“An attempt at success that risks losing or ruining everything”
“With complete abandon and recklessness”
Although initially seen as therapeutic Jens’ obsession with his inventions start to take a toll on his personal life, as he becomes more and more divorced from reality. Through the lens of this surrealist comedy inspired by the 1996 cult documentary Project Grizzly, Neck or Nothing highlights the lack of support available for men.
Neck Or Nothing premiered at the Pleasance theatre as part of their ‘You Will Know Their Names’ Season from April 23rd - 4th May 2019, followed by a week run at the Greenwich Theatre from May 7th - 11th 2019. It was nominated for an Off West End Award for Best Company Ensemble.
The production was generously supported by the Arts Council England, Pleasance, Greenwich and Theatr Clwyd’s TYFU/GROW Programme. In partnership with CALMzone, Fledgling Theatre presented post-show Q&A’s to help further the conversation around men’s mental health issues, including PTSD and depression.
Roles: JENS/ DIANE
Training: The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Theatre includes:Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure(Sh*tfaced Shakespeare, Leicester Square/Edinburgh Fringe/Adelaide Fringe); Henry V, Romeo and Juliet(Antic Disposition, UK tour / Theatre National Nice); Midsummer Nights Dream, Pericles(Glasgow Repetory Company); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth(Young Shakespeare Company); On the Piste(Brockley Jack); Well and Badly Loved (Oval House Theatre).
Roles: MARTHA / RECYCLING MAN / DOCTOR / RADIO DJ 2
Training: Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Previously for Fledgling Theatre: Jericho Creek (Cockpit Theatre) Theatre includes:The Play That Goes Wrong(West End), Burke and Hare(Jermyn Street/ The Watermill), The Sunset Five(Pleasance), Albee Vector(Arcola); Take Angel Home(Theatre503); Hamlet (Park Theatre); Jericho Creek(The Cockpit); Seeing Double(Camden People's Theatre),Pterodactyl(Arts Theatre West End), A Midsummer Night’s Dream(Southbank Centre).
Radio includes: Mind Hackers(BBC Radio 4).
Film and Television include: Love & Thieves(ZDF), Concerning the Close Protection Officer, Perfect State and Little Devil.
Roles: FRANK/DOUGHNUT MAN/RADIO DJ 1/INTERVIEWER
Training:Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Previously for Fledgling Theatre: The Seven Funerals of Charlie Morris(Arcola/Slam Soaps), Jericho Creek (Cockpit Theatre) Theatre includes: Romeo and Juliet(Custom/Practice, UK Tour), Midsummers Night Dream(Middle Temple Hall).
Short Film includes:Siren Song(Eleven Forty-Two Productions)
Co Writers/ Directors, Christopher Neels and Callum Cameron
Set & Costume Design, Sophia Pardon: Sophia Pardon is a set, costume and puppet designer who graduated from the Wimbledon College of Arts MA in Theatre Design in September 2017 with Distinction, with a previous BA in Theatre and Performance Studies from Warwick University. Previous work for Fledgling Theatre: Celebrateat VAULT Festival 2019. Her previous productions as lead designer include: Faustus (Queen Elizabeth Hall), Consensual, Days of Significance (Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts),Top Hat, Once on This Island (Arts Educational) The Comedy of Errors (RSC Dell Space), Bluebird (Katzspace), Her Not Him (Theatre503), A Doll’s House (Theatrical Niche), Merrily We Roll Along (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre), Unicorn(Theatre N16) and Beauty and The Beast(Sutton Coldfield Town Hall).
Video & Lighting Design, Rachel Sampley: Rachel Sampley is a London based lighting designer. Rachel holds an MA in devised theatre from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and a BFA in lighting design from University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA). Previous work for Fledgling Theatre: Celebrateat VAULT Festival 2019. Current designs include: The Deaf and Hearing Ensemble's new adaption of Matilda and the Orange Balloon, The Guild of Misrule's immersive production ofThe Great Gatsby, With a Song In Her Heart(Opera Upclose)
Other recent credits include: Fanatical at the Playground Theatre, Alcatraz(VAULT Festival),Silk Road(Trafalgar Studios 2), Nele Needs a Holiday (Latitude Festival), Scheherazade and 1001 Nights(Sadler's Wells), Roles(V&A with Metta Theatre), and Imogen Heap's Myceliaworld tour. Upcoming work includes: Earshot(Hot Coals Theatre), Fair is Foul (Deaf and Hearing Ensemble)
You can hear Chris and Callum discussing their process working on Neck Or Nothing and its main themes on Episode 13 of the London Theatre Podcast, the Monocle Sunday Brunch Show and Riverside Radio. We also sat down with The Upcoming to discuss the key themes of the show such as Mens Mental Health which can be read here
As part of this production, we will be looking at trauma and how it can manifest into Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). To get a better understanding of the condition and it's treatment we were able to speak to Dr Einar Jenssen, an expert in the field of PTSD who practices at The London Psycotherapy and Trauma Centre. You can listen to the full interview below.
Utilising these resources have given us the opportunity to develop each character with a more in depth psychological understanding of how an untreated early life trauma can manifest itself in later life behaviour.
Dr Jenssen also put us on to the book 'Trauma Is Really Strange' By Steve Haines.