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Fragile is a short dialogue between Jack, a client of a mental health care centre, and Caroline, the centre director. The dialogue takes place in Caroline’s front room late at night. Jack has learned the centre is to be closed down. He thinks he know a way to save it from closure and he has broken in to Caroline’s house to tell her about his plan.

In this play Jack is played by an actor but Caroline is played by the audience who read their lines off a screen projecting the words in Power Point.

Fragile was written for the Theatre Uncut Project in which a number of writers wrote plays in response to cuts in public services. Mark Ravenhill and I had discussed a joint protest project exploring the issues. Later Mark made contact with Hannah Price and Libby Brodie who made the whole extraordinary project come alive. All six plays were then premiered in a short run at Southwark Playhouse before a day of action in which they were performed simultaneously by over 80 groups all across the UK.

I’m sorry Jack.

It’s all so complicated.


No, it’s not complicated Caroline, it’s simple. When someone says it’s complicated what they really mean is ‘it’s simple but it’s something I don’t want to say. So I’ll say it’s complicated and avoid saying it.’

It’s simple, Caroline.

We don’t matter enough.

I’ve only experienced one performance of Fragile. It was at a benefit to raise money for Tom McGrath’s Playwriting Trust. Keiran Hurley played Jack. It was great to see. Keiran was brilliant and nuanced and very moving. But I also loved hearing the audience play Caroline. I was surprised how much I could distinguish individual voices within the crowd and hear people performing their lines – trying to find the emotion in them. The more people did this, the more the whole crowd seemed to have it’s own, human, voice.

Title: Fragile
Premier Place and Date:
Director and Producing Company:
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Translation Details: None
Foreign Performances: None
Awards, Prizes:
Characters:  (Male -  Female – )