She is 88 and he is 93, and for 30 years she has provided “mistress services” in exchange for her own house and income. They live in a city on the west coast of America and the contract between them stipulates “all sexual acts as requested with suspension of historical, emotional and psychological disclaimers.” They were university friends who lost touch but met up again 20 years later when their lives had changed. In 2013 this real-life couple, who have retained their anonymity, published The Mistress Contract, a book based on intimate conversations they decided to record during the 1980s, in the early stages of their relationship.
Abi Morgan, screenwriter of The Iron Lady and BBC2’s The Hour, makes her Royal Court debut in an adaptation performed by Saskia Reeves and Danny Webb and directed by Vicky Featherstone. It promises to be one of the most unusual and intriguing new plays of the year, not least because you wonder why on earth they wanted everyone to know about their affair. She is allegedly a noted feminist; so, is the contract—which she drew up—a betrayal of that feminism, or an honest and radical redefinition of it?
The Mistress Contract, Royal Court, from 30th January