Two Plays by John Knowles, the Garage

John Knowles presents two of his monologues,‘Caliban’s Codex’ and ‘Toby Belch is Unwell

John Knowles presents two of his monologues at the Garage, Mercatoria St Leonards on Sea (through the Horse and Groom public house) on Friday 31st August. At the end of the evening there will also be a Q&A with both actors and the writer.

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19.30 ‘Caliban’s Codex’ a monologue developed with Emily Carding of Brite Theatre and written by John Knowles.

The Tempest is a play by Shakespeare which deals with magic and betrayal. Set on an island somewhere near Italy, where Prospero – the one-time Duke of Milan – and his daughter, Miranda, have been exiled. When they arrive on the island they find Caliban, a feral creature abandoned on this island full of sounds by mankind (in the belly of his now dead witch mother Sycorax) and Ariel, a spirit of light, (who is freed by Prospero from imprisonment in the knotty resin of a pine tree). At first Prospero is a benign presence, freeing Ariel and treating Caliban with kindness. In return Ariel becomes a de facto servant and Caliban shares his knowledge of the island. However, the relationships become one of power, with Prospero gradually abusing his magic to control Ariel and Caliban. Caliban tries to rape Miranda and Ariel finds himself trapped in a relationship with Prospero which is more one of slave than willing servant. Eventually rescued from the island, Prospero and Miranda leave for Naples, and Ariel is at last free. However, it is unclear in Shakespeare’s story what the future for Caliban will be.

This monologue imagines Caliban after twelve years of abandonment. Piecing together the story of the past, and weaving together the elemental spirit contained in the island itself with the magic left in the burnt remains of Prospero’s books, Caliban creates one last spell, which will save the island from mankind. The monologue uses iambic pentameter as a starting place for its structure, but creates a language of its own.

Running time approx. 40 min.

About Emily Carding

In 2015 Emily graduated with an MFA in Staging Shakespeare from the University of Exeter which included two residencies at Shakespeare’s Globe. Since then she has been touring with Richard III (A One Woman Show) which has been winning rave reviews and awards internationally. Emily recently created a new one-woman interactive adaptation of Hamlet with Brite Theatre and Hamlet (an Experience), previews at the Brighton and Prague Fringe Festivals before a full run at Edinburgh Fringe. She has also written and directed and performed a Sci-Fi storytelling show inspired by Frankenstein in partnership with the Science Museum, London and recently received five star reviews for her performance in Kafka’s Apparatus.

21.00 Toby Belch is Unwell

Toby Belch is unwell. The years of drinking, late nights and debauchery have taken their toll and now he faces his end with the knowledge that he is seen as a buffoon, a drunken sot and a bully.

Toby Belch appears in Shakespeare’s comedy ‘Twelfth Night’; a louche, drunk with an ambiguous mix of high spirits and low cunning, who pushes the boundaries of acceptable behaviour but remains a force for vitality, noise and good cheer. In the play, Toby Belch – whilst sponging off his so-called good friend Andrew Aguecheek – becomes embroiled in a plan to see his Niece’s steward, Malvolio (a protestant work-ethic of a man, who has ambitions beyond his station) made a fool of, and, in the end, roundly abused. Although the downfall is instigated by Maria (his niece’s chambermaid and Toby’s lover) it is Toby Belch we most associate with the destruction of a man’s reputation and livelihood, and it is he who carries the guilt. But who is Toby Belch and does playing the actor for years reflect upon the actor? What is it like to always play the second story in a Shakespeare play, to be the comic turn, the buffoon, when, deep down you still harbour ambitions to be… someone?

He could have been Hamlet, he could have been Macbeth… Is this his epitaph?

​Toby Belch is Unwell is written by John Knowles and is performed by veteran TV, screen and stage actor Sidney Kean.

Running time approx. 70 min.

About Sidney Kean

Sidney’s career has spanned over four and a half decades and has included extensive work in the theatre, cinema, television and radio. Naturally, he is equally at home in all these different fields. He is especially gifted at picking up accents and dialects from around this country and, indeed, the rest of the world, and making them sound natural and native.

It was in the Reps and National Tours that he learnt the art of “deliberately staying there, watching and listening to other performers”. It is often said that the best Actors are the ones that listen… Sidney is a past master at this art.

He has superb comic timing as well as magnetic stage presence. He is also a breeze to work with!

Ticket prices

FREE for participants in the Scriptwriting Workshop (see 1 September)

All others: £10

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