Robert Holman wrote plays of startling beauty, combining close observation of the way people behave with a thrilling and often fiercely uncompromising mastery of dramatic form. He is the playwright most admired by other playwrights. To Simon Stephens, he was, until Holman’s death in 2021, ‘My favourite living writer’.
Here, in this selection from Holman’s first decade of playwriting, a monkey is taken for a French spy by an eighteenth-century fishing community; the inhabitants of a Greek island reside under the shadow of the atom bomb; and a group of lonely people converge on the North Yorkshire moors.
With an introduction written for this volume by Holman himself, Robert Holman Plays: One contains The Natural Cause (Cockpit Theatre, London, 1974), Mud (Royal Court Theatre, London, 1974), Other Worlds (Royal Court, 1983), Today (Royal Shakespeare Company, 1984) and The Overgrown Path (Royal Court, 1985).
‘Holman’s instinct for truth, and an unaffected ability to spot what’s poignant in it, is what one remembers: that, and a paradoxical impression of spare richness, astringent abundance’ The Times