Official website for Mark C. Hewitt & Blank Productions

Geneva Convention
Blank Productions 2024

Written and directed by Mark C. Hewitt
with music by Thomas Strønen

Technical design: Paul Phillips
Video sequences: Matt Parsons
Cast: Marta Carvalho
(Portugal) Leann O'Kasi (Irish/Nigerian UK) Melissa Sirol (France) Maria Ziołkowska (Poland)

An experimental theatre work that takes for its architectural structure the four Geneva Conventions: Wounded & Sick / Maritime / Prisoners of War / Civilians. With no characters or conventional narrative plot, the production focuses instead on exploring the choral use of voices, playing with elements of chance, structured chaos and uncertainty.

It is a highly visual, ritualistic work, performed by an international cast. Much of the action revolves around a central cage-like structure (loosely reminiscent of the 'cages' surrounding figures in the paintings of Francis Bacon), in the centre of which is
a scaled-down replica of the Broken Chair, a large sculpture by Daniel Berset that sits in the Place des Nations, opposite the United Nations HQ in Geneva, a protest against the use of armed violence on civilians.

Music for the production was composed by Norwegian percussionist
Thomas Strønen and recorded by his ensemble Time Is A Blind Guide. The music was commissioned with support from Arts Council Norway and the Norwegian Composers Fund. The different phases of the writing and development of the play were also supported by Arts Council England.

The work is due to be receive its full premiere at Brighton Fringe Festival, May 2024, where it is selected as part of the Brighton Fringe 'Made in Sussex' showcase.

See the 2024 video trailer »

R&D photos by Teresa Martins, 2023


Audience Feedback from work in progress rehearsed readings

• "An exceptional and ambitious sharing, which made me forget I was in a rehearsed reading. Felt in good hands even before the start due to a set which made a promise that the performance delivered. Terrific layering of voices interweaving the formal text of the Convention with verbatim as well as overlaying different languages. This made for a sense of urgency and unease as well as moments of comedy that felt effortless. Wonderfully confident performances were supported by the music and the holding of silence and stillness. Wonderful 'trick' turned using the set for the video section, which was hugely effective."
• “BRILLIANT. Thought-provoking, raw, provocative, multi-dimensional; use of music, space, silence … the brave lack of ‘closure’ or conventional narrative."
• "This had a dreamlike quality and, in some ways, I feel it will have most effect tonight when I sleep. I wondered if the key word is ‘convention’, which linked the desire to create outside theatrical ‘convention’ – no plot, no characters - and the subject matter, the Geneva ‘Convention’. Feel very privileged to have witnessed these first tender explorations"
• "Loved the performance, the set and how it changed, likewise the music and the thought-provoking ideas expressed.”
• "A really powerful provocative piece.”
• "Very intense; the four different voices from different spaces in the room gave a sharp touch. Getting to know it was random (at the end, in the Q&A) was a great surprise.”
• "Really captivating experimental play. Liked the topic and the random aspect, which should be made more prominent. Bring it to the Fringe. Thanks again."
• "I liked the element of chaos and improvisation, it really added another layer to the performance …"
• "It's a really interesting piece, with a weird mix of heft and insubstantiality."

Set design by Paul Phillips in blackout mode. Photo by Melissa Sirol.

“The existence of terror in society (whether in the form of torture, arbitrary imprisonment, kidnapping or disappearances) has harmful effects which are not limited to the potential or actual victims. Rather it functions much like a fragmentation bomb, damaging or at least threatening everything in the surrounding area.” (Marcelo Vinar, from the book 'Civilization and Torture')