Henceforward...: Synopsis

Cast: 2 male / 3 female (plus 1 male / 1 female for pre-recorded footage)
Running time (approximate): - not including the interval
Acting edition: Published by Samuel French

In the near-future, the composer Jerome lives alone in a shuttered high-rise flat, safe from the roaming gangs outside who practically rule the streets. His only company is his beloved music technology and a malfunctioning robot, NAN 300F.

Jerome has been blighted by artistic block ever since his wife, Corinna, left with their daughter, Geain, years earlier. Desperate to see his daughter again (if only for artistic inspiration), he has decided to deceive his wife and a representative from the Department of Child Wellbeing. The key to this is the actress Zoë, who arrives at the flat having been attacked by the gang the Daughters Of Darkness en route. Hesitantly, she agrees to Jerome’s plan and the two discover a mutual attraction and make love. Zoë is later horrified to discover Jerome has recorded their lovemaking for potential material in his music. Distraught, she leaves.

Jerome reprogrammes and alters NAN to sound and look like Zoë. When Corinna, Geain and Mervyn, the social worker, arrive, Jerome introduces the robot as his new fiancée, Zoë. Corinna cannot believe how ‘perfect’ Zoë is, while Jerome is horrified to discover the daughter he longs to see is now claiming to be a boy and a member of the gang Sons Of Bitches – arch-rivals to the Daughters Of Darkness. Corinna admits she cannot cope with Geain and watches in disbelief as Zoë apparently calms Geain, who reveals Zoë is a robot. Zoë promptly knocks Mervyn out when he reveals the NAN androids are now banned due to fatal flaws and tries to release Geain. Meanwhile, the Daughters Of Darkness begin a siege of the flat. In the confusion, Corinna reveals she still loves Jerome and implores him to return with them, Jerome agrees and the rest of the family flee with Mervyn to a waiting car. NAN, having fulfilled her programming as a nanny, shuts down.

Just as Jerome leaves to join his family, he returns to his equipment and finds the sample of his wife’s declaration. Inspired by the passion and honesty of the word ‘love’, Jerome begins composing his masterpiece. On the view-screens we see his family desperately trying to get him to follow before being hounded away by the Daughters of Darkness - the implication being to their deaths. Jerome finishes his composition and sits, truly alone, in his flat accompanied only by the sound of stones rebounding off the steel shutters.

Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.

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