A young couple is queuing at a cashier’s in Ikea when he suddenly suggests they have a baby. She’s caught off guard. His question triggers a chain reaction, since she was not even the least prepared for it. What does the future bring? Will they have to change their way of life? How, when and where to start this discussion at all? A concurrent sequence of ideas results in a positive answer. She says’ yes’. But this is only the beginning of the play.
First performed in 2011 and published in 2012, Lungs is a brutally honest take on a contemporary love story of two thirty-year-olds who live in constant uncertainty, while examining their value systems and fulfilling their personal ambitions. How is one to start a family if you have to complete your studies first and establish a successful career? How to take care of a child in the best possible way and not lose yourself along the way? Is it socially responsible even to consider having a baby in a world of political unrest and global warming? Questions are fired away in a furious pace, creating a hyper-real dialogue and establishing an unusual and complex relationship between the partners who unexpectedly find themselves at an important turning point in life.
Duncan Macmillan is considered one of the most intriguing authors of contemporary British drama. He is a playwright, theatre director and performer, working in theatre, film and television (mostly for the BBC). His plays are often directed by Katie Mitchell. In 2013, Lungs won Best New Play award at the Off West End Awards.
»I could fly to New York and back every day for seven years, and still not leave a carbon footprint as big as if I have a child. Ten thousand tonnes of CO2. That’s the weight of the Eiffel Tower. I’d be giving birth to the Eiffel tower.«
No matter how hard we try to lead our individual lives, filled with personal and private joys, love, fears, doubts, accomplishments and failures, we cannot escape the world at large. Where is one to draw a line then? Am I simply living my private life, or am I co-shaping our world, our planet? Where do my freedom and my responsibility begin and end? Am I, due to my trivial decisions, unconsciously changing the world, or is the world changing me unconsciously?
I'm the whole world. I'm everything. And I’m almost nothing at the same time, nothing but a sum of cells, a machine converting oxygen into carbon dioxide with my lungs, sometimes fast, sometimes slow.