Mark Barkley has reached an exciting new stage in promoting his writings. For the past twenty years, it has been his great pleasure to have created work that has been appreciated by various audiences throughout Brisbane, QLD and online.
All of the plays included here have enjoyed a successful theatrical staging or reading within Australia. (“The Captains and The Kings” – 1995, “Goodbye Melaleuca” – 1996, “Sylvia Terry” – 1998 and “a Kind of Belgium” – 2000) Two of the plays featured here have been short listed in the George Landen Dann award, which is Queensland’s premium award for excellence in playwriting. (“The Captains and The Kings” – 1992 and “Goodbye Melaleuca” – 1995).
He has also created the short film “Spades” as writer/director which was short listed in the top ten films of the third annual What’s On Short Cut Film Fest and screened in 2001 at the Brisbane Powerhouse.
It was also such a pleasure for him in 2007 to rewrite and update his book “The Big Sugar Election” which was originally completed in 1990.
Currently he is offering his science fiction adventure novel “When The Stone Shepherds Awaken” completed in 2015 which is the first book in his series, the Sabienn Feel Collection.
Keep an eye out for more to come.
When The Stone Shepherds Awaken: Book One in the Sabienn Feel Collection.
He was a freak, he thought, catching the lemon whiff of the suicide pill in his hand. Why had he been abandoned? On a distant planet far off into the future, there is a human colony twice removed from Earth with a country preparing for war. Sabienn Feel is a military cadet being fast-tracked for promotion as their enigmatic head of state, The Great Leader, readies his armies for battle. Sabienn is a lying, thieving cheat but he is earmarked for greatness, despite his erratic attempts to shoot himself in the foot. His world comes crashing down when one day he grows wings. With the shock of the hideous on him, he now finds people viewing his once perfect body as something freakish. But not only that; people are now actively trying to kill him. He also finds out that not only him but thousands of men his age have grown wings around the world. With his wings comes an intuitive ability to pick up an object and see a history of someone who held it. This ability has not gone unnoticed by higher powers within the realm.
But what is it that The Great Leader wants of him? What is it that he has to do to bring himself back into the love of this man he worships? Why does his survival lie with taking the life of a man whose guts he hates but he still questions it? And after all is done, will The Great Leader save him?
The Big Sugar Election: “Let’s not get upset. Let’s get even.”
“It looks like it’s official. I think the Chief’s finished.” In the near future, within the changing face of North Queensland, new cities have been formed. Callard City lies in this opulent “Big Sugar” region. Three of the Councillors of the Callard City Council, Mayor Arthur Pauley, Councillors Milton Pauley and Lance Tapp, seek the removal of a chief public servant, John Hennessy. Hennessy has crossed swords with the politicians out of his loyalty to his charges, Kevin Fitch, James McLaren, and Vince Tomasi.
To repay this loyalty, Kevin, James and Vince, three lowly public servants, band together to save their Chief’s job. A Council election is about to occur. If the corrupt Councillors win, their boss is gone. So what action is required? “Gentlemen. Let’s not get upset. Let’s get even.”
The Captains and The Kings: A Play in Two Acts
“If only beauty were a weapon, then people would take it more seriously.” How well do we really know our families? How long will we leave things unsaid that should be aired? It was a time of change. The time; 1968. The place; the O’Neill’s Guest House in Kempsey, New South Wales. The patriarch of the family, David is suffering from a terminal illness. His wife Caitlin has organized a family gathering for what will be their final Father’s day together. While Caitlin faces an unsure future, David is busy dealing with the ghosts of his past. For years he has distanced his daughters and now he has the chance to gain redemption.
“The Captains and The Kings” was shortlisted in the 1992 inaugural George Landen Dann Award. Its world premiere was presented by the Centenary Theatre Group Inc. in association with The Edge Theatre Company at Chelmer Hall, Brisbane, on 11 November, 1995.
Sylvia Terry: A Play in Three Acts
“His head was beaten on the side of a toilet. And I would shake the man’s hand who gripped the filth. ‘Cause there’s more justice in that man’s hand, than all the court rooms of the country.” Sylvia and her mother Heather’s world is upended with her brother Neil’s involvement in a particularly heinous crime. The severe public reaction and disgust is personified by Ruth, the next door neighbour. Insights are drawn into Heather’s life as a pillar of the community by Sarah, an attending police officer, to show that even respected innocent bystanders can be burnt by the fire of public scandal. “Sylvia Terry” enjoyed an enthusiastic reading within the 1998 Australian National Playwrights Conference in Canberra.
Goodbye Melaleuca: A Play in One Act
Do we “own” our children? Are they required to walk through the world to sing your praises? Artist Eric Corey has taken back a valuable painting that he once gave to his niece Jenny and her husband Alan. A line has been crossed that Eric cannot live with. A confrontation over custody of a work of art raises questions of the value of artistic integrity and explores “ownership” of those things we create. “Goodbye Melaleuca” was shortlisted in the 1995 George Landen Dann Award. It was presented at Spotlight Theatre Company, Benowa, on June 7th, 1996.
A Kind of Belgium: A Play in Three Acts
“I feel like a kind of Belgium, y’ know. Always invaded. They’ve set up their trenches and wires and they take it in turns to rush over the top and try and put a flag in me. I’m getting loved to exhaustion.” Would you sit on a fence and watch an invasion take place? Right on your doorstep? When both the invaded and the invader were close to you? Ray Rance (a real estate agent), Leo Crowshaw (a restaurant proprietor) and Lynne Fleming (a hair salon operator) work in a shopping precinct that’s been hit hard by financial downturn but is set to enjoy a recovery as a boutique tourist area. A property acquisition is about to take place. Jodie Crowshaw, Leo’s daughter, stumbles on to hidden dealings and must confront family and friends to pursue what she believes is just and right.
The story is seen through the eyes of Kane Boon, a street spirit, who was killed in the act of a robbery. His spirit is tied to a place which is about to be besieged and in defence of this space, he seeks to redeem his family name. “A Kind Of Belgium” was first presented by La Boite Theatre Inc in association with their Springboards 2000 program at La Boite Theatre, Hale Street, Brisbane, on 17 July, 2000.
Spades: A Short Film
Stuart and Claire have been married three years and in Claire’s eyes life is boring. She is a solicitor’s secretary who prides herself on being able to call a “spade a spade”, to tell the truth without embellishment.
In her eyes, Stuart shows more enthusiasm for golf than events that matter in their relationship. There is one day of the year where the couple compete for each other’s affections by attempting to humiliate the other.
The events of this short film open with Claire’s message on the refrigerator “TOMORROW IS ..”. This is the day before that day. ”Spades” was filmed in Brisbane on 2nd & 3rd December, 2000, with the second day riding up and down the Brisbane River in a hired ferry.
It was short-listed in the top ten films presented for the third annual Courier Mail What’s On Short Cut Film Fest. It was screened at the Brisbane Powerhouse, Newfarm, with all other finalists on February 2nd, 2001.