Robert Holman’s Jonah and Otto is a play for two actors exploring a fleeting moment of connection between very different men struggling to find the courage to continue. It was first performed in The Studio at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, on 12 March 2008.
The play is set in a secluded public garden in a seaside town on the south coast of England. Otto Banister, 62, is a former clergyman suffering from acute loneliness. A chance encounter with a young man, Jonah Teale, who is trying his best to look after his six-week-old baby daughter, leads to an unexpected bond between the two men. Over the course of a single day they open their hearts to each other, sharing their solitude and unfolding their secrets. They disagree with each other about women, about lust and about guilt. They question the power of magic, of redemption and the price of freedom. Each comes to see himself more clearly through the eyes of the other.
The premiere production was directed by Clare Lizzimore and designed by Paul Burgess, with Ian McDiarmid as Otto and Andrew Sheridan as Jonah.
The play was revived at the Park Theatre, London, in October 2014 in a production directed by Tim Stark, with Peter Egan as Otto and Alex Waldmann as Jonah.