Anna Jordan's play Yen explores a childhood lived without boundaries and the consequences of being forced to grow up on your own. It was the winner of the 2013 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and was first performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, on 18 February 2015. The production transferred to the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Sloane Square, on 22 January 2016.
The play is set in the present day, in the living room of a flat on an estate in Feltham, south west London. 16-year-old Hench and his 13-year-old brother Bobby live alone with their dog Taliban, playing video games and watching violent porn. There’s no adult supervision, though their mother Maggie occasionally visits from her latest boyfriend’s place and passes out in a diabetic coma. But then Jennifer, a practical, animal-loving Welsh girl, shows a concern for the neglected Taliban, and succeeds in taming both the dog and his semi-feral owners.
The premiere production was directed by Ned Bennett and designed by Georgia Lowe. The cast was Alex Austin as Hench, Sian Breckin as Maggie, Jake Davies as Bobbie and Annes Elwy as Jennifer.