Originally adapted from the short story by Gogol, Diary Of A Madman chronicles the life of Poprishchin, a delusional and low-ranking Russian civil servant whose gradual decline into madness is both absurdly funny and heartbreakingly tragic. This highly successful stage production, created by Paul Morel and John Horwood (for our previous Company The Splinter Group), toured extensively in the UK, had sold-out runs in London and Edinburgh, and was invited to present a one-off performance at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in aid of MIND.
We have long been wanting to create a film version of this extraordinary story. Those of you who follow our occasional Facebook posts and blog will know that we were hard at work for most of March creating our wonderful little set, and in early April, we finally got down to shooting it.
The piece is made up of 20 diary entries, each one shot in a continuous take and lasting between 40 seconds and 6 minutes. An incredible challenge, not just for Paul to perform, but also for our cameraman (Teo Ormond-Skeaping) to shoot, wearing a steadycam harness and working with (almost) completely natural light (paraffin lamps and candles – extremely ‘authentic’ including the appalling smell).
We are thrilled with the way it’s turned out and will be submitting it to festivals and organising screenings of the finished piece later in the year. BUT, in the meantime we felt the diary structure lent itself to the ’webisode’ format and decided it would be great to release it as a series. Mental Health Awareness Week seemed like a very appropriate week in which to do it.
So, starting today with October 3rd… we will be releasing one diary entry a day for the next 19 days….
We really hope you will watch each one as we release it and share with anyone you think may enjoy this wonderfully absurdist but ultimately heartbreaking tale of one man’s descent into madness and the inhumane treatment he receives…
Diary of A Madman episode 1