Plays by Martin Crimp

The Treatment

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Martin Crimp's play The Treatment is a satire about the media's distortion of reality, and a nightmarish vision of city life. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on 15 April 1993, and was revived at the Almeida Theatre, London, in April 2017.

The play is set in New York, in the present day. It opens in the offices of a film studio, where a young woman, Anne, is pitching a story to two executives, Andrew and Jennifer, a husband-and-wife team. The story, which appears to be based on Anne's own experience, is a graphically detailed account of the way she was bound and gagged by an electrical engineer. Andrew and Jennifer become visibly excited by the narrative’s potential, and seek to exploit Anne's story for their own purposes, reminding her that 'no one’s story is theirs alone'. They bring in a once-famous playwright, Clifford, to work on the story, merging it with his own scenario about voyeurism, and then recruit a movie star, John, to give the project viability. It soon becomes clear that, in this world, people are products, movies are money and sex sells - and the rights to your life can be a dangerous commodity to exploit.

This version of the play, published by Nick Hern Books alongside the 2017 revival at the Almeida Theatre, contains some small revisions by Crimp to the 1993 text.

The premiere production at the Royal Court was directed by Lindsey Posner and designed by Julian McGowan. It was performed by Sheila Gish, Jacqueline Defferary, Larry Pine, Geraldine Somerville, Tom Watson, Mark Strong, Marcus Heath and Joseph Mydell.

The 2017 revival at the Almeida Theatre was directed by Lyndsey Turner and designed by Giles Cadle. It was performed by Gary Beadle, Ian Gelder, Aisling Loftus, Matthew Needham, Ben Onwukwe, Julian Ovenden, Ellora Torchia, Indira Varma and Hara Yannis, with an additional ensemble.

Martin Crimp was born in 1956. His plays include Three Attempted Acts (1985), Dealing with Clair (1988), Play with Repeats (1989), No One Sees the Video (1991), Getting Attention (1992), The Treatment (1993, winner of the John Whiting Award), Attempts on her Life (1997) and The Country (2000). He has translated or adapted work by Ionesco (The Chairs, 1997), Genet (The Maids, 1999) and Moliere (The Misanthrope, 1996). His work in the UK has been produced by the Orange Tree Theatre, the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Stephen Joseph Theatre, the RSC, the Young Vic and the Royal Court, where he was writer-in-residence in 1997. In New York his work has been seen at the Public Theater and the Classic Stage Company, as well as on Broadway.