BeMoreMartyn. The Live Theatre. 6.6.19

The main reason my favourite ‘pop’ autobiography (John Lydon’s ‘No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs’) works so well is, surprisingly, because it’s only half written by the main subject.  Not content in ‘just’ telling his own story, the brilliance of ‘No Irish’ is Lydon’s invitation to others to write about their version of the events being referred to.  Often contradictory, and seldom showing Lydon as the ‘hero’ of the story, ‘No Irish’ gives a full rounded, multi-dimensional, view of the former Sex Pistol. 

‘No Irish’ is no self-congratulatory lap of honour for Lydon.  It’s his reality.  A reality made much more impactful because it is written by others and therefore avoids the easy route.

How people talk about others when they are not there often gives us the truest insight into who the individual really is.  Taking away our own propensity to shy away from personal triumphs, or to disguise our lows with an Instagram lens, it’s our friends who often come to define us.  They define us in the words they use when they talk about us when we are not there, and they define us by keeping our memories alive after we have gone.

#BeMoreMartyn is, ultimately, an uplifting tale of friendship.  It’s a tale of eight friends preserving the life of a man, they believed, was a genuine hero and a man who’s ability to live life to the fullest remains as an inspiration worth being held up to role-model. 

Written through ‘Verbatim theatre’ the brilliance of #BeMoreMartyn is, like ‘No Irish’, it’s architecture in using the words of others to define the main character; in this case, Martyn Hett, a victim of the 2017 Manchester Arena attack.  And whilst the story itself is compelling, ultimately, it’s the friend’s description of Martyn, and their presentation of memories, which are the most impactful element of the show; nudging us to examine Martyn’s life through multiple perspectives but foremostly empathising at the loss of a friend, and smiling at the fondness in how a person is remembered by those still here.   

#BeMoreMartyn reminds us that we are not simply the person we believe we are.  We are also the person others see us as.

Edited version

The main reason my favourite autobiography (John Lydon’s ‘No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs’) works so well is, surprisingly, because it’s only half written by the main subject.  Not content in telling his own story, ‘No…’ sees Lydon invite others to write about their version of events.  Often contradictory, and seldom showing Lydon as the ‘hero’, ‘No Irish’ gives a full rounded, multi-dimensional, view of the former Sex Pistol

How people talk about others when they are not there gives us the truest insight into who the individual really is.  Taking away our propensity to shy away from personal triumphs, or disguise our lows, it’s our friends who often come to define us.  They define us in how they talk about us when we are not there, and they define us by keeping our memories alive after we have gone.

#BeMoreMartyn is, ultimately, a tale of eight friends preserving the life of a man, they believed, was an inspiration.

Written through ‘Verbatim theatre’ #BeMoreMartyn works, like ‘No Irish’, through its architecture in using the words of others to define the main character; in this case, Martyn Hett, a victim of the 2017 Manchester Arena attack.  And whilst the story itself is compelling, it’s the friend’s description of Martyn, and their presentation of his memories, which are the most impactful element of the show; nudging us to examine Martyn’s life through multiple perspectives and smiling at the fondness in how a person is remembered by those still here.   

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