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Plays by Alan Richardson


When a Man Knows
One Act Drama

  • First performed by the Old Nick Theatre Company at the Performing Arts Centre, Elizabeth College, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, August 2003 .
    The first U.K. Performance at the King’s Head Theatre, London, June 2004. 
  • Short-listed in the SCDA Play on Words Competition and in the Drama Association of Wales Short Play Competition.
  • 20 Productions in the UK and Australia.
  • 20 festival awards including winning play (2), runner-up (5), best director (2),
    best actor (5), best actress, best sound and best lighting.
  • Also adapted as a One Act Opera by composer Robert Hugill. First concert performance, London, June 2010. First staged performance the Bridewell Theatre, London, March 2011.
  • Published by Stagescripts Ltd.

Characters (1m 1f)

Edward Harris:  A businessman (any age)
Pamela:  An unknown woman (aged to match Edward)

The Setting: A deserted factory   Running Time: 40 minutes


Inside a dark and derelict factory, a man sits alone in a chair. His head is covered by a hood. He is handcuffed and his leg is manacled to a length of chain attached to a large concrete block. He is Edward, the managing director of a high-tech company. A few hours earlier, he was grabbed from behind in his company car park, a bag thrust over his head and bundled into the back of a van.

He thinks he is alone, but discovers he is being held captive by an unknown woman. She reveals that they have met before, but even after his hood is removed, he insists that he doesn’t know her. She knows him as Eddie and reminds him that she is Pamela. He tries to negotiate his freedom, but she is determined that all she wants is justice. For what?

Her reason dates back to a chance meeting on holiday two years previously. He finally admits that he does remember her and their brief sexual encounter, one of many he had on the same holiday. When he goads her by telling her that if she was that desperate to see him again, she could have just phoned, he makes a lunge for her, but she quickly moves out of his chained reach. If she’ll unlock his manacle and let him go, he promises not to harm her. But the harm is already done. He has given her Aids.

He protests that he didn’t know he was HIV positive, but she has proof that he was diagnosed four months before they met. Not only has he infected her, but probably other women on the same holiday, and many more on subsequent holidays. But he callously shrugs this off by asking why a medical condition should stop him from having fun.

Eddie concludes that he isn’t being held for ransom, or being turned over to the law, or finished off with a bullet. So what does Pamela intend to do to him?

His final fate is chillingly revealed in a powerful and challenging two-hander, described by the director of its première production in Australia as “Fantastic, dark, disturbing, imaginative, compelling and intriguing”.

"A powerful chilling two-hander... Exceptionally tense" - Amateur Stage

"Pleasure to perform such a powerful script"
 -Llandinam Drama Group

"Dark, disturbing, imaginative, and yet compelling and intriguing piece of writing" - Director, Goldfields Repertory Club, Australia

"A chilling piece of writing... an excellent choice for a festival entry" - GODA Adjudicator

Superb… very well received” - New Theatre Players, Hinckley

A well-written and powerful two-hander which packs quite a punch” - Samuel French

Cheadle Amateur Theatrical Society Llandinam Amateur Drama Group FifteenB Productions, London

The Worst Day of My Life