GERTIE, a forty-four year old actress at the peak of her career, befriends SAM, aged nineteen. He believes he can only ever be a black car park attendant, she believes she can be more useful than a mere actress. Each tries to argue the other out of the fond images they have of themselves. Fifteen years later, GERTIE'S career is in crisis. She's in love - unrequited - with KENNEDY, the younger black company manager who believes he's an 'artist' but who in fact is a born entrepreneur. The play explores acting as a metaphor for the false images of ourselves with which we fall in love.
"'Just acting'. Are you aware, Mr Phillips, that society normally uses the name of our profession as a term of abuse? 'Oh ignore her, she's just acting!' Are you aware, Mr Phillips, that every night I go out there in front of an audience and pretend to be who I am not? Are you aware, Mr Phillips, that if I did that in public life I'd be shunned, vilified, called a humbug, a fraud, a sham, a fake, a liar? But up there, made-up, lights bright, someone else's words of wit and brilliance, I can dissemble to my heart's content, it's acceptable, no one gives a toss. What is despised in a person off stage I am deceiving an audience to praise on stage. And the more convincingly I deceive the more they praise."
This play was world premiered in Tokyo, and has been running for three years in Budapest where the actress won a prestigious prize for her performance.
The two men need not be black but can be any kind of ethnic outsider.