An international group of observers arrives in a West African country to oversee and rubber stamp its first democratic election. New voters queue in their thousands, but a senior member of the observation team finds herself both horrified by the president's suppressive tactics and, for once, in a position to do something about it. Yet as violence on the streets escalates and the country enters freefall, an increasingly angry young translator forces this well-meaning outsider to confront the impact of her intervention. People walked for six miles to vote. I've been doing this job for twelve years and I'm telling you that for the first time in what feels like a lifetime we can do something real here. The Observer by Matt Charman will be premiered at the National Theatre, London, in May 2009.
Matt Charman's first play, A Night at the Dogs (Soho Theatre, London), won the prestigious Verity Bargate Award for new writers. Other productions include The Observer, directed by Sir Richard Eyre, and The Five Wives of Maurice Pinder, and Greenland (written with Jack Thorne, Moira Buffini and Penelope Skinner), all three of which premiered at the National Theatre, London, where Charman was previously Pearson Writer in Residence. Regrets received its world premiere at the Manhattan Theatre Club in May 2012, while his next, The Machine, will premiere at the Manchester International Festival in May 2013, before being staged at the Armory in New York. He is a recipient of the Peggy Ramsay Award and the 2008 Catherine Johnson Award for Best Play for The Observer.