A woman applies as a governess to a household of position in the country in England. She is interviewed by her employer, an old, over-powering, once-beautiful ex-hostess of London society. She is engaged (without references) to look after the granddaughter, whose mother has married again, and who leads her grandmother by the nose and exploits her caprices and her leaning towards Freudian explanations. The grandmother gardens - feverishly and ignorantly - as an escape from old age. The man-servant is a classless, ageless man, unhappy with life but with a "passion for the Right." He in turn is exploited by the grandmother and the granddaughter. Over the premises, unseen and chained by a stroke upstairs, there broods the evil influence and faded grandeur of the butler who has known all the magnificence of his employer's life in London. The Applicant - the "governess' - has done a life-sentence for murder and has only recently come out of prison. This fact swells like a mushroom cloud all through the play, and the cloud develops flames within it when the judge who once sentenced her comes to lunch.
COMING TO THE NEW HALL 18th to 21st October 2017 The Chalk Garden by Enid Bagnold