The Children

By Lucy Kirkwood

The Children
Paperback, 96 pages Online Price:
ISBN: 9781848426184
Format: 198mm x 129mm
Imprint: Nick Hern Books
Published: 17th November 2016
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Category: Modern drama (post-1945)

Series: NHB Modern Plays

First Staged: Royal Court Theatre, London, 2016

Want to perform this play? Click here.

'Retired people are like nuclear power stations. They like to live by the sea.'

Two ageing nuclear scientists in an isolated cottage on the coast, as the world around them crumbles. Then an old friend arrives with a frightening request.

Lucy Kirkwood's play The Children premiered at the Royal Court, London, in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs on 17 November 2016, in a production directed by James Macdonald.

Extra content: watch an interview with Lucy Kirkwood recorded on the set of The Children on 2 December 2016, courtesy of the Royal Court...

'Sly, gripping, darkly funny… this is sci-fi kitted out with real people, real dilemmas, real scope. It’s really good'

- The Times

'A richly suggestive and beautifully written piece of work, provoking questions that will continue to nag and expand in your mind… the genius of the play is to embed its pressingly topical preoccupations in a humane, tragicomic scenario that is never, despite the circumstances, portentous or clangingly apocalyptic in tone… The Children consolidates my view that Kirkwood is the most rewarding dramatist of her generation'

- Independent

'Grips compulsively... genuinely disturbing... leaves you an abundance of ideas on which to ruminate'

- Guardian

'A far-reaching, unsettling play about legacy, survival and responsibility… deceptively lightly written and often tartly funny… Kirkwood tackles huge themes and poses tough, even shocking questions, but weaves them into a droll script that both chastises and sympathises with her characters… there are shades of Beckett, of Sartre's Huis Clos and of Priestley's An Inspector Calls here, but Kirkwood has her own bittersweet style'

- Financial Times

'Meticulous writing… has a pressing, provocative question at its heart – about the responsibility of the older generation towards the younger... [this] is Fukushima meets The Archers, and it's marvellous'

- Telegraph

'A witty, slippery play of debate as well as an engaging character study… Kirkwood’s play presses a whole raft of buttons, and does so with skill and precision'

- The Stage

'Remote as Butterworth, cruel as Pinter, but sad too… Kirkwood instils a fine mood – a heavy, melancholic languor – and speckles the play with moments of crack theatricality'

- WhatsOnStage

'A moving inversion of the kitchen sink drama… birth and death, living and dying, love and loss, children and parents – all of these ideas collide and crumble in Kirkwood’s nuclear reactor of a text'

- Exeunt Magazine

Lucy Kirkwood is a British playwright and screenwriter whose plays include: The Children (Royal Court Theatre, 2016); Chimerica (Almeida Theatre & West End, 2013; winner of the 2014 Olivier Award for Best New Play, the 2013 Evening Standard Best Play Award, the 2014 Critics’ Circle Best New Play Award, and the Susan Smith Blackburn Award); NSFW (Royal Court, 2012); small hours (co-written with Ed Hime; Hampstead Theatre, 2011); Beauty and the Beast (with Katie Mitchell; National Theatre, 2010); Bloody Wimmin, as part of Women, Power and Politics (Tricycle Theatre, 2010); it felt empty when the heart went at first but it is alright now (Clean Break & Arcola Theatre, 2009; winner of the 2012 John Whiting Award); Hedda (Gate Theatre, London, 2008); and Tinderbox (Bush Theatre, 2008).

She won the inaugural Berlin Lee UK Playwrights Award in 2013.

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