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Forget It, It's History

    by Mark Henderson


       

Synopsis

The curtain opens to reveal middle-aged Cora Smith, dishevelled and drunk, surrounded by bottles, glasses, dilapidated furniture… and a heap of medical and scientific books and papers. She ignores the knocking at her door until it becomes insistent, and then learns that the would-be visitor is Julie Diggins, a woman about her own age. She refuses to admit Julie, especially when she believes she’s a journalist, but changes her mind when Julie addresses her as ‘Miranda Jarvis’. During the ensuing dialogue we learn that Cora was once Miranda Jarvis, a brilliant medical researcher, who while still a student made a discovery that at a stroke solved the problem of antibiotic resistance. This discovery made Phagopharm the world’s richest pharmaceutical company.

However, it was never attributed to Miranda. Miranda’s laboratory notebooks and computer hard drive were stolen by her friend Lisa Cooperson and Lisa’s colleague Heinz Kleinmann, both employees of Phagopharm. Miranda was accused of fabricating her data and dismissed from the university in disgrace. Lisa and Heinz shared with the phage expert Jan van Rimmel the Nobel Prize that should have been Miranda’s. At the height of their fame, Lisa and Heinz mysteriously died.

Cora/Miranda is furious with Julie for dragging up a past she’s trying to forget, and tries to deny having murdered the people who’d stolen her intellectual property. But Julie, who finally reveals herself as a senior CID officer, knows she’s guilty. She leaves Cora/Miranda three days to decide between: confessing to the crimes and receiving belated accolades for her great discovery; and running away, thus incurring the risk of pursuit, capture and interrogation.

The play ends as it began with Cora/Miranda alone on stage, drinking and staring into the distance. 


Duration

25-30 mins approx

Characters

(2f)

  • Cora Smith : 40s, aka Miranda Jarvis, has ceased to take care of herself, but is well spoken
  • Julie Diggins : 40s, speaks with something of a regional accent.