JARMAN (All This Maddening Beauty)
by John Moletress
Written by Caridad Svich
4th November, 2014
‘Jarman (All This Maddening Beauty)’ starts with a skilful
piece of physical theatre by actor John Moletress. Dressed in high heels
and a collar ruff, all in white , as the script declares, a “queer
He struts awkwardly with dramatic tics of the body. There are a few examples
of this physical abstraction by the actor, it is skilful and works well
to punctuate the spoken text and slips in time, voice and character.
This is a one act, one man play that tells the times and story of film-maker
John Moletress begins as a young man who has an epiphany of his physical
and spiritual senses after watching Jarman’s film ‘Sebastian’.
Scenes from the film are projected upstage whilst the actor describes
how it profoundly affected his sensibilities.
Attributes such as “transgressive beauty” and “this
boy liked to dare, he spent his life daring” are claimed for Derek
After this initial 15 minutes, the play did not show any great poetic
heart, it did not settle on what it wanted to show about Jarman and his
life and work, and tried to tell and fit in a lot about everything chronologically.
I wanted to hear more about Derek Jarman’s influence on the character,
more questioning of it, and not the actor’s loud praise and mimicking.
I am not sure why the actor had to use a hand held microphone to deliver
his lines when he could have just said them, and he was mostly poorly
illuminated and confined to centre stage when his skill was best downstage
addressing the audience close up in spotlight.
The play is a reminder of Jarman’s unique cinematic ability and