Nearly a year on from the riots that rocked London, a 23-year-old with his own experiences of the events explores the reasons for them and the individuals involved, in a new play at the Orange Tree Theatre.
Archie Maddocks, from north London, has created a series of characters who embody some of the strongest stereotypes involved in the mayhem last summer, in a thought-provoking look at what really happened and why.
Having known people involved in the commotion, his empathy for those involved has allowed him to create characters including The Fear, The Thug, The Sparkle, The Wolf Behind Kind Eyes, The Fight and The Silver Tongue, who all embody the rage, confusion and frustration of the people who rioted and the people who did not.
He says he can understand why people rioted, explaining: “They were fed up with how they were being treated – some just thought all these other people have it, why not me?”
Despite having known people involved, he says: “I was just passing through. I didn’t get involved – I didn’t see the point. It is better that I reach a wider audience through my work.”
The play was born from a response play to the late Vaclav Havel’s, The Conspirators, which featured at the Orange Tree last September, about conflict within the state.
Mr Maddocks performed the monologue he created for the play and dressed as The Thug, frightening one man so much he caused him to have a panic attack.
He says: “I was interested in the political provoking going on – implanting it into this society. People have this notion of it’s just the youth they are out of control.
“I was certain no one would do anything about why it happened and about the people involved.
“Young people do have a voice, but a lot of them don’t know how to use it – which is one of the themes in the play.”
Mr Maddocks was born to actors Don Warrington and Mary Maddox and participated in the Royal Court’s Critical Mass programme, where he created a novel on post-traumatic slavery syndrome aged 17.
He grew up in a nice area, but went to Holland Park School, which, at the time, had a bad reputation. On his first day someone threatened to stab him if he did not hold their ball and on the second day he saw someone get stabbed.
But he says: “I’m glad I went there as it made me realise about all the different people around – made me more wordly I think.”
The play, directed by The Orange Tree’s community, education and literary director, Henry Bell, will feature parts where characters will direct questions to specific members of the audience who looks most like them.
Mr Maddocks says: “The audience – in a way it’s perfect – it’s not the typical audience, but I think it’s good because they’re quite open-minded here.”
Mottled Lines will show at the Orange Tree Theatre, Clarence Street, from Tuesday, July 10, to Saturday, July 14, each night at 7.45pm.
There will also be matinees on July 10 and July 12, from 2.30pm, with post show discussions. There will also be a matinee on July 14, at 3pm.
Tickets are from £9 to £12 and are available from orangetreetheatre.co.uk or 020 8940 3633.