DOI: 10.5040/9781408172827.00000025
Scenes: 6. Roles: Male (2) , Female (1) , Neutral (0)

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.

From The Chair Plays


Bloomsbury Publishing

Edward Bond

ISBN: 9781408172797

Series: Modern Plays

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