Enda Walsh's The Small Things is a play about enforced silence that explores language and humanity’s need for words. It was first performed by Paines Plough as part of the ‘This Other England’ season at the Menier Chocolate Factory, London, on 28 January 2005.
The play is a two-hander, with two characters – known only as Man and Woman – occupying the stage, although they are separated by a deep valley. They talk about the small things – parquet floor zigzagging down corridors, the memory of your mother’s breasts, brown sauce and soggy chips. But these minutiae disguise a bigger story of brutality and unfaltering loyalty which emerges horrifically through the chit chat.
The Paines Plough production was directed by Vicky Featherstone and designed by Neil Warmington. It was performed by Valerie Lilley and Bernard Gallagher.
In his foreword to the collection Enda Walsh Plays: One (Nick Hern Books, 2011), Walsh writes: 'The Small Things was a play written about the relationship of my dead father with my still alive mother. It’s a tightly spun machine of a play that searches out silences. It has this ceaseless rhythm to it which I must have been conscious about when writing. It feels like it was written in one sitting. Of mine it’s still my favourite.'