Ella Hickson’s play The Writer is a meta-theatrical drama about a young writer who challenges the status quo but discovers that creative gain comes at a personal cost. It was first performed at the Almeida Theatre, London, on 24 April 2018 (previews from 14 April).
The play starts in a theatre auditorium with an encounter between a Young Woman, who has come to watch a play, and an Older Man, who is part of the theatrical establishment. Pushed to say if she enjoyed the play, the Young Woman concedes that she has a different view of theatre from that which prevails: she sees it as a sacred space with a political purpose, and rails against the patriarchal orthodoxy that sexualises female performers and fails to reflect real life. The Older Man responds by suggesting she might write something herself, and in subsequent scenes, operating at several different levels of reality, we see how the suggestion plays out as the Writer faces up to the many obstacles in the way of realising her vision.
The Almeida Theatre production was directed by Blanche McIntyre and designed by Anna Fleischle. It was performed by Romola Garai, Michael Gould, Lara Rossi and Samuel West.