We are looking for a co-producer to help us bring this to the stage
CHELSEA SMILES is a modern comic tragedy dealing with risk and responsibility.
When Matthew Fairbank fraudulently loses billions with his hedge fund he realises he has at most a few days before he will get discovered and goes home to have one last lunch with his family.
The disenfranchised family meet for the first time in years upon being summoned by the patriarchal father, an old banker.
A perfect storm erupts when it becomes clear that father has passed on the whole of the estate to his oldest son leaving nothing to the younger siblings, and now, because of Matthew's fraudulent debts, the family stands to lose everything.
The producer's showing will be
Above The Arts Theatre
Friday the 21st of October
CURRENT PRODUCTION-CHELSEA SMILES
Initial costume design - by Isa Shaw-Abulafia
Evil banker? This play deliberately challenges this stereotype.
The main question of the play is "At what point does something make you a bad person?"
Is something reprehensible only if you get caught?
Which evil weighs higher? Little white lies to mum and dad, a touch of entrepreneurial extortion, perhaps indecently exposing your sibling... And which of these will crack the Victorian facade of this modern English family?
The story is an artificial extention of what may have happened if the real life trader Kweku Adoboli had been picked up by the police at the height of his trading losses.
Factually he reclaimed most of it and lost "only" 1.4bn pounds. He was sentenced to prison for seven years and was released in 2015 having served just under three. This means he spent a day in prison for every 2.1 million pounds he embezzled.
The City of London Police said, "This was the UK's biggest fraud, committed by one of the most sophisticated fraudsters the City of London Police has ever come across". And yet, only few have heard of Kweku Adoboli.
Brexit has opened a lot of questions like: When is it right for me to care about myself more than about others? Am I still a good person if I think we shouldn't allow refugees into the country? Do the British not have a right and a duty to protect themselves, even if it is at the expense of others? At the core of these questions are moral values learnt and propagated through families into society. This play asks the question if we need to re-evaluate these values for modern times and if so then is the family more important than the individual?
A bit of reading material:
This article from the FT will give you a good insight into the core question. Kweku is always described as a nice guy who did wrong. I've contacted Lindsay Fortato who wrote the article and want to see if I can get an interview with her or even better Kweku. Unlikely, but if I do get something I could use then that would of course be great.
A few notes:
-I believe this is an ensemble piece.
-The structure of the play is a deliberate cross between "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe" and "The Winslow Boy". A modern upper middle class family in a crumbling Victorian setting.