Director Juš A. Zidar
First Slovenian production
Translator Tina Mahkota
Director Juš A. Zidar
Opening February 2022
In 2007, British playwright Alexandra Wood won the prestigious George Devine Award for Most Promising Young Playwright for her play The Eleventh Capital. Her bibliography includes almost twenty plays for theatre and radio, many of them have been nominated for various British theatre awards (Susan Smith Blackburn Award and The Patrick White Playwrights' Award). In 2006 and 2007 she was the in-house dramaturg at the Finborough Theatre, London, and in 2013 she was Playwright in Residence at the Paines Plough Theatre. She lives in London.
Merit is a two-hander, featuring mother and daughter. Wood tackles various themes, focusing on delicate family relationships and a social and economic crisis which, as a consequence, has caused a multitude of traumas on various social micro-levels.
After her graduation, the daughter got a job as a personal assistant to an influential bank manager. The mother is convinced that she offered him sexual favours in return. But the manager is not a sexual predator and he is not a greedy rake. He lives an orderly and happy family life and is a very active charity worker. But the mother cannot be convinced of this. Since her husband has lost his job and the mortgage is at stake, the mother insists on getting an appointment with her daughter's boss to ask him to give her a job too. But things take a completely different turn.
Merit is an enquiry into a traumatic relationship between mother and daughter. The unfulfilled but domineering mother wants to maintain total control over her adult daughter's life by way of blackmailing. She competes with her in all areas, including her business career and her physical allure. She is jealous of her as a woman and as an unfulfilled person in terms of career. Their relationship is perilously black and white and unlifelike, although somehow believable and, unfortunately, often very common in reality.
Merit, however, also deals with the social fabric. It presents a socially deprived stratum of society that has been pushed to the brink of collapse by the system. People are losing their jobs and, as a consequence of non-payment of loans and mortgages, also their homes and social security. Even if the bank manager is by nature a philanthropist, a decent employer and, let us say, a socially conscious person, he is still a representative of a social class that lives at the expense of others, exploiting the poor for the benefit of the rich, and acts as a philanthropist only to ease his guilty conscience.
Merit poses many questions and does not give answers – what are we like and how should we live, how should we treat each other?
The play focusing on delicate family relationships and social crisis that has brought people to the brink of collapse.