Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Meeting Mark Borkowski

Mark Borkowski is the star and writer of The Perfect Witness (starring Wes Bentley: The Last Word, P2, Dolan's Cadillac, American Beauty) and writer of numerous plays: Box of Nails, Within the Skins of Saints, The Kids are Awake, etc. Prior to this interview, I had no idea this very established playwright I was recommeded to interview was the same guy who gave me nightmares when I watched him in his believable perfomance. The Perfect Witness is a movie you can never forget. Maybe because he was so charming and calm I didn't put two and two together....

Chris Kerson and Mark Borkowski interviewed in the Star to promote
"Cost of a Soul" written and directed by Sean Kirkpatrick


Meeting Mark Borkowski

When did you start writing?

I began writing as a child when I was 11 or 12 years old. I wrote a lot of short stories…usually horror…as a kid, I identified with monsters. Especially the more sympathetic ones. I was a weird, lonely kid who felt like an outcast so they really helped me, I don’t know …I worked out a lot of stuff.

Click on above link to view trailer for "A Perfect Witness"
Your first play was produced when you were quite young.

Yeah, when I was about 18 years old I took a nervous breakdown… it was a manifestation of drug addiction and trauma I went through as a child. I was hearing voices and a doctor told me to write the voices down as part of my therapy. They came out in the form of dialogue—as voices would-- and after a while I realized I had a play. I had already been involved in theatre as an actor so I was more than familiar with the form. I called the play Saturday Mourn. I showed it to a friend of mine shortly after that and he gave it to the late great Albert Benzwie (artistic director of the legendary Theatre Center Philadelphia back in the 80s). The play went on to win his one-act play festival.

That’s an amazing story.

And when I went to see it something opened inside me and I realized I could help others. From there, I continued to write play after play because I realized I could work out my demons and give them a platform to maybe help others.

What was the response?

After that play people came up to me and said they were not only touched by it but felt comforted because they too felt so alone and really related to my characters. At a young age I realized I could be of service through my work by expelling and sharing my demons.

How long did it take after that to write your next play?

Oh I immediately went into my next play. I was driving a cab when I wrote, Suicide, Inc. It was a full length play, produced at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia.

How were the reviews?

The Philadelphia Daily News called it “a multi level masterpiece”.

Did you get paid well for your initial plays?

No, you’re lucky if you break even. It’s only in the past few years that I’ve done more than break even. People, especially in New York, know who I am.

Mark as "Jake" in Cost of a Soul

What is your genre? Has it stayed the same or changed throughout the years?

Psychological drama seasoned with black comedy. My stuff can be pretty brutal. I push the envelope in order to get my point across. I tried to conform to the mainstream, writing “commercial” type stuff but I usually end up losing interest and shelving it. I have to really feel a direct, even soulful connection to my characters in order to live with them and tell their story. In reference to form, I started out writing realistic plays, then I took the reality into the absurd. I like to place characters in hardcore reality and then challenge them with ultimately absurd circumstances which shake and transform their reality or reality as we know it. Then I found myself slipping into hyper-realism. And now, while always keeping my work rooted in reality (so people can identify), I incorporate mystical, even spiritual layers. Metaphors and symbols. Shakespeare wrote on different levels; he had witches, dreams, ghosts… He had all kinds of stuff…you know? My writing has become much more of an exploration of not just reality but dreams, mysticism and spirituality…

Can you explain hyper realism, I’m not familiar.

It’s hysterical realism… much like what we find in dreams or in madhouses. Or, less dramatically, the average hysteria we might experience when we’re being tormented in, say, the throes of addiction or the loss of a lover… For a while there I loved writing about hysteria, you know?

Give me an example.

Well in one of my plays, Within the Skins of Saints, a girl is getting ready to jump off a subway platform and a guy enters and has until the subway comes to stop her. By the end, she almost succeeds in convincing him to jump with her. She shares her dreams of saintly mutilation and the hysteria that caused her to be institutionalized and medicated. She decided to stop taking the meds and escaped the madhouse and is now ready to die and be with her lover, God (a notion that many female Saints also shared at martyrdom). I know it sounds like a dark journey but there is a tinge of hope the end. A branch for the audience to grab onto. I feel it’s kinda my responsibility, after having taken an audience into a dark tunnel, to give them a tinge of light at the end. Or at least furnish road signs so they can get themselves out.

Wow, tell me about another play of this type.

Another dark play I recently wrote is called Painting Corpses. It’s about a painter who’s bottoming out on drugs and alcohol. He gets a call from an aristocrat who asks him to paint a picture of his dead wife. The money is too good to be true (100 grand) and he accepts the commission. The aristocrat delivers the body to the artist’s loft. When the artist begins to paint her…as the days pass…he starts to fall in love with her…


…and one night he’s very drunk and he’s imagining her lips saying beautiful things to him, her eyes looking at him, her ears listening… he imagines her the woman of his dreams. And…eventually…he makes love to her…

Oh My God!

…the next morning he wakes up and he comes to…he’s very hung over and… she’s sitting there. She’s alive! He thinks. He doesn’t know if she’s a supernatural phenomena or a psychotic delusion. One thing leads to another, and she tells him that she doesn’t want to be painted. She didn’t want it in life and she certainly doesn’t want it in death! BUT she’ll make a deal with him… He needs five primary colors to paint her… she says she will grant him the five colors if he does five favors for her. He finds himself bargaining with the dead. These five favors take him on a journey that ends up changing his life forever.

One of just many of Mark Borkowski's Plays
Wow! What happens in the end?

People have to see it to find out. We workshopped it at the Actor’s Studio and right now we’re trying to find finance for the production. The play is like a Charles Bukowski meets Sleeping Beauty… it’s actually a very beautiful play. One of the biggest qualms people, and some producers, have with this is the necrophilia. They don’t think he should molest the corpse. That the audience won’t forgive him. I think its bullshit. I mean, look at mythology—especially the Egyptians. Isis and Osiris. I mean, necrophilia takes on a whole different meaning when you look at it through those fucking glasses! So, okay, now I’m modifying, maybe… with extreme reluctance.

Any big actors in it?

Yeah… Elias Koteus played the lead and it was directed by Richard Masur.

How many of your plays have been on stage?

One acts, short plays, they’ve been done all over the world…too many to count. I also write screenplays.

"I’m a carpenter...survival job. I was very poor as a young man…"

I wrote a film called The Perfect Witness.

I remember that movie, oh my god…that was you!?

With Wes Bentley (Ghost Rider, American Beauty). It was originally called “The Ungodly”. It’s still called that everywhere else except America. It’s being distributed in England this September.

That movie was so scary!

Oh you’re a chicken shit.

view his work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmxrbsUtBns
Tell them what it’s about.

It’s about a down and out film maker, he’s a newly recovered drug addict…he lives with his mom and he’s obsessed with a serial killer. Through months of research, he figures out where the killer might strike and, low and behold, he tracks him down.

You played the killer. You were great!

…. So he catches me murdering—or rather, he catches the killer murdering someone and videotapes it. He then blackmails him into being his documentary subject.

On the set of "Don't Listen to What it Sounds Like" Written by Mark Borkowski
And he agrees to it.

… and as he gets to know the killer, the killer gets to know him and… well, again, I would rather our readers rent it. You can get it at Blockbuster or Netflix. It’s also on Showtime and The Movie Channel. It’s a film about addiction (to drugs or murder) and ambition. Also, personal accountability. Ultimately, it’s about a person taking responsibly for their part in something. His ambiton leads him to look the other way and allow haenous crimes to occur, similar to Nazi Germany. People do it all the time and it’s fucked.

That movie was intense. I can’t believe that was you and that you wrote it. Was that your first movie?

First major feature length movie...I’ve had a lot of short films produced. I’ve sold screenplays but they haven’t been made yet.

Movie still from Film Production
How long did that take to write?

About a year and a half and it took twenty four (or so) days to shoot. Editing took a while.

What? It only took twenty four days to shoot it? That’s so fast!

Yeah, well that’s independent filmmaking. It comes down to making it as quickly as possible because everyday costs thousands of dollars…. The editing took several months though.

What inspired you to write The Perfect Witness?

It started out as a play. I had a few scenes but it didn’t go anywhere. Wasn’t working. Tom Dunn, the director, and I had been wanting to write something together but we couldn’t figure out what. One day I told him about this play I couldn’t finish. He was amazed by the story and told me I couldn’t finish it as a play because the damn thing is a film! We locked ourselves up and wrote the screenplay. Within a year or two he made it into a film and cast me as the killer.

Bet it got all sorts of awards!

Cost of a Soul (2010)

Yeah, I got best actor at the Portugal Film festival… We got into the Austin Film Festival. Brussels, Amsterdam, Sitges (Spain, it’s right on the coast), and a few others. Then First Look Studios swept it up, changed its name from The Ungodly to The Perfect Witness and… distributed it.

Mark with director Sean Kirkpatrick in the making of Cost of a Soul (2010)
Do you consider that your biggest accomplishment so far?

Yeah, it’s one of them….it even got picked up by Showtime and—oh, I think I said that already.

Wow! If you could do something else? I mean, if you weren’t an actor or writer?

Oh I’m a carpenter. That’s sorta my survival job. I was very poor as a young man…

Click on link to view Chris Kerson and Judy Jerome star in Mark's play, 4 Adults Only http://www.blip.tv/file/1321737
And now?

I get commissions to write screenplays…for example these Russians came to me with a short story called The Animals, and I adapted it into a screenplay. After I’m done, they translate it back and shoot it as a Russian language film. The money is okay. I also get royalties for my plays… right now three of my plays are being done…

Oh, where?

In Philadelphia TheWalking Fish Theatre is doing my play The Kids Are Awake. My two one acts, Don’t Listen to What it Sounds Like and I like to Watch ‘em Beg Ma are running at The Producers Club here in New York.

What’s that about?

Watch them all and find out.

Ok, I will and I'm going to tell my sisters I met that scary guy in A Perfect Witness, I can't believe it, that's one of my favorite movies!


NYC Inquirer said...

Love Showtime for showing your masterpiece The Perfect Witness every Halloween. Was great to meet you, you're a great inspiration to many writers!

Anonymous said...

Everyone loves what you guys are up too.
This sort of clever work and coverage! Keep up the awesome works guys I've included you guys to my blogroll.
My page canadabirdoutlet.com

Anonymous said...

I am sure this article has touched all the internet viewers, its really really
fastidious piece of writing on building up new weblog.
Look at my web-site ; canada goose jakker

Anonymous said...

I've been surfing on-line more than 3 hours lately, but I by no means discovered any fascinating article like yours. It is beautiful worth sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made excellent content as you probably did, the net will be a lot more helpful than ever before.
Here is my page parka jackets

Anonymous said...

Everyone loves what you guys are up too. This kind of clever work and exposure!
Keep up the superb works guys I've included you guys to my personal blogroll.
Here is my blog post canada goose jakker

Anonymous said...

It is the best time to make some plans for the future and
it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to
suggest you some interesting things or suggestions.
Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article.

I wish to read even more things about it!
Also visit my page ... steppingstones.eu

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I read your blogs regularly. Your writing style is
awesome, keep it up!
Feel free to surf my weblog warm winter coat

Anonymous said...

bookmarked!!, I like your website!
Feel free to visit my webpage : Canada Goose Jackets Online

Anonymous said...

For most up-to-date news you have to go to see web and on internet I found this website as a best web page for newest updates.
Stop by my site canada goose

Anonymous said...

For most up-to-date news you have to go to see web and
on internet I found this website as a best web page for newest
my page: canada goose

Anonymous said...

I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in
writing this blog. I'm hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own blog now ;)
My website ; christian louboutin shoes

Anonymous said...

That is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.
Brief but very accurate info… Thanks for sharing
this one. A must read post!
Check out my page : www.nfljerseysfreeshippings.com

Anonymous said...

Helpful info. Lucky me I found your web site unintentionally, and
I'm surprised why this coincidence didn't took place
earlier! I bookmarked it.
Check out my web site - nfljerseyswhosalevip.com

Anonymous said...

Every weekend i used to visit this web site, because i want enjoyment, as this this website
conations truly pleasant funny material too.
my site - http://www.cheapnikenfljerseysnews.com/

Anonymous said...

[url=http://sustiva-efavirenz.webs.com/]buy Efavirenz 500 mg
[/url] Generic Sustiva 600 mg
Sustiva 500 mg
order Efavirenz 600 mg online

Anonymous said...

It is appropriate time to make a few plans for the longer term and it is time to be happy.
I've read this submit and if I may just I wish to counsel you few interesting issues or tips. Perhaps you could write subsequent articles regarding this article. I want to read more issues about it!
My blog :: abc distributing promo code

Anonymous said...

Hello, after reading this remarkable post i am also happy to share my experience here with friends.
Also see my web site > adam and eve promo codes

Anonymous said...

You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation
but I find this matter to be really something that I think I would never understand.

It seems too complex and very broad for me. I'm looking forward for your next post, I'll try to get the hang of it!
My blog post linkvote.com

Anonymous said...

Hi it's me, I am also visiting this site daily, this web page is in fact good and the visitors are really sharing good thoughts.
my web site > aaron hernandez jersey

Anonymous said...

We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
Your web site offered us with valuable info to work on.

You have done a formidable job and our whole community will be thankful to you.
Also see my website :: live hotmail

Anonymous said...

It's going to be finish of mine day, but before ending I am reading this wonderful post to increase my knowledge.
Feel free to visit my blog post - http://a56a.com/?p=759

Anonymous said...

It's going to be end of mine day, but before end I am reading this wonderful paragraph to improve my know-how.
My homepage - msn hotmail correo electronico crear

Anonymous said...

Howdy! This blog post couldn't be written any better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I am going to send this information to him. Pretty sure he's going to have a very good read.

Thanks for sharing!
Check out my web page ; Websiteranktool.com

Anonymous said...

My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different page and thought I
might check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you.
Look forward to going over your web page yet again.

Feel free to surf to my web site ... BMW Z4 Windscreen

Anonymous said...

I know this site offers quality depending posts and other stuff, is there any other web page
which gives these kinds of data in quality?

Feel free to surf to my weblog domains for sale

Anonymous said...

For Women of all ages: Nike comes in full pink and white, black and white, and pink and white.

Kobe will come in Royal blue track record, gold check out
and white depth. The Nike air max comes in a variety of dimensions
and shades. Of study course, other kinds of the popular brand name shoes have the characteristics, also.

Anonymous said...

[p]We are a well noted manufacturer and supplier of a quality range of Razor Barbed Wires, which are widely used on various industrial applications . A spokeswoman [url=http://www.barbed-wires.com]razor wire sale[/url] for the Netherlands's Central Jewish Council, who spoke on the condition on anonymity, said that idea was "completely tasteless and lacking in respect for the victims and their families . The "moonshiners" were able to produce their product at a lower cost, and thus offered a serious threat to the Company due to their lower prices . Most importantly though, Texans were generally skeptical of the effectiveness of the fencing material in containing their sturdy and wild Longhorn cattle . They would become more inflammatory and significant in the patent battles of the later years . 隆卤

(As opposed to displays of concentration camp artifacts which are tasteful because they隆炉re supported by government?)

Between 35 000 and 40 000 people were processed in Kamp Amersfoort, at least half of whom were deported to Nazi death camps . Joseph Glidden was the first man to begin experimenting with Rose's design to make a more practical and effective fencing material.[/p][p]The straight type razor wire can be installed quickly . Clients [url=http://www.barbed-wires.com]razor wire price[/url] can avail the Barbed Wire from us at very reasonable price . These extralegal producers came to be known as "moonshiners," and many were organized into a solid group by John Gates, who had by [url=http://www.barbed-wires.com]Barbed wire price[/url] then disassociated from the Company . Piecing and cutting razor blades mounted at the top of the wall, also the special designs making climbing [url=http://www.barbed-wires.com]Barbed wire sale[/url] and touching extremely difficult . "It seems we have [url=http://www.barbed-wires.com]Barbed wire[/url] hurt some people and it was not our intention at all," Ruijs told AFP . The current camp manager Ruijs said he consulted former prisoners at the camp and their relatives before the sale and their reactions had been positive . Ellwood and Washburn & Moen Company.[/p]

Anonymous said...

http://biaxin-buy.webs.com/ buy biaxin online
http://sustiva-efavirenz.webs.com/ Efavirenz 200 mg online
http://asacol-mesalamine.webs.com/ Mesalazine online
http://www.freewebs.com/pentasa-mesalamine/ buy asacol 800 mg

Anonymous said...

Hi there, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this blog post.
It was inspiring. Keep on posting!

Stop by my web site; christianlouboutinoutletshopx.com

Anonymous said...

Having read this I thought it was extremely informative.
I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put
this article together. I once again find myself spending way
too much time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

my webpage - レイバンサングラス

Anonymous said...


my blog post :: ミュウミュウ 激安

Anonymous said...


Look at my page; シャネル アリュール

Anonymous said...


my web page: シャネル 新作

Anonymous said...

Amazing! Its truly amazing paragraph, I have got much clear idea regarding from this paragraph.

my page :: Christian Louboutin Women Flats

Anonymous said...

Howdy I am so thrilled I found your webpage, I really found
you by mistake, while I was browsing on Askjeeve for something else, Nonetheless I
am here now and would just like to say kudos for a incredible post
and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the moment
but I have book-marked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read
more, Please do keep up the great b.

my webpage: コーチ

Anonymous said...

Awesome article.

My web blog; www.ilforumditvsoap.it

Anonymous said...

Excellent weblog right here! Additionally your site a lot
up very fast! What host are you the usage of?

Can I am getting your associate hyperlink on your host?
I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours

My weblog :: Christian Louboutin Pumps

Anonymous said...

My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was totally right.
This post actually made my day. You cann't imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

Feel free to surf to my web site ... http://www.raybanoutlet-sales.com/

Anonymous said...

Hi there, just wanted to tell you, I enjoyed this article.

It was helpful. Keep on posting!

my blog :: サングラス オークリー

Anonymous said...

you're in point of fact a excellent webmaster. The website loading speed is amazing. It seems that you are doing any unique trick. Moreover, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a wonderful activity on this matter!

my blog; ロレックスコピー

Anonymous said...

That is a very good tip especially to those new
to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one.

A must read article!

Feel free to visit my web blog; christian louboutin shoes

Anonymous said...

Keep this going please, great job!

Also visit my webpage: http://www.monsterbeatsphones-vip.com

Anonymous said...

What i do not understood is in truth how you're no longer actually a lot more neatly-appreciated than you might be right now. You are so intelligent. You already know therefore significantly relating to this subject, produced me in my view believe it from a lot of numerous angles. Its like men and women aren't fascinated unless it's something to do with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs great. At all times handle it up!

My web site アバクロンビー

Anonymous said...

I feel that is among the so much important information for me.
And i am satisfied studying your article. However wanna remark on some common things,
The web site taste is great, the articles is truly nice : D.
Just right job, cheers

Have a look at my site - http://www.monsterbeatsheadphoneoutletsale.com/

Anonymous said...

I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This post posted at this web site is truly fastidious.

my web page http://missing-person-search.com/user.php?login=effiey51

Anonymous said...


[size=4][url=http://my.moverapid.com/rumalaya][b][color=blue]Buy [/color][color=red]Rumalaya[/color][color=blue] ONLINE - click here![/color][/b][/url][/size]

Anonymous said...

I'm extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it'ѕ raгe to ѕee
a grеat blοg likе this one thesе ԁayѕ.

my homeρage ... facebook cuenta gratis

Anonymous said...


[size=4][url=http://my.moverapid.com/coldbalm][b][color=blue]Buy [/color][color=red]Cold Balm[/color][color=blue] ONLINE - click here![/color][/b][/url][/size]

Anonymous said...

They also provide a particular sports selection for the sports activities lover.
This will make distribution fast and effortless!

Inserting a deadline, even tentatively, will minimize some rigidity over time.
oakley sun shades men's collection comes to your rescue.

Feel free to surf to my web page :: Gucci Sunglasses

Anonymous said...


[size=4][url=http://my.moverapid.com/zofran][b][color=blue]Buy [/color][color=red]Zofran[/color][color=blue] ONLINE - click here![/color][/b][/url][/size]