Cigarettes and Chocolate is an often funny play about protest, passion and the futility of personal revelations that spill out in the claustrophobic comfort of the English middle class. Playwright Anthony Minghella's wonderfully naturalistic and humorous dialogue takes a poetic look at the fragmented and cluttered lives of a group of close friends in their late 20s/early 30s. Minghella examines the desperate need to communicate and the inevitable disappointment and confusion that comes with over- (or mis-) communication.
Following along the lines of Plato's rule (the one who feels does not speak and the one who speaks does not feel), the play centers on Gemma, who suddenly gives up speaking. One by one, her stunned and baffled friends (boyfriend Rob, best friend Lorna , her not-terribly-secret admirer Alistair, and the eighteen week pregnant Gail) find themselves ripped from their everyday routine of espresso-drinking and self-involvement to confront their own culpability, real or imagined. The longer Gemma doesn't speak, the more her friends do - thus revealing to her their secrets, fears, longings and, ultimately, their indifference to real suffering. In doing so, they truly see each other - and themselves - for the first time.
"The recurring weakness of human beings seem to me to be leavened by the potential for good, for laughter, for boundless generosity, for healing. And, for love. " -- Anthony Minghella