By Abi Morgan
“Splendour” is the most relevant piece of theatre for our time.
In decadent state splendour on one side of town, world famous photo-journalist Kathryn awaits the soon-to-be deposed dictator. On the other, civil war rages. It gradually becomes clear to all, he has fled, leaving his Prada-wearing wife, Micheleine to entertain the woman. She does so with the aid of Gilma, a greasy-lipped, kleptomaniac interpreter. As the avenging crowd gets closer - hungry for blood - Micheleine offers Kathryn a somewhat different photo opportunity. Not the shot of the heroic dictator, but the 'before and after' of his kitten-heeled wife. After all, as Kathryn has realised, behind every great man…. How can she refuse?
Abi Morgan is a prolific writer whose credits include the Thatcher biopic, The Iron Lady, and the TV series, The Hour, set in a BBC current affairs department during the 1956 Hungarian revolution. But this early play, first seen at the Edinburgh Traverse in 2000, shows Morgan’s continuing fascination with the fragility of power and the unreliability of language. It is short, demanding and riveting.