Simon Stephens

Plays by Simon Stephens

Three Kingdoms

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Three Kingdoms is a blackly entertaining and unsettling detective story-cum-parable about the devil in us all, international human trafficking and the changing state of Europe.

As the severed human head of an Estonian woman is found in a river in Hammersmith, two British detectives set off in search of her origins in Europe and how she came to be found dead. Accompanied by a Mephistophelian German detective acting as their guide, they gradually sink deeper and deeper into the world of prostitution and international human trafficking. Fighting to cross international borders and language barriers, they enter a nightmarish world that will change one of them forever.

Telling the stories of trafficked women, gangs and the police forces across Europe that attempt to control them, this dark thriller explores an international business where the goods are not products, but people.

Questioning and undermining not just tenets about the nature of Europe with its old and new borders, Three Kingdoms also explodes moral certainties. With good and evil presented not as polarized forces but as disturbingly shifting, overlapping and contradictory, the play provocatively unbalances convictions of truth, ethical codes, violence and justice.

This edition also includes a preface with contributions from playwright Simon Stephens, German director Sebastian Nübling and Estonian dramaturg Eero Epner, discussing this uniquely collaborative and tri-lingual project.

The play was presented in Tallinn at Teater NO99 in Estonia on 17 September 2011, before opening at the Munich Kammerspiele, Germany, on 15 October 2011, and at the Lyric Hammersmith, London, on 3 May 2012.

Wastwater

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Set on the edges of Heathrow Airport, Wastwater is an elliptical triptych – a snapshot of three different couples who make a choice that will define the fallout of their future.

Harry is on the point of leaving England. Frieda knows she will never see him again.

Lisa and Mark are on the point of a sexual betrayal that takes them into a darker place than they ever thought possible.

Sian has a terrifying deal for Jonathan. She isn’t going to take no for an answer.

Wastwater was first performed at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Sloane Square, London on Thursday 31 March 2011. It received its Austrian premiere at the Wiener Festwochen, Halle G in MuseumsQuartier, Vienna on Saturday 14 May 2011.

Picture of Simon Stephens

Simon Stephens began his theatrical career in the literary department of the Royal Court Theatre, where he ran its Young Writers' Programme.

His plays for theatre include Bluebird (Royal Court Theatre, London, 1998, directed by Gordon Anderson); Herons (Royal Court Theatre, 2001); Port (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, 2002); One Minute (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, 2003 and Bush Theatre, London, 2004); Christmas (Bush Theatre, 2004); Country Music (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 2004); On the Shore of the Wide World (Royal Exchange Theatre and National Theatre, London, 2005); Motortown (Royal Court Theatre Downstairs, 2006); Pornography (Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hanover, 2007; Edinburgh Festival/Birmingham Rep, 2008 and Tricycle Theatre, London, 2009); Harper Regan (National Theatre, 2008); Sea Wall (Bush Theatre, 2008/Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 2009); Heaven (Traverse Theatre, 2009); Punk Rock (Lyric Hammersmith, London, and Royal Exchange Theatre, 2009); The Trial ofhe Trial of Ubu Ubu (Essen Schauspielhaus/Toneelgroep Amsterdam, 2010); A Thousand Stars Explode in the Sky (co-written with David Eldridge and Robert Holman; Lyric Hammersmith, London, 2010); Marine Parade (co-written with Mark Eitzel; Brighton International Festival, 2010); T5 (Traverse Theatre, 2010); and Wastwater (Royal Court Theatre Downstairs, 2011).

His radio plays include Five Letters Home to Elizabeth (BBC Radio 4, 2001) and Digging (BBC Radio 4, 2003). His screenwriting includes an adaptation of Motortown for Film4 (2009); the two-part serial Dive (with Dominic Savage) for Granada/BBC (2009); and a short film adaptation of Pornography for Channel 4's 'Coming Up' series (2009). Awards include the Pearson Award for Best New Play, 2001, for Port; Olivier Award for Best New Play for On the Shore of the Wide World, 2005; and for Motortown German critics in Theater Heute's annual poll voted him Best Foreign Playwright, 2007. His adaptation of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play.