"You make one decision. It stays with you. It's like the consequences of it get into your bones."
Set on the edges of Heathrow airport, Wastwater is an elliptical triptych - a snapshot of three different couples who make a choice that will define the fallout of their future.
Harry is on the point of leaving England and Frieda knows she will never see him again. Lisa and Mark are on the point of a sexual betrayal that takes them into a place darker than they ever thought possible. Sian has a terrifying deal for Jonathan and she isn't going to take no for an answer.
A reflective piece by a playwright at the height of his powers and career, Wastwater mimics the flexible and innovative form of Stephens's hit play Pornography with three overlapping, but detachable, parts which can be split and played in differing orders. The play contains Stephens's trademark combination of sensitive character depiction and tough confrontation with political choices. Wastwater is a meditative morality tale and a portrayal of modern-day relationships, formed and deformed by fatal decisions, inevitable consequences and fragile connections.
This volume also contains the monologue T5, which portrays a road trip below the heart of London and follows a darkly magical flight out of the edges of the 21st century.
Simon Stephens began his theatrical career in the literary department of the Royal Court Theatre, where he ran its Young Writers' Programme. His plays for theatre include Bluebird (Royal Court Theatre, London, 1998, directed by Gordon Anderson); Herons (Royal Court Theatre, 2001); Port (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, 2002); One Minute (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, 2003 and Bush Theatre, London, 2004); Christmas (Bush Theatre, 2004); Country Music (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 2004); On the Shore of the Wide World (Royal Exchange Theatre and National Theatre, London, 2005); Motortown (Royal Court Theatre Downstairs, 2006); Pornography (Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hanover, 2007; Edinburgh Festival/Birmingham Rep, 2008 and Tricycle Theatre, London, 2009); Harper Regan (National Theatre, 2008); Sea Wall (Bush Theatre, 2008/Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 2009); Heaven (Traverse Theatre, 2009); Punk Rock (Lyric Hammersmith, London, and Royal Exchange Theatre, 2009); The Trial of Ubu (Essen Schauspielhaus/Toneelgroep Amsterdam, 2010); A Thousand Stars Explode in the Sky (co-written with David Eldridge and Robert Holman; Lyric Hammersmith, London, 2010); Marine Parade (co-written with Mark Eitzel; Brighton International Festival, 2010); T5 (Traverse Theatre, 2010); Wastwater (Royal Court Theatre Downstairs, 2011); Morning (Lyric Hammersmith, 2012); an adaptation of A Doll's House (Young Vic, 2012); an adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (National Theatre, 2012); and Blindsided (Royal Exchange, 2014) . His radio plays include Five Letters Home to Elizabeth (BBC Radio 4, 2001) and Digging (BBC Radio 4, 2003). His screenwriting includes an adaptation of Motortown for Film4 (2009); the two-part serial Dive (with Dominic Savage) for Granada/BBC (2009); and a short film adaptation of Pornography for Channel 4's 'Coming Up' series (2009). Awards include the Pearson Award for Best New Play, 2001, for Port; Olivier Award for Best New Play for On the Shore of the Wide World, 2005; and for Motortown German critics in Theater Heute's annual poll voted him Best Foreign Playwright, 2007.