translated by Christopher Hampton
A famous author takes a train journey and sits opposite an unknown woman who's reading his latest book, The Unexpected Man. He observes her reading the novel but affects not to notice. Likewise, she pretends not to recognise that he is the writer. In bizarre, self-obsessed monologues these two characters relate memories, fears and ideas, never actually exchanging conversation until the very end of the piece. Entertaining and intellectually stimulating, Christopher Hampton's translation of Yasmina Reza's disquieting play explores the 'nostalgia of what doesn't occur', and raises questions about the ambiguous relationship between writers and readers.
The Unexpected Man in this translation was first performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at The Pit, Barbican Centre, London, in April 1998.