Actor and writer Will Adamsdale tells us about taking his Perrier Award-winning one-man show, Jackson’s Way, on a tour of 26 London venues…
My character in Jackson’s Way, the American life coach Chris John Jackson, is all about embracing futility: finding very futile things to do and then doing them. He talks about moving litter around cities, for example, but doing it with such intensity that it’s just too much to take. Taking something that far is really admirable in his opinion.
Jackson has come up over the years since I did it in Edinburgh: ideas about turning it into another show or another medium but those attempts were all aborted in the end. But then my producer suggested we could do a tour of London and that struck me as an interesting idea because it’s very in character for Jackson. It’s the sort of thing he would applaud, because it’s a really bold idea. Essentially, though, it’s absurd – when you actually look at the details, it doesn’t really make sense.
Jackson would think, “This is great because I can get to more people if I move around the city”. Then he realises that, actually, the reason that it’s best to stay in one place and get audiences to come to you is that in cities it’s quite difficult to get information around. In effect what he’ll probably be doing – and what I’ll probably be doing, therefore – is chasing people around without anyone ever really knowing where I am. There are two sides to Jackson: one is a megalomaniac attention seeker who wants to get as many people in the room as possible; and the other is this weird, loner guy doing bizarre things. His position is untenable basically, but that’s what’s interesting.
I’ve done Jackson’s Way on tour around the country in the past, but it’s probably going to feel weird just doing it at different venues in London. I was keen for the venues to be far apart geographically, but also to be different sorts of places. I thought that would look interesting on a flyer and I think it does.
The mainstays are fringe theatres, then there’s the odd more ritzy theatre. What I was hoping for was a few venues that were more found spaces, or not really spaces at all. There’s one under the West Way flyover and one in this funny space under Waterloo and I thought hopefully the tour would gain some type of momentum and people would want to come and see the show in different spaces.
The one under the West Way is going to be funny whatever happens, because probably only five people will show up and it’ll be really cold. But in Jackson’s head it’s going to be some kind of massive Woodstock-type event.
I like the fact that it’s in January too, because in a way it’s at the worst time; at this time of year, people don’t really want to entertain weird ideas about what they’re going to be doing. But that’s very Jackson again, just doing it all slightly wrong. This tour stands or falls on it being something that people like the idea of, so hopefully it’ll get some interest.
Will Adamsdale was talking to Jo Caird.
Jackson’s Way is playing at venues across London until 30 January. Book tickets.