edited by Stuart Laing
The Arcata Promise is a study of the grotesque self-pity of an unstable actor, a merciless account of individual self-delusion and failure.
Once a successful actor, Gunge now lives in a grimy basement, arguing with a disembodied Voice and fantasising about violence. Glimpses of him prowling the stage as Richard II are intercut with memories of his relationship with Laura, a young woman who believed his promise of eternal devotion, but became gradually disillusioned as his alcoholism and hostility emerged. The sudden appearance of Tony, a valet, in Gunge’s squalid residence fractures Gunge’s reality and psyche even further, bringing Mercer’s story of tortured attraction to a destructive conclusion.
The Arcata Promise was first presented by Yorkshire Television in 1974.