, she surmises, a bit sad about something at the far back of his mind.

"It wasn't much," she shrugs. "I’m okay."

"The guy in that other car, he was hasslin' you?"

She roves her stare past the flashings-by of headlit trees.

"He gave me a lift. Got a bit creepy."

"I bet," says the man. "What you doing, taking lifts off creeps?"

She faces him again, sees him show a lop-sided grin. "I exempt myself, of course, from classification as a creep," he says.

"You sure?" she asks.

"Absolutely. Took the blood test for creepiness last month. Got the all clear. Want to see my certificate?"

"I trust you."

His grin hardens past humour. "Really?" he asks. "How come?"

She shrugs again. "People's hearts aren't so hard to see into."

"Yeah... well... I’d look extra close if you're going to make a habit of hitch-hiking."

"I don't plan to."

“You know anyone in Glasgow?"

"I’ll be okay," she mutters.

"It's not the best place to be stuck without a friend."

"I know someone," she says. "Don't worry."

"A someone who knows you're coming?"

"A someone I can trust."

"Well, I hope that someone doesn't go to bed early. It's going to be the wee small hours by the time we hit town."

He sounds as if he cares. A trick? The closer she lets him take her to Glasgow, the better placed she'll be if she has to make a run for it. The hand furthest from him checks the weapon in her fleece's pocket.

"I’m not gonna drop in out of the blue. I’ll... I’ll sort something else out tonight."

"Yeah. Glasgow's full of parks. You'll find an empty bench, I’m sure."

"Maybe..." she ventures, "...maybe you know somewhere I could...?"

His eyes fix upon her, so tightly she fears he'll forget the road ahead and kill them both.

"What island did you come from?" he says.

"Island - ?"

"Your accent. It's - what? - from the Orkneys, the Hebrides, someplace like that, huh? And your general approach to getting by in this big bad world, which floating rock of hopeless naivety did that swim in from?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, sweetheart, watch what suggestions you make with that lilt and them fluttering eyes, when you're sat in a car with a guy who could be anyone."

"What suggestion was I making?" she says.

"The fact you don't know makes it makes it all the more dangerous."

"Was I making it at all?"

"Huh?"

"Maybe it's something you made up inside your own head."

She twitches down the first couple of notches on the zipper of her fleece's pocket.

"Guess what, darling," he says, "there's worse heads than mine in Glasgow. So the point is... take care."

"You don't trust that place, sounds like."

"Bitter experience."

"What sort of experience?"

"Too bitter for talking about this time of night. Listen, we... um… I
do hate to think of you sleeping rough.... I, um, I live just north of the city. Got a spare room. You could kip there for the night. I could drive you into Glasgow in the morning. Strictly innocent, I assure you."

"I believe you," she says, staring past the shadows of the branches as they stream across his face.


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

ROMEO & JUDE - my new drama from Audible & Wireless Theatre



This week sees the release of my biggest audio drama yet, the five hour epic of love against the odds, ROMEO & JUDE, which has been produced by Wireless Theatre Company for Audible.co.uk the audiobooks wing of Amazon. This is one of the biggest opportunities I've had to show what I'm made of as a dramatist, so I'm hoping it's well received. In effect, it's exactly what Audible asked for in the first place, a contemporary gay version of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet - and I've taken my key inspiration from the fact that, of course, in the original production Shakespeare himself would have overseen, Juliet would have been played not by a female actor (heaven forbid a woman should set foot on the Elizabethan stage!), but rather by a beautiful feminine young man. In my own storytelling, I'd directly experienced the power of performance to liberate one from conventional boundaries of gender or sexuality and really wanted to celebrate, the get under the skin, of this process. 

Directed by David Runacre Beck, who also directed my Buxton Festival play THE WOMAN ON THE BRIDGE, now available as an audio download from Wireless Theatre's website, the drama features performances from the likes of wonderful Welsh actor Owen Teale, currently best known for Game Of Thrones, seriously talented newcomer Matthew Tennyson, Nick Moran of Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels & Telstar fame, plus Ricky Norwood from Eastenders, stormingly nasty as the play's equivalent to Tybalt, and wonderful Sarah Whitehouse who was so brilliant in the lead role of the above mentioned Woman On The Bridge and is equally sensitive and moving here. 

Here's a link to the appropriate page on the Audible website.....


And here below is the 'behind the scenes' trailer for the play on YouTube...

Hoping the world loves it like I loved writing it!






Monday, 25 January 2016

ATLANTIC IN OUR BONES - my Glasgow thriller - Chapter 2


Just pasting in here the second chapter of my Glaswegian 'Tartan noir' thriller ATLANTIC IN OUR BONES, which I'm currently putting through what hopefully will be a final revision. If you want to hear me READ this chapter in audiobook form, that's on Soundcloud HERE: https://soundcloud.com/user-752957699/atlantic-in-our-bones-chapter-two

(My other MYSTERIES OF GLASGOW novels are available here: GLASGOW, LIKE A STRANGER and here: AZTEC LOVE SONG )



2./ The train drowns its rumble in the distance. Mhairi lingers under the overhang of the tiny station's roof, the slender white building and single platform marooned in rain-swept blackness. Past streamings from the overflowing gutter, she sees, in the valley below, an intermittent flow of car headlights and tail-lights travelling the sole road, hereabouts, between north and south. Dragging her rucksack onto her shoulders, she pulls up the hood of her fleece and descends from the platform, taking the rain and chill gusts full in her face. Her lower belly suffers another twinge, accompanied by a trickle of blood down the inside leg of her jeans.

Beyond the station, a narrow road, coursing with water, descends past a portakabin post office, a tiny school, a fire station and the short single line of houses which passes for a village, the curtains tugged tight. At the foot of the hill, the main road greets her with the spray from a northbound supermarket lorry.

At the road's far side, a small hotel clenches light and warmth within itself, a few chattering backs-of-heads bobbing behind the leaded windows of its bar. She wonders if there isn't some outbuilding where she could bed down. There is a phone box near the door of the bar. It occurs to her that a phone call and a confession would sort her a bed for the night.

But by the time the next car has swished by, awareness of how important it is to keep running has reasserted itself, along with a certainty of there being only one place, one person, she can run towards. Squelching onto the grass verge at the near side of the road, she turns into the glare of the next vehicle hurtling southward.

As it races by, she wonders if she should stick out her thumb. Instead, she stares at the dark shapes behind each oncoming set of headlights, urging one of them, sooner or later, to understand what it is like to be a lost object in a callous world.

Her backward steps have carried her to the far end of the verge before a car swerves close, passenger door swinging wide.

*********************************************************************

"Some’dy waiting for you in Glasgow?"

Facing Mhairi across the table in the roadside cafe, the man with the vague smudge of moustache licks his middle finger, using it to mop doughnut crumbs from his plate.

"Mm," she nods, taking another slurp of milkshake.

"What? Family?" he asks, smiling that same smile he's been shoving her way since picking her up at Bridge of Orchy.

She gives a sidelong shrug. "Yeah."

She wishes they could have kept on going, whooshing through the dark in his snug, sleek car. Mightn't they have been as far south as Loch Lomond, by now?

"They do know you're coming?" he asks, licking the crumbs from his finger. He has told her he sells cars, that he's got his own showroom in Glasgow and is on his way back from a trade show in Fort William, clearly assuming she's impressed.

She nods. He pats his hand on top of hers.

"There was me taking you for a little girl lost," he says. 'Aitch', he's asked her to call him.

She tries to slide her hand clear. He takes firmer hold.

"Can we... can we maybe get going?" she suggests.

"That highland lilt," he grins, "that bonnie red hair. The boys are gonna fall over themselves in the Big G."

She wrenches her hand free. "Can we? Go?"

"Sure," he agrees, knocking back a last mouthful of coffee. Cappuccino foam clings to his moustache.

They head outside to the gravel car park, which is almost empty of vehicles at this hour. The rain has dwindled to a drizzle.

“Ooh...!” says Aitch, frowning and doubling up as he opens the door of the driving seat.

“You okay?” asks Mhairi.

“What? Oh... yeah, sweetheart. Oof. Just the usual.”

“Usual?”

“My digestion… the Rennies shareholders must be cock-a-hoop every time I clock a doughnut. Ulcers! Side effect’ah being a successful entrepreneur!”

“Is there...” Mhairi begins warily, “...anything I can... do...?”

He straightens up, shows a plucky smile.

“You, pet? Well, short of you having a jumbo bottle of Pepto-Bismol on you, you could spare me a wee five minutes for a lie down before we move on.” Reaching inside his souped-up little number, he pushes flat the back of the driving seat. 

“Oof...how could I have missed the whiskers on yon doughnut? – Don’t worry, pet, you don’t have to stand out there in the rain. Here, look - !” He pushes down the back of the passenger seat. “You can have a wee lie down too. Bet you could do wi’ one!”

“Uh no…” says Mhairi, stepping back, “…not really….”

“Well, the café there’s shutting up, so where you gonna hang around, catchin' the rain, while my belly’s settlin’? Still umpteen miles o’highland between us and Glasgow. Go on, doll, climb in.”

"No... listen..." Mhairi responds, scanning the unpopulated distance between herself and the cafe and the road beyond, "...I’m just gonna...."

"What?" asks Aitch, grinning. "Catch the bus? What bus? C'mon, I’m talkin' about an innocent lie down. We can play at being Babes In The Wood, eh?"

"No..." Mhairi draws back further, "...no way."

Aitch steps after her, gastric agonies dispelled.

"You don't want to snub me entirely, I’m sure? Wind up stranded here? It's a cold world if you don't make the most of a friendly hand."

He reaches towards her. She turns, takes the first step of a sprinting away. He catches her rucksack, dragging her back, pulling the pack down the single arm onto which she has its strap looped. She turns, tries to tug it back. He pulls her closer, the pack sandwiched between them.

"Hey..." he says, "...what's the panic? Even a sweet wee teuchter cannae be entirely naïve about a fellah's assumptions when a lassie hops in his motor, middle of the night."

She pulls harder on the pack. He tugs it his way.

"What you got in here?" he sneers. "The crown jewels? Some frilly knicks tae fire my fantasies? Or…"

He stops, lifting one hand from the pack, studying its palm in the meagre light. Something drips on his shoe. Looking up, he glimpses too late the metallic flash. The sound of the flesh around his eyes shearing wide registers ahead of the pain.

He supposes the eyes themselves have been scythed out, hot black agony searing his skull, sending him tumbling through the open car door at his back. The rear of his head bumps the door-frame, his backside bouncing on, then sliding from, the edge of the driving seat, clunking onto the metal edge below.

Tears scald a pale shape into his darkness, the shape of the girl staring down at him, all white face and red hair. She grabs the rucksack, running off. For a moment, he watches her dissolve into the drizzle. Then, pain biting deeper across his face, blood coursing hot into his mouth and bubbling up his nostrils, he gropes into the driving seat, anger jostling ahead of agony.

Mhairi, running, hears the rev of his engine, the slice of his wheels across the car park's gravel and puddles. The cold heat of his headlights is upon her back, throwing her shadow before her, the vehicle’s heat and oily stink sniffing at her rear. She glances over her shoulder.

Metal, hard and hot and slicked with rain, thumps into her. But even as she is thrown across it and cast to the ground, she realises this car came from another direction.

The next second or two is a chaos of engine snorts, wheel screeches and gravelly rattlings. Her reeling vision settles on Aitch's car, much further away than she had thought. It stands at a skewed halt, exhaust fumes thickening the red glow of its tail lights. It is another set of headlights that shines across the puddles in front of her. Somewhere to the rear of that glare she catches the sound of a door opening, of feet splashing her way. Aitch's car screeches out onto the road. Mhairi feels hands about her shoulders.

"You okay?" someone asks: a man's voice, Glaswegian, gentle and slightly gruff. "That bastard almost killed you."