The playwright and philosopher Alexander Matthews is delighted to present the debut of two of his witty social dramas at Covent Garden’s Tristan Bates Theatre in spring 2018. ‘Screaming Secrets’ and ‘Glass Roots’ will have back-to-back runs and will form the first Alexander Matthews Season in the UK.
Alexander Matthews had a privileged but haphazard upbringing into the literary world. Robert Graves and Laurie Lee were regular visitors. And James Thurber came to stay once or twice. His father TS Matthews wrote an unauthorised biography of TS Eliot. Martha Gellhorn, his stepmother, was the third wife of Ernest Hemingway.
Alexander taught Philosophy in a number of universities between 1975 and 1989. In 1986 he was awarded a Visiting Fellowship to Princeton University. His published book is called ‘A Diagram of Definition’; he also published a paper arguing against ‘the big bang theory’. He wrote three poetic dramas including ‘Screaming Secrets’ in 2001 and ‘Glass Roots’ in 2003 and currently resides in Devon.
Since it was founded in 1999, Alexander has chaired the Martha Gellhorn Trust Prize Committee which offers an annual prize for journalism, for the kind of reporting that distinguished Gellhorn: “the view from the ground”…essentially a very human story that penetrates the established version of events to arrive at the truth. It is little wonder that Alexander’s own works offer a deep and fascinating study into the minutiae of human behaviour.
‘SCREAMING SECRETS’ explores our need to be understood and appreciated. It places relationships and moral dilemmas under scrutiny through the power of the writer’s philosophical lens. What do we do when we’re faced with our own mortality? How do we tell our family and friends and what should we do with the time that’s left? These are the questions that face philosopher and free thinker Antonio as he discovers, by accident, at his own birthday party, that he’s not as healthy as he thinks. Surrounded by an irascible father, a dramatic sister, flirty girlfriend, drunken publisher and apologetic doctor, Antonio has to make up his mind rapidly. “We all have secrets,” says Alexander Matthews, “but because life is so fragmented and fast moving, and we all have widely different agendas, when we do open our hearts (and scream our secrets) we are often not heard or understood…at least on our own terms or indeed, above the cacophony of modern life.”
‘GLASS ROOTS’ is about bullying: what happens when you are bullied and are powerless to fight back? Can you survive with your psychology intact or is the damage permanent? This is the terrible ordeal faced by Sadjit and Thila, owners of a popular Indian restaurant in east London when they are terrorised in their own place of work by racist thugs. ‘Glass Roots’ addresses the violent clash of ignorance, racism, class and jealousy and wonders at the outcome; will the perpetrators get what they want and will the victims survive with a renewed purpose?
The Alexander Matthews Season
Tristan Bates Theatre, 1A Tower Street, London WC2H 9NP
Dates: January 31st to February 24th
Previews: January 31st to February 4th
February 28th to March 24th
Previews: February 28th to March 4th
Box office: 020 3841 6611 and online at www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk