James Graham

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Plays by James Graham

Albert's Boy

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Graham’s portrait of Einstein’s tortured conscience is delightfully tinged with both homely and black humour, in a play that is nonetheless deeply serious about questions of pacifism and necessity.

It is 1953 and Albert Einstein’s house is empty, his cat is missing, he can’t unify the fields of relativity and particle physics and he can’t escape his guilt. When a family friend, newly released from a POW camp, comes to visit, a warm reunion soon becomes a collision of opposing beliefs on the subjects of evil, the winning of wars and the construction of the atomic bomb. Albert’s Boy is both a fascinating biographical sketch and a passionate duet about the ethics of moral responsibility. The play premiered at the Finborough Theatre in 2005.

Eden's Empire

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Eden’s Empire is a powerful historical play about Anthony Eden’s infamous term as Prime Minister, a gripping account of power and political mistakes.

Fifty years ago, Britain propelled itself into a disastrous war in the Middle East. Condemned by the UN and accused of falsifying intelligence, the Prime Minister was left fighting for his political life against a Party disillusioned, a public betrayed and a wily Chancellor with ambitions to take his place.

Under the pressure of opposition to his war, Prime Minister Anthony Eden rapidly lost his grip on both the Empire and his health. Unable to control either the growing power of both the United States and the Arab world, or his own failing body, history would mark him as the worst British Prime Minister of the twentieth century.

Graham’s uncompromising political thriller explores with electrifying theatricality the events of the Suez Crisis, and the tragic story of its flawed hero – Churchill’s golden boy and heir apparent, Anthony Eden.

Eden’s Empire was first performed at the Finborough Theatre in 2006.

A History of Falling Things

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A History of Falling Thingsis a delicate and affecting play, which opens with a boy being hit on the head by a shoe falling out of the sky.

Jacqui and Robin are keraunothnetophobiacs – prisoners of their fear of falling things.Restricted to living indoors, Jacqui and Robin meet online even though they live only a few streets away. As their relationship strengthens, despite the gap of open sky between them, they begin to confront their fear and to discover what is real in their lives.

A History of Falling Things is a gentle love story that is fearful, funny and moving. It premiered at the Clwyd Theatr Cymru in 2009.

The Man

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Graham presents an affectionate and funny portrait of a year in the life of one nervous self-employed man, pieced together from receipts, shopping and commercial transactions. With a web of narratives, the play's structure is innovative and flexible; in performance, each receipt triggers a unique story and the actor plucks the receipts from the audience's hands at random.

Ben has been dreading his self-assessment form, with every transaction evoking the good times and the bad – memories of things gone wrong, gone right, journeys taken, relationships that have begun and ended. Prompted by frequent calls to the Inland Revenue helpline, Ben relives the humiliations, successes and tragedies of the last twelve months, stitching together his memories of the Tax Year 2009/2010 from tiny scraps of paper.

The Man opened in 2010 at the Finborough Theatre, London.

This House

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

This House is a timely and relevant political comedy, exploring Westminster and the 1974 hung parliament.

In the run-up to the General Election pressure mounts as squabbling whips attempt to attract key regional votes. As it becomes clear the results will be closely balanced, the play tracks the formation, perils and consequences of a coalition government, including the compromises, conflicts and power games all in the interest of gaining control of Parliament.

With well-paced, witty and waspish dialogue, This House playfully explores the childish digs and chauvinistic attitudes that riddle political life. Award-winning playwright James Graham combines comedy with comment in this portrayal of the strain between the thinking individual, the pressure to toe the part line and the end goal of winning government.

This House had its world premiere at the Cottesloe Theatre, London, on 25 September 2012.

The Whisky Taster

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Ad executive Barney suffers from synaesthesia, a neurological condition that translates one type of sense perception into another, so that colours may have a taste, or sounds a smell.

Barney and his partner Nicola utilize his condition to win a pitch for an ad campaign for vodka and bring in a Scottish whisky taster to help them develop their ideas. Instead, his musings on whisky and life gradually transform their relationship.

A funny and satirical picture of advertising, love, and alcohol, The Whisky Taster premiered at the Bush Theatre, London, in 2010.

Picture of James Graham

James Graham won the Catherine Johnson Award for the Best Play 2007 for Eden's Empire. His previous plays include Albert's Boy (recipient of a Pearson Playwriting Bursary) Little Madam (Finborough), Tory Boyz (Soho Theatre), The Man (Finborough), The Whisky Taster (Bush), Sons of York (Finborough) suddenlossofdignity.com (Bush) and This House (National Theatre). James is writer-in-residence at the Finborough Theatre and also writes for TV and film.