Mark Arends has Tea With Wilma chatting about DON’T SLEEP THERE ARE SNAKES at the Park Theatre


For those who may not be familiar with your work, can you give me a little run down of some of your career highlights so far?
To be honest, in this industry, pretty much every job feels like a highlight as work can be so difficult to come by… However, I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in some really exciting projects and to play a variety of interesting roles. I’ve worked with Katie Mitchell on a number of occasions (I love Katie’s work and each time stands out as a highlight) but I very much enjoyed playing The Beast in her production of Beauty And The Beast at the National Theatre, I originated the role of Winston Smith in the Headlong/Almeida production of 1984, and I recently played Proteus in Simon Godwin’s production of The Two Gentlemen Of Verona at the RSC. Alongside this, a few years ago, I established my own theatre company (Make Mend and Do) and have created 2 shows for young people and grown ups (Something Very Far Away and At The End of Everything Else) both of which started life at the Unicorn Theatre before being revived and toured Nationally and Internationally.

You are about to star in Don’t Sleep There Are Snakes at the Park Theatre. What is the show about and what attracted you to it?
It’s based on a true story about a Christian missionary who travels to the Amazon with the intention of converting a remote tribe to Christianity. However, in living with them and learning about their language and culture he ends up questioning his own beliefs and being converted himself. It discusses big ideas such as life, language, our belief systems and what it means to be human. The script was a huge draw, it’s funny, clever and quite moving. I’ve also been a fan of Simple 8 for some time. Their shows are so energetic, vibrant and imaginative. I was delighted to be given the opportunity to work with them.

The show tells the true story of a man who ended up questioning everything he thought he knew about his life, his faith and what it means to be human. Has rehearsing for this show made you question your own beliefs and what is the biggest thing that has changed for you?
I guess it’s not unusual for the way you think or feel to alter slightly according to the character you’re playing, but we’re a little early in the process for me to have noticed any fundamental change to belief system… If I notice anything, I’ll get back to you.

There are lots of exciting shows coming to London in 2016. What are you most looking forward to seeing?
I’ve already seen a few of the things I was very much looking forward to… This Will End Badly was an incredible one-man-show at Southwark and I loved Simon McBurney’s Magic Flute at The Colleseum, I really wanted to see The Encounter at The Barbican, but tickets are proving hard to come by…. Other than that, I’m very much looking forward to Ophelias Zimmer at the Royal Court.

If you could be the opposite sex for the day, what theatre role would you love to have a go at playing?
Oooh. Good question… I love Laura in The Glass Menagerie. Perhaps Medea in a few years time or if I was a bit younger Tomisina in Arcadia.

Can you complete this sentence. People should come and see Don’t Sleep There Are Snakes at the Park Theatre because ___________________.
It’s going to be fun, fast and vibrant. We tell Dan’s story in 80 minutes, creating worlds out of nothing (only a bed-sheet, a few chairs and a length of rope). Oh!.. and tickets are reasonably priced too- £15 for the first week if you quote SIMPLE8 when you book!… It’s a mate’s rates deal, but I’m sure they won’t mind me sharing it with you Wilma.

Thanks for having Tea With Wilma

Don’t Sleep There Are Snakes plays at the Park Theatre 22 March – 23 April 2016