MARK JACKSON is English Theatre Berlin´s Fall 2013 Playwright In Residence.

He will direct a staged reading of his play Salomania.

In 1895, Maud Durrant moved from San Francisco to Berlin, Germany, to study music. Shortly after, her brother killed two girls in the belfry of a church. Their mother told Maud to stay in Europe and change her name, lest the scandal ruin her career. Now going by Maud Allan, she became a major celebrity in Great Britain as a dancer and society personality. In 1918, in the weariest depths of WWI, she was accused by a British MP, Noel Pemberton-Billing, of being a lesbian, sadist, and German sympathizer as evidenced by her having played the title role in a private production of Oscar Wilde’s Salome.

Against the advice of friends in high places, Maud sued Billing for libel. He then used the case as a platform to promote a conspiracy theory involving a secret German book listing the names of 47,000 traitors to England, all held under the thumb of homosexual German agents. While soldiers continued to fight and die in the mud of France, people back home read the latest on the salacious events of the trial. Salomania uses this story as the basis to ask questions about how people deal with anxiety in times of incredible change. How can a society allow itself to be both hysterical and “civilized” at the same time, and expect to function either well, morally, or respectably?

Mark Jackson is a playwright, director, and performer based in San Francisco, USA. He was Artistic Director of Art Street Theatre from 1995 to 2004, during which time he wrote, directed and performed in numerous productions for the company. Mark’s work in the San Francisco area has also been seen at Aurora Theatre Company, Encore Theatre Company, EXIT Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Potrzebie Dance Project, San Francisco International Arts Festival, Shotgun Players, and Z Space, among others. Nationally at The Catamounts (Denver) and The Studio Theatre (Washington D.C.). Internationally at Arts International Festival IV (Japan), Edinburgh Festival Fringe (UK), and Deutsches Theater Berlin (Germany). Mark has been a resident playwright of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, where he was awarded the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Honorary Fellowship, and received a 2005 Bundeskanzler-Stipendium of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Mark has been a company member of The Shotgun Players since 2010.

Staged Reading
  • Wed, October 30 | 8pmMain Stage

Written and directed by Mark Jackson

With Lara Babalola, Catherine Duquette, Timothy Hopfner, Frederick Johntz, John Keogh, Clayton Nemrow and Robert Rodgers

Originally commissioned and produced by Aurora Theatre Company, Berkeley, USA.

World premiere on June 21, 2012.