Aleister Crowley was voted one of the top one hundred most influential men of the twentieth century yet this is the first time that anyone has dramatised his life in a stage performance. He is an enigmatic individual riddled with contradictions, he displayed an intense spirituality yet revelled in drug fuelled hedonism, he was a fundamentalist Christian in his childhood yet in later years he had a passion for the occult and journeyed to the dark side. Finding the real Crowley is a challenge and few have dared to portray him. The play is performed by myself, John Burns, in a production supported by the Lowry.
2. Fascinating characterisation
The play charts the rise and fall of Crowley in an intense drama that, in a little under an hour, visits the slopes of Kanchenjunga, the home of the Pharaohs and Crowley’s self styled abbey in Sicily as his life spirals out of control. At the Lowry Nigel Fairs, was able to bring his enormous experience as a writer and director to the production, and to help me bring into sharp relief the many facets of Crowley’s character.
Despite its undoubtedly dark themes there was a great streak of mischief making in Crowley and he enjoyed nothing more than debunking the Victorian establishment. The play reflects this with moments of comedy interspersed amongst the more serious moments of Crowley’s life.
4. Thought- provoking
Crowely tossed the hypocrisy of Victorian society aside and explored many religions and philosophies in an uncompromising search for the truth. His drug taking and meditations took him to the edge of sanity and perhaps beyond. His rejection of the Christian faith of his childhood was total or did never find anything that could quite replace it? As a writer and performer I ask this and many other questions in a play that is controversial amongst devotees of The Beast.
5. Close and personal
The piece has been worked "in development with The Lowry", which aims to support new and emerging artists. The Lowry's Studio Theatre is ideal for A Passion for Evil as it will allow me to bring Crowley close to the audience in an intimate portrayal of one of the twentieth century’s most controversial figures.
A Passion For Evil is at the Lowry from 29 - 30 October.