Glenn Waldron's play The Here and This and Now is a darkly comic drama that explores the threat to world health posed by antimicrobial resistance, and the role of the pharmaceutical industry in promoting excessive use of antibiotics. It was first performed at Theatre Royal Plymouth, on 9 March 2017.
The play opens in the conference room of a functional country-house hotel in 2017. Three sales reps for a pharmaceutical company called McCabe – Gemma, Robby and Helen – are on a training day led by Niall. They practise delivering their sales pitches, and participate in games and exercises to remember the terminology of the new drug they will be selling. The action then moves forward to May 2023, in Niall's house, at night. Helen is giving a presentation to Niall, and reveals that in the period since the training day, she lost her job at McCabe, and the world's population has been decimated by a viral epidemic. Helen has already lost one child, and her son Calum now has the virus. She is desperate to obtain the precious vaccine, called the 'Unicorn Pill', that is rumoured to have been developed by pharmaceutical companies including McCabe. She wants Niall to understand that she will go to any length to obtain it. In a final scene, set at a point in the future when the deadly virus has finally been brought under control, we learn that McCabe is now marketing a new drug, a 'neuro-enhancer', that it claims has the power to grant an 'unceasing state of happiness and well-being'.
The premiere production was directed by Simon Stokes with set and costume design by Bob Bailey. It was performed by Jessica Clark, Simon Darwen (as Niall), Becci Gemmell (as Helen) and Andy Rush, with Gracie Giles, Isabella Ackerman, James Critten and Lilly Crawford as 'A.', and the voice of Bill Paterson.