What to Do if Your Husband May Leave by Mel Hudson

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Radio 4 Afternoon Play

BBC Radio 4, 16 January 2012
Mel (Mel Hudson) is in a mess. Her husband Dick (Richard Laing) is having an affair with a younger woman; one night Mel has to experience the indignity of hearing him in the act of coitus over the mobile. She has to look after three children; her GP Dr. Bryant (Laura Shavin) treats her with disdain; and her so-called 'friends' Nicky (Kate O'Sullivan) and Katinka (Mia Sotenou) are too wrapped up in themselves to take any notice of her.
Matters come to a head when Mel decides to track down Dick's lover in downtown Brixton. She goes to the local library, finds the lover's address, and is about to stage a showdown when she meets Daan (Richard Laing), a friendly-sounding American bearing a strong resemblance to one of the leads in the US drama series Mad Men. She befriends him; but does not realize that he is an alien, charged with transporting her away on a spaceship to another planet, where she will live a new life of relative peace and quiet. The rest of Hudson's play recounts her experiences, as she tries to adjust to alternative ways of living and being.
What to Do ... was constructed as an interior monologue, interspersed with frequent interpersonal exchanges, as Mel tried and failed to convince us that her life was under control. Increasingly reliant on pills and other tranquilizers to see her through each day, she had no one to turn to, either to offer her advice or even provide a sympathetic ear. The use of the interplanetary plot-device was a clever one, emphasizing the fact that alternative ways of living and being are available, so long as one is prepared to embrace rather than reject them. Although her loved ones might not have thought so, Mel ended up being happy in herself.
While Mel Hudson's play approached its subject-matter with a lightness of tone, it nonetheless had some trenchant things to suggest about how to deal with seemingly impossible obstacles, whether mental or physical.