Eric Allison, The Guardian’s prisons correspondent : « The monologue « A man Standing » is a dramatic, highly charged tale ».
« In my time I have read, listened to, or watched, many accounts of penal life, fact and fictional; but not encountered too many that have transported my mind immediately back in a prison cell: Jimmy Boyle’s Sense of Freedom, Papillon, Mumia Abu Jamal’s Jailhouse Lawyers and maybe a handful more spring to mind.
Now there is one more to add to that list, the monologue, A Man Standing by Jean Marc Mahy. It is a short account of prison life, seen through the eyes of a 17 year-old Belgian boy who has fallen into bad company. Serving time for murder in Belgium, he escapes and travels to Luxembourg with two other fugitives. A police officer is killed and they are arrested. In any language, you cannot kill a cop and expect an easy time. Everybody turns against him, his family, his lawyer, even the prison priest.
You would not normally associate Luxembourg with harsh, brutal prison conditions, but as I say, you cannot kill a cop.
The language is dramatic and the picture of his time in solitary confinement is so bleak, you want to turn your eyes away. He is seemingly without hope.
As the title implies, the narrator eventually gains his freedom and redemption. Books and education were his saviours. (Take note Mr book-banning Grayling) His words on victims, especially those blessed people who seek answers and solutions rather than revenge, moved this old lag to moist eyes.
If I have any criticism, it is the account is too short. I wanted to know a lot more about this man and his journey. But for all that, it is a dramatic, highly charged tale, well told ».
(photo Eric Allison)
The play « A Man Standing » by Jean-Michel Van den Eeyden and Jean-Marc Mahy will be presented for the first time in London at the Rich Mix on 21 November. 7.30pm.
Book now : http://www.richmix.org.uk/whats-on/event/a-man-standing/
Facebook event : https://www.facebook.com/events/602852049834249/?fref=ts