Oscar-winner Anthony Minghella’s delicate 1988 radio play gets a
niftily directed, neatly acted stage outing from Reading University.
Gemma has stopped speaking. Her anxious husband Rob and various of her
friends all try to talk to her, including the friend who’s in love
with her and another who’s been having an affair with the husband.
None get a response and yet by talking to her (or about her) they all
find themselves learning something about themselves. This is a therapy
play in all but name.
Gemma tells us in her final monologue (compellingly played by Louisa
Harris) that people are always “saying so much to say nothing”, that
silence now has a comfort to it that cigarettes and chocolate
previously had for her.
It’s a gem of a play and Dan Whateley and Joanna Lucas’ fluid
production engagingly gives the sense of a world rolling past Gemma
but somehow not quite touching her. Harris’ eyes, which raise once
(and thrillingly) in the course of her long silence, do all the work.
“You have the eyes” her friend tells her. She really does.
A fascinating play, and a poignant reminder of the great writer we