I read this play in my Literature class not too long ago but cannot remember the name, nor find any clue of it on the internet. It's rather short -- we got through the majority of it in the hour lesson -- and only had a small handful of characters. If I remember remember correctly each scene had only two characters. The idea of the play was some kind of surgery but I cannot recall precisely what it was (euthanasia is what comes to mind but I wouldn't rely on that). There was some level of showing the "patient" the medical instruments and I think both the patient and the operator (or maybe it was just a receptionist or clerk or something) were female, but on account of my being the only male in the class I can't be sure that the characters were female.

There was some degree of coldness by the operator/receptionist. It was encouraged that they do not make a connection with the patient but the two end up talking anyway.

I almost want to say the patient was a journalist of some kind. Almost, so (s)he may not have been. I'm sure (s)he knew quite a bit about the procedure though.

There was a lengthy section where the C-word reigned supreme, literally in the form of declaring the person (s)he's talking to is one, (s)he themselves is one, everyone is one and the whole world is full of them.

It was set in a dystopian world and was most definitely a play rather than a novel.

Does anyone recognise this play?

1 Answer 1


I think you're referring to "The Cut" by Mark Ravenhill.

It's dystopian, there's a patient, there's a receptionist and there's an enormous amount of swearing.

As the play unravels, the cut is presented as a painful, immoral, controversial and ambiguous surgery, that cures a patient or victim from desire, or maybe even personality. It is apparently destined to dissidents and/or sick people but its virtues also make it attractive as a mean of freedom and salvation. The cut is pictured as a death of some sort, but leaving open to interpretation what part of the patient is dying.

In the first part, Paul is reluctant to administrate the cut to a willing patient, and in the course of his frustrations and failure to convince him otherwise, let explode his angst and impotency to commit suicide, confessing in particular his deficient relationship with his wife.

In the second part, Paul is shown in the context that seems to put the most strain on him: his family life. We see him waiting for and having dinner with his wife, from whom he his holding secret—out of guilt—the real nature of his activities for the government. The two have a conversation that progresses from chit-chat to a maddening and humiliating confrontation.

In the last part, Paul is in jail as a result of the cut being banished from a new Government, and is visited by his son, with whom he shares an equally emotionally disturbed and alienated conversation.

  • spot on. I was annoyingly close with the title. I, er... thought it was the most common word in the play and is only an extra letter away from The Cut. Thank you very much
    – Mac Cooper
    Commented Apr 5, 2014 at 11:43

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