Play Title:   X
Playwright: Alistair McDowall
Date First Performed: 30 March 2016
First Theatre: The Royal Court Theatre: Jerwood Theatre Downstairs
Original Director: Vicky Featherstone
Setting: Pluto – a science base on the surface of the dwarf planet
Play Structure: Episodic
Play Style: Metamodernism, Science Fiction, Horror


“[T]he script is rich with mind-bending, knotty experiments with form.”
– Holly Williams, Independent

“X is a piece to be experienced rather than analysed. Go with it, and you’ll be treated to some chilling and thrilling moments of existential dread.”
– Suzi Feay, Financial Times

“[T]here is no denying McDowall’s talent or the sincerity of his dystopian vision…”
– Michael Billington, The Guardian

“The world on stage becomes a surreal place, a living nightmare, combining the panic of being absolutely alone in the vastness of space with the terror that comes with not being able to trust your own eyes and mind.”
– Jerald Pierce, Chicago Tribune

The Playwright’s Words on X

“What do you do with your life, once you’ve realised [sic], ‘I’ve only got this amount of time, I’ve got X’ – and you have to spend it in a box with people you’ve work with every day and you don’t like that much and it’s a ballache?” (Williams)

“I don’t think I could comfortably class it as science fiction: it’s a relationship drama that just happens to be set in space. […] I think there are people who are going to want X to be Alien, but really it’s about ‘Who am I?’”

Williams, Holly. “Alistair McDowall: the pioneering young playwright on setting a play on Pluto and sympathising with his critics.” Independent, Independent Digital News & Media Ltd, 20 March 2016, https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/features/alistair-mcdowall-the-future-of-british-theatre-on-setting-a-play-on-pluto-and-sympathising-with-his-critics-a6939136.html