Adapted from the acclaimed play, Experience (Hampstead Theatre, 2016), Embers follows Amy, a sexual surrogate, is employed to help a high-security psychiatric patient overcome his intimacy issues in order to make parole. incarcerated for 12 years, Dan must confront his dark past if he is to have any chance of freedom.
Written by Dave Florez
To be directed by Christian Cooke
Stonegrove Sexual Sunogacy clinic receive a challenging government contract: to treat a patient who bhasas neither spoken nor made physical contact with anyone, during the 12 years that he’s been incarcerated in a high-security psychiatric hospital. Amy, is assigned to the case. She must work to rehabilitate Dan so that he agrees to comply with counselling, in order to meet the demands of his parole hearing.
We see Dan in his cell at Ashworth psychiatric hospital: violent, mute and seemingly fully institutionalised. Dan is transported fom Ashworth to Stonegrove – the first time he has left in over a decade.
Amy, forbidden f om knowing why Dan was incarcerated, puts her fears to one side and begins her work. As the sessions pass by, she struggles to make progress, but Helen (her boss) needs her to make a breakthrough or Dan will fail and remain incarcerated indefinitely.
Pressure takes its toll on Amy’s relationship with her boyfriend, Joe. Dan is dangerous and Joe is worried. Just as she is about to give up, Dan speaks for the first time in 12 years. It’s now or never.
Feeling the clinical environment is stifling progress, Amy breaks protocol, taking Dan back to her flat. In a more personal environment, Dan starts to relax. They have sex – it’s tender, redemptive and encourages Dan to open up. He reveals what happened to his family; a heart-breaking, horrifying story. His mother and his two young brothers were burnt to death in their home by bis father.
Determined to face his past and find closure, Dan agrees to a restorative justice programme at Ashworth. We meet Dan’s victim, Carly, and her father Bill. Dan finally requests talk therapy with his counsellor and qualifies for parole. Amy has succ.eeded but she finds it bard to let him go. One post-course coffee turns into two and soon they’re meeting regularly. Dan realises their coffee meetings are against protocol and goes to confont Amy. She admits she felt he was taken from her too soon. She wanted him to feel like he could talk to her about what happened with Carly.
Dan finally tells her the t. agic truth of their suicide pact that went wrong. It’s here that Dan truly confronts his past and Amy finally feels ready to let him go.