by Polly Stenham
"Stenham shows us the world of a dysfunctional family where roles are never clear-cut and circumstances defy our expectations. The excellent cast capture these dilemmas with skill and conviction. The company are seamless. Swiftly and well directed by Darian Nelson… This is strong work from a brave and exciting local company..."
About the play
That Face premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in April 2007, and won the TMA Award 2007 for Best New Play. Polly Stenham received both the Charles Wintour Award 2007 and the Evening Standard Critics’ Circle Award 2008 for Most Promising Playwright.
In late 2009, the play was named at no. 9 in The Times Top Twenty Plays of the Decade. It also received three Olivier Award nominations before finding its’ way onto the set text list for Drama A Level.
When Mia is expelled from school for drugging and torturing another pupil, we are soon introduced to her seriously dysfunctional family. However, this is no poor, working class tale of drink, drugs and a broken marriage. Mia’s Daddy is rich…very rich! Polly Stenham’s blistering debut ”…is a hard hitting, intense and visceral dissection of children who become parents to their parents,” exploring Martha, a woman on the brink. As daddy flies in from Hong Kong to sort things out once and for all, Martha’s dependency on alcohol, anti-depressants and Henry her son increases. The uncomfortable end leaves the audience wondering who needs saving the most.
Stenham herself said of the play, : “I had been going to the Royal Court since I was a little kid and constantly seen plays set on council estates but seeing the people watching them wearing pearls. It seemed an inconsistency that needed to be addressed. I wanted to stress the fact that there are plenty of instances in real life where money has been the enabler of those desperate situations rather than the disabler. I hadn’t seen anything like that before.”