DOI: 10.5040/9781784603779.00000002
Roles: Male (4) , Female (2) , Neutral (0)

Stef Smith's play Human Animals is a dystopian drama about life in a world where London has become infested with animals. It was first performed at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, London, on 18 May 2016.

In a series of short scenes, most of them dialogues between two characters, Smith obliquely builds a portrait of a London so plagued by foxes, mice and pigeons that roads are closed, parks burned and curfews imposed. The play's focus is on the effect this has on the city's residents: the relationship between middle-class widow Nancy and her daughter, Alex, who wants to protect animal rights; a young couple, Lisa and Jamie, who find themselves in opposition when it comes to the mass-destruction of animals; the closeted John (Nancy's neighbour) and his relationship with Si, who works in chemical distribution and has been cut off from visiting his daughter by the closure of roads crossing the river. Interwoven with these scenes are choric lines, presented in italics in the script, that are intended to be spoken by 'any cast member [or] simultaneously by multiple performers'.

The Royal Court premiere was directed by Hamish Pirie and designed by Camilla Clarke, with Natalie Dew as Alex, Ian Gelder as John, Stella Gonet as Nancy, Lisa McGrillis as Lisa, Sargon Yelda as Si and Ashley Zhangazha as Jamie.

From Human Animals


Nick Hern Books

Stef Smith

ISBN: 9781848425286

Series: NHB Modern Plays

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