Published: 28/05/2015
ISBN: 9781784622367
eISBN: 9781784628697
Format: Paperback/eBook

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I was born in Sussex but spent most of my childhood in west London. After graduation I worked in Africa, in the pharmaceutical industry, in scientific research and, most recently, in government servic... read more

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Murchison's Fragment
and other short plays for stage and radio
by Roger Curtis

“You’re mine in the next world, right?”
“Might come sooner than you think.”

Murchison’s Fragment brings together nineteen plays – mostly for stage but with three for radio – that range from a deceptively frivolous, if macabre, 10-minute monologue to an uncompromising 45-minute study of imprisonment and torture based upon a real-life situation.

In between are tales of ambition, greed and human frailty, here and there touching upon horror and the supernatural. Throughout, we encounter flawed individuals getting their comeuppance or – just as likely (and unjustly) – escaping it; elsewhere, others less deserving succumb to forces beyond their control. Some of the plays are unambiguously and intentionally serious: one, for example, follows the adventures of a boy within the autistic spectrum, determined to do a good deed but failing to realise the cost of his actions; another concerns reparations to Kenyans who suffered under the colonial administration during the Mau Mau insurgency; a third offers a challenging and doubtless contentious interpretation of a New Testament episode – the resurrection of Jesus. Other plays may appear lighter, even humorous, although darker threads almost always run through them.

‘Murchison’s Fragment’, which lends its title to the collection, is a story of lost opportunity set in London and east Africa; here the protagonist unwisely allows lust to overcome reason, with far-reaching consequences. The collection ends with a romantic love story in which a formidable barrier to a fulfilling relationship unexpectedly falls away. For each play a synopsis is provided, with additional notes where there is background interest.

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