Plays by Nancy Harris

Little Dolls

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Nancy Harris's Little Dolls is short play about a woman seeking help from a therapist to overcome a traumatic episode in her past. It was first performed at the Bush Theatre, London, on 23 October 2008 as part of The Broken Space season.

The play's action takes place in a 'room without light'. Vicky, an anxious young woman in her late twenties, is in counselling with John to overcome her intense fear of darkness. It emerges that her fear stems from a traumatic episode in her past when, while on a school trip, her best friend was murdered in the hostel bed next to her as she slept. As she continues to tell her story, John becomes increasingly controlling and sinister until we come to question whether he is trying to make her better or make her worse.

The Bush Theatre premiere was directed by Charlotte Gwinner, with Sinead Matthews as Vicky and John Ramm as John.

No Romance

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Nancy Harris's No Romance is a play about secret selves and the search for connection in a fractured world. It was first performed at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, on 1 March 2011, and received the Stewart Parker Trust Award in 2012.

The play comprises three separate, subtly interlinked stories, all taking place in Dublin in the present day. In the first part, two old school friends now in their late 30s, Gail and Laura, are reunited when Laura commissions Gail, a photographer with what appears to be a glamorous and successful international career, to take a series of slightly pornographic portraits of her as a present for her lover's 40th birthday. Gail is a lesbian, something that ensured loneliness at school, and, despite her career and her long and stable relationship with her doctor lover, is more fragile than she seems; her equilibrium is badly shaken by the encounter. In the second, Carmel and Joe are in the funeral parlour awaiting the arrival of 'the relations' for Joe's mother's funeral. Joe is enraged because they've discovered that their recently university-graduated daughter has posted pictures of herself on the internet as the winner of a wet T-shirt competition from her holiday base in Australia; double standards emerge as the mayhem develops over the coffin. In the final part, Michael and his 12-year-old son Johnny are 'helping' Michael's 80-year-old mother to pack up her west Cork cottage prior to moving to a rest-home in Dublin. But Peg is made of stern stuff, her strength forged in the years of a harrowingly bad marriage to Michael's father, and has no intention of being brow-beaten if she can avoid it.

The Abbey Theatre premiere was directed by Wayne Jordan and designed by Paul Keogan, with Janet Moran as Laura, Natalie Radmall-Quirke as Gail, Tina Kellegher as Carmel, Stephen Brennan as Joe, Stella McCusker as Peg, Conor Mullen as Michael and Dáire Cassi as Johnny.

Our New Girl

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Nancy Harris's Our New Girl is a psychological drama about the darker side of modern parenthood. It was first performed at the Bush Theatre, London, on 12 January 2012.

The play's action is set in the kitchen of an upmarket family home in London belonging to Hazel and Richard Robinson. Despite the immaculate appearance, things aren't as good as they look for Hazel. Her plastic surgeon husband, Richard, has embarked on his latest charitable mission to Haiti, leaving her heavily pregnant and forced to cope alone with a failing business and a problem son, Daniel. When a professional nanny, Annie, arrives unannounced on her doorstep, Hazel finds her home under the shadow of a seemingly perfect stranger who has an agenda of her own. And when Richard finally turns up, his presence only fuels the tensions already simmering in this deeply unhappy household.

The Bush Theatre premiere was directed by Charlotte Gwinner and designed by Morgan Large, with Mark Bazeley as Richard, Denise Gough as Annie, Kate Fleetwood as Hazel and Jonathan Teale and Jude Willoughby alternating as Daniel.

Nancy Harris is a playwright whose work has been staged at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, and at the Bush and Gate theatres in London. She has also written for television and radio.