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Colin Ackers (Mark Gilbert) is waiting at the airport for his wife Janice,
when suddenly he espies Abigail (Stella Weddell), coming towards him in the arrivals lounge. The sight of her prompts memories
of an affair the two of them had in 1984, when Colin was a junior lecturer and Abigal an undergraduate. However the passage
of time proves cruel to both of them, as they realize that they can never experience the feelings they once had for one another.
Stella pecks him on the cheek and moves off towards the taxi-stand, leaving Colin to wait for his wife once more.
E. M. Forster once coined a phrase - "only connect" - to describe the difficulties
people of different ages and cultures have in relating to one another. This was the principal theme of Rachel Cochrane's production.
Colin had an idealized image of Abigail as "timeless and ethereal" - someone who could be charged with "breaking and entering"
into his life; Abigail admitted that she had fallen in love with Colin's voice while listening to his lectures at university.
However Abigail came to understand the truth about Colin; he was at heart an unambitious man who preferred
to spend his life in obscurity rather than pursuing any hopes and dreams. Abigail herself found life in Britain rather stultifying,
and had emigrated to Australia instead. When the two of them met at the airport, they realized that they had nothing
This sense of alienation was emphasized by the fact that neither Colin nor Abigail conversed
with one another. They spoke in monologues addressed direct to listeners, communicating what they had said in reported
The play made some trenchant statements about the "dead hand" of history. While
Colin tried to render the subject interesting for his students, he remained imprisoned by the past
in his private life, with his shabby clothing and wispy hair. Abigail appeared to look forward to the future with her fashionable
attire and love of popular culture. However this proved nothing more than an illusion: it was clear when she reappeared at
the airport that history had not been kind to her. Her face was wrinkled; her failed marriage left her emotionally drained;
and she clearly did not relish the prospect of returning to England for her father's funeral. Author A. J. Kirby showed
how no one can free themselves from history; what matters is how they come to terms with it.
History and Her Story was a melancholy piece, ably performed by Mark Gilbert
and Stella Weddell; the story of two good-willing but fundamentally lonely people.