With the special fundraising performance of Mark Farrelly’s The Silence of Snow: The Life of Patrick Hamilton now sold out at Greenwich Theatre on 21 February, the venue have announced an extra performance on 20 February – but with the studio capacity strictly limited they are already forecasting a second sell-out.
A powerful and provocative reminder of the necessity to become your own best friend in life.
Farrelly wrote the play, in which he also stars, in 2012. “It’s one of the truest tests of an actor, to engage an audience for over an hour with no one else to help you. It can be an extremely powerful form of communication and create a very direct catharsis,” he said.
“Reading Patrick Hamilton by chance I was struck by how his life could make a very powerful drama. Obviously Rope is a classic, but don’t neglect his exceptionally moving novels like the Twenty Thousand Streets Under The Sky trilogy set in a London pub in the 1930s or Hangover Square, a stunning observation of obsession.”
The play’s debut was in Edinburgh in 2014. “I produced the play myself and think more actors should do this – the performer is always going to be the most passionate salesperson. I’ve never stopped trying to get it programmed in venues, and eventually people start requesting you to come and perform it.”
The show offered Farrelly a second opportunity to work with director Linda Marlowe after the duo worked together on Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope. “Linda is something of a legend in this profession,” said Farrelly, “and I have huge respect for her. I chose her because her own solo work is fantastic.”
The play is being presented at Greenwich Theatre in support of mental health charity MIND and the Kairos Community Trust, a homelessness charity. “I dedicated the play to my friend, Tim Welling, who was the first person to read it and was hugely encouraging. He took his life a few weeks later and it was a horrendous loss”, Farrelly explained. “The dedication is a way of keeping his memory alive, reminding me that we’re all so much more fragile than we may appear. Patrick, I think, has loads to teach us still. His inability to come to terms with himself led to his death from alcoholism in his fifties and his story remains a powerful and provocative reminder of the necessity to become your own best friend in life.”