When a refugee breaks into Joan's cellar, she must make a choice; does she hand him into the authorities, or help him make his escape. He makes a convincing argument; represented by an actor who speaks the lines, and a dummy who embodies them, he shows how a person can do only what they must do to survive and still be deemed illegal.
In his introduction, Edward Bond writes that 'In The Under Room the refugee is split into two, he is himself and the dummy. The white amorphous bundle sits on a chair at the centre of the stage and the trilogy. The refugee remembers the trauma of his past but forgets one thing. It is the thing that turns his trauma into the nihilism at the heart of the Greek Tragic. That nihilism is the Gods. When the Greek protagonist confronts them he creates his absolute humanness. But now there are no Gods. Instead the refugee creates humanness by offering it to the nihilist who has come to destroy him. Is this a gesture of immanent transcendence?'
The Under Room written in the later Bond's trademark bare language and raw interaction, highlights the conflict between our obligations to society's laws and our desire to help one another, and shows how these often irresolvable duties can lead to catastrophe for everyone involved.