2000 to present

Plays

The Cave Painter

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

Dianne is a printmaker who derives her imagery from pre-history – Neanderthal teeth, the Jericho skulls, old bones. Too many people close to her have passed away and her only son has rebelled by embracing a life of religious fundamentalism. The Cave Painter is a funny, moving one-woman show about being an artist and dealing with loss.

Celebration

Grove Atlantic
Type: Text

A restaurant. Two curved banquettes. It's a celebration. Violent, wildly funny, Harold Pinter's play displays a vivid zest for life.

Celebration premiered at the Almeida Theatre, London, in March 2000.

Chair

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Chair is the third play in Edward Bond's The Chair Plays trilogy. In it, Alice is looking after Billy, a young man she took in to her home – illegally – when he was a baby.

One day, when she witnesses a soldier escorting an old woman, someone Alice believes she knows, to prison, she offers a kindness: the soldier has been waiting with his prisoner for over three hours; Alice offers him chair to sit on. This basic, human gesture explodes the secure and private world that Alice had built to protect herself and Billy.

In his introduction, Edward Bond writes: 'Billy cannot be Alice's son but she must be the prisoner's daughter. This is because in the first play the image of the dress confronts the present with the past that all people share in common. When this confrontation is repeated in Chair it is not shared; it is absolutely restricted to one person and the present . . . Saved ends in a gesture of optimism in the mending of the chair. It is not grandiose to call that an act of immanent transcendence because the chair bears human wounds. Since the play was written our situation – the third crisis – has worsened. The chair in The Chair Plays is the sign of that crisis.'

Chair was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 7 April 2000. Its first staged production was seen at the Avignon Festival in July 2006.

Chef

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Chef tells the gripping story of how one woman went from being a haute-cuisine head chef to a convicted inmate running a prison kitchen. Leading us through her world of mouth-watering dishes and heart-breaking memories, Chef questions our attitudes to food, prisoners, violence, love and hope. Inspired by an interview the playwright, Sabrina Mahfouz, conducted with celebrity chef Ollie Dabbous, Chef studies food as the ultimate art form taking stimulus from Dabbous’s obsession with simplicity and making something the best it can be.

Featuring Sabrina Mahfouz’s distinct, lyrical style in abundance, Chef received its premiere at the Underbelly, Cowgate, during the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, winning a Fringe First, and was subsequently produced at the Soho Theatre, London, in June 2015.

The Children (Bond)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A disturbed mother sends her son, Joe, to burn down a house in an adjacent estate. Manipulating him until he agrees, she abandons him to his fate once he has completed this task. Worse still, the house was not as empty as he thought when he set it alight.

Fleeing from the law, his friends join him on a journey though an increasingly barren and often violent landscape. Despite the difficulty of their situation and the continuing fragmentation of their community, they nonetheless find the spirit and energy to be compassionate to others – particularly a tramp who cannot walk. But the question remains; how will this compassion be rewarded?

The Children was first presented by Classworks Theatre on 11 February 2000 at Manor Community College, Cambridge. The parts of the children were played by pupils from the college. It went on to tour to seventeen venues; in each new venue a different cast of young people played, with only the actors playing Mum and Man remaining constant throughout the tour.

Children of the Sun (Trans. Mulrine)

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Maxim Gorky's play Children of the Sun is a Chekhovian family drama, written while its author was briefly imprisoned in Saint Petersburg's Peter and Paul Fortress during the abortive Russian Revolution of 1905. It was initially banned, but the imperial authorities allowed it to premiere on 24 October 1905 at the Moscow Art Theatre.

This translation by Stephen Mulrine was published by Nick Hern Books in its Drama Classics series in 2000.

The play's title refers to Russia's privileged intelligentsia, epitomised by Protasov, who is high-minded and idealistic but out of touch with the reality of life, especially for the working classes. The play is set during one of the cholera epidemics of the previous century, but was universally understood to relate to contemporary events, and has come to be seen as a prophetic echo of the coming revolution.

The Christmas Tree

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

A tree lot. Christmas Eve. One man. One woman. One tree. Who should get it? Each gives reasons through tales of woe as to why they are more deserving of the tree, and each seems unmoved by the other's predicament. A story filled with laughs, heartache, and good old-fashioned Christmas spirit.

Clean

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Zainab, Chloe & Katya, London’s best ‘clean’ criminals and perpetrators of victimless crime, are forced together in an unlikely trio. This feisty trio soon become the unlikely action heroes of an adventure left to men. A short play commissioned by the Traverse Theatre, 2012, Clean was part of the A Play, A Pie & A Pint Season at Òran Mor, Glasgow and The Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh.

Sabrina Mahfouz’s Clean was originally published in a volume of three plays called The Clean Collection, alongside Dry Ice and One Hour Only . The volume also contained a selection of poetry by the playwright.

The Clockmaker

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

‘WHO ARE YOU?’ Monsieur Pierre (the immigration official) poses his usual question, but Heinrich’s unusual answer sets in motion a metaphysical roller coaster. Why would a simple statement of name and profession bring so much attention to an unassuming clockmaker? Maybe because that’s two more things than anyone else in this place remembers . . . ? Soon, Heinrich is reminding his new friend Frieda of memories she’s forgotten and even summoning up a few of his own – of forbidden love, and crimes he may or may not have committed. Is it possible to be guilty of being about to commit a crime, as Monsieur Pierre suspects? And why wouldn’t one recall something so significant as premeditating murder? Armed with a newfound-yet-familiar love for each other, Heinrich and Frieda set about solving this Kafkaesque puzzle. Winner of the Betty Mitchell Award for Best New Play (2009) and named best Canadian play of the 2010-2011 season at the inaugural Toronto Theatre Critics’ Awards.

Collaboration

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Collaboration and Taking Sides are companion pieces by Ronald Harwood. Taking Sides premiered at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester in 1995; Collaboration premiered at the same theatre in July 2008, when the two plays were staged in repertory.

Collaboration

In 1931, composer Richard Strauss and writer Stephan Zweig embark on an invigorating artistic partnership. But Zweig is a Jew and the Nazis are on the march. Is it possible to keep artistic aspiration and political action separate? How fine is the line between collaboration and betrayal?