Me and My Friend

Categorized as a black comedy, Me and my Friend is a very funny and extremely powerful play that explores the relationships between two odd couples. It can be performed as a full-length play, or two one-act plays ('Me and My Friend' and 'My Friend and I', plus a concluding act).

The production tells the story of four individuals (Bunny, Oz, Julia and Robin) who have recently been released from a psychiatric hospital into the 'Care in the Community' scheme -- an early-release program for mental health patients. They are housed by the social welfare system in two small Council flats in a modern English urban setting. They are encouraged to find jobs and make their way back into the civil and social structures that had earlier judged them mentally unfit by courts of law.

Bunny and Oz (two men who are both around 40 years old) conduct fantasy interviews for jobs they will never get, while the two women, Julia and Robin (in their late 20s - early 30s) try to 'make plans' as urged to do by the hospital. The action switches between the everyday and the characters own psychosis. In a series of interactions and monologues they share with us their hopes and dreams.

Robin and Julia are trying to save Dr. Pepper cans so they can go to France and be proper travelers. Their psychiatric problems come to the fold when a red dress is sent through the post with no note attached. Robin suffocated her son but refuses to accept the fact that he is dead, while Julia is former prostitute obsessed with Welshmen.

The four patients meet when Oz throws a party. They all desperately attempt the niceties of social intercourse -- with disastrous results when everything that can go wrong, does.

In this story we observe the often poignant, sometimes hilarious struggles of these four individuals as they try to adjust to life after their confinement in psychiatric institutions. Ms. Plowman has created four flawed and fragile human beings from the deep insight of her practice and experience. The play is a delicate social and human document.

About the Playwright

Gillian PlowmanGillian Plowman explains what led her to write this play: "My eldest daughter left home at 18 to study in Portsmouth, and was surrounded by ex-psychiatric patients trying to cope with the 'outside world.í There was not enough accommodation for students and patients in the city and whereas she had the support of family, tutors and peers, there was nothing for the patients, who floundered. Without support and understanding, we could all be there - floundering. What does it take in a stressful life to make us crack? Thatís sort of why I wrote it. Drama helps people to understand. I just wanted people to understand. And not condemn."

Gillian Plowman's writing receives wide recognition for its ability to entertain and to handle important and sensitive topics with humour and insight. Many of Ms. Plowmanís one act and one full length play have been published and they are constantly being performed in festivals. Because they are challenging to perform and enjoyable to watch the release of each new play is eagerly awaited by an ever increasing circle of admirers. Me and My Friend won Gillian the 1988 Verity Bargate Award. It was produced at Soho Poly in 1990 with many productions worldwide since including translation into Danish.

[Source: Gillian Plowman]

Burlington Little Theatre

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