Ariel Dorfman’s play Reader is a thriller about a censor who discovers that the novel he is about to ban bears a close resemblance to his own life. It was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, on 28 July 1995.
Daniel Lucas is a government censor in an unnamed country in the ‘near future.’ Nicknamed the 'Pope' for his infallibility, he has been shaping all subversive literature so that it falls in line with the current political regime. Under his watchful eye, many texts have been beaten into submission to make them palatable for the oppressed masses. However, when he discovers that one of these novels bears an uncanny resemblance to his own life and hints at the terrible fate that awaits his son, Nick, he desperately tries to hunt down its author. Unable to bring himself to ban the book, he is ultimately forced to confront his past crimes.
The play's Traverse Theatre premiere was directed by Ian Brown and designed by Tim Hatley, with a cast including Clive Merrison as Daniel Lucas and Dugald Bruce-Lockhart as Nick.