We have the tools to enlighten and yet our world is darkening. We live in an era of pessimism and worry; we are hollowed out, lurching from crisis to crisis, with no faith that anything will improve, and no great hopes to sustain us. So what's the answer?
His first dramatic work since 2007, Haunted Child marks the return to the stage of accomplished, award-winning writer Joe Penhall. Looking at the bond between father and son, grief and persistent loss, the play questions the values of modern day family life.
When Douglas mysteriously abandons his wife and young son, his family are distraught but the police suspect another woman. Instead, from an innocuous training course on esoteric philosophy, he has been drawn into a 'group of like-minded people interested in living their lives in a specific, pre-ordained way according to the tenets of a spiritual leader.'
Is it a cult, draining the savings and the free thought of its followers, or does it offer a solution to the darkness and complexity of the flawed, contemporary world?
Haunted Child is an all-too plausible examination of people at sea within the modern-day material world and the attractive lure of spiritual release. With Penhall's trademark combination of dark humour and political import, the play also poignantly explores delicate family connections and a haunting sense of loss.