Time: 15 mins
This is one of my more serious plays, I guess. It’s very hard for me to write sentimental things, as you might have figured. It’s obliqueness wrapped in a confetti bag of different ideas, but it all seems to fit together in a coherent(ish) plot.
Megan, a recent widow, has paid a corporation to “resurrect” a version of her husband built on his digital footprint, surveillance et al for one day (as you might imagine, the price is a heavy one in many ways). She has chosen Christmas Day as it’s a very special one for her.
First of all, a few months after this was on stage, I saw that Black Mirror (a TV series showcasing different SFnal scenarios) had something similar in its programming. I think it was called BRB and I was simply taken aback. I’m 100% sure that Charlie Brooker was not sitting in the audience that day but to see a similar idea on TV did startle me, I have to say.
The premise is obviously not a completely unique one, but I wanted to explore the dimension of unfinished business, the idea of unrequited love in a different sense. It is obviously about loss but it’s also a concept that can be lifted and applied to other models of thought. If you love someone and you have one chance to talk to them, would you be able to handle it? Would your mental movies at that stab of happiness never match up to the actual and it would fall apart?
There is a huge sense of awkwardness in this scenario – cognitive estrangement at its peak. Adam is her husband yet not her husband; he is a dual personality. What parts are him and what parts are constructed? How did this corporation create him?
I loved exploring this idea in rehearsals. The director, Sophie Moniram (an amazing director, I thoroughly enjoyed working with her) devised many exercises and workshops that brought out the dual nature in Adam (acted by Tom Jones) and the multifaceted reaction in Megan (acted by Fion Jones) in ways that astonished me. I could see my play in a whole different dimension and I’m so thankful for the experience.
Without spoiling too much, Megan has prepared herself in terms of questions to ask and things to do; but things always seem bigger in your head than what actually appears and she struggles to make sense of such a short time space in which to realise what is actually going on.
It’s amazing to see how script comes to life. I remember in the first run through of the play, I very nearly teared up (not something I usually do, mind. There are only some films/books/TV series that have done that to me). It’s one of the occasions where I knew that writing plays was for me above any other kind of medium.
A Christmas Gift was staged on the 14th December, 2012 at the Old Red Lion theatre in Angel.