Copyright: 1998

The Benefactor

a short hyperdrama by Billy Smart and Hannah Rudman

The hyperdrama was performed at Sutherland house (The Drama Department), Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey on June 15th - June 17th 1998 with the original cast.


A hyperdrama is a play that is written in hypertext, that is performed as a promenade and that is realised on multiple levels. Scenes happen simultaneously throughout a performance space. In this hyperdrama, there are five different locations where the action takes place. The scripts for the different locations are divided into levels which represent the time span of the piece (about 45 minutes real time). The table of scenes shows what happens at the same time. All the characters and locations in this hyperdrama are of equal importance. As a reader, you could follow the path of one character through the play by clicking on their hypertext links; read all the separate scripts in a linear fashion; or explore the hyperdrama more randomly by swapping between rooms via the hotlinks. You can read as much or as little as you like, but I'd appreciate it if you could take 30 seconds to fill in the questionnaire once you have completed your experience. Enjoy!

The Setting

A large, Victorian House off a road with extensive gardens. It is 1912. Inside:


Stairwell and foyer - an open and imposing space

The Nursery - off Stairwell

The Drawing Room - off Stairwell


The Bedroom

The Study

The Cast

The Family

Mr. Sutherland: Early sixties. An MP (Liberal, and in power) and benefactor. A merchant with a thriving family business that he wishes to pass down to his sons.

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Mrs. Sutherland: 55. A hypochondriac who married beneath herself. Keeps busy by hiding family scandal, and spying on her minor servants.

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Harley: 28. Their eldest son. More interested in black magic and prostitutes than the family business.

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Herbert: 18. A devout young man, aspiring to be a missionary in the lands with which his father trades.

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Georgina: 26. A suffragette, who spends her time organising meetings and rallies for "the cause". She enjoys shooting, and keeps horses.

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Vita: 22. An under-confident piano teacher, prone to bouts of depression.

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The Servants

Arthur: Early 50s. Butler of the household. Has known the children from birth. Kind and sensible.

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Ivy: 16. Young housemaid, not quite housetrained in her manners.

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Other Characters

Molly: 17. A prostitute, just starting out on the job. Naive and over-awed.

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Nell: 39? A very experienced worldly-wise prostitute. Out to get what the world owes her.

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Angry Farmer

Sad Farmer

Bewildered Farmer

Obsequious Farmer: Of various ages and sizes. All hoping to catch Mr. Sutherland on a good day

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The Devil: As herself?

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