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Stills from the film of Mind the Gap 2011
by Abi Bown

A young girl is pushed under a train at an East London tube station. The culprit, Dino, an 18 year old male with a history of substance abuse, is convicted of her murder and is due to be sentenced.

The girl’s boyfriend,
Vijay, standing next to her at the time of the murder, is undergoing counselling for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 6 months on and Vijay leaves the security and comfort of his family home to go on a relatively short journey across London to the Law Courts where Dino is about to be sentenced.

For Vijay it is the ultimate test of his ability to cope with the aftermath of Tania’s death. If he can get to the court by public transport, alone, under his own steam to see Dino ‘sent down’, then a spell will be broken and, he concludes, the tortuous six months of constant flash-backs, panic attacks and blackouts will evaporate.

With Dino incarcerated Vijay reasons, he can become a whole person again, his tortured psyche can be eased, he can forget what he was made to witness on that fateful day.

Armed with his coping mechanisms garnered through months of therapy, Vijay makes it onto the bus. At the entrance to the tube station, however, he has a vision of his girlfriend’s killer, panic overrides him and he blacks out.

When Vijay comes to, only seconds later, he is alarmed to find himself underground on the station platform. Fearful that he is now indeed living his nightmare, he searches for a way out but all exits are blocked. There appears to be some sort of security alert, the next train is 58 minutes away - Vijay has to sit right there in the heart of his panic and fear.

Luckily he has company -
Maya an old woman who surfs the tubes travelling from stop to stop, and Silas, the kiosk owner on whose platform Maya invariably finds herself. Silas and Maya take it upon themselves to come to Vijay’s aid, slowly drawing out from him the story of his girlfriend’s death. What they don’t know is that the party is soon to be gatecrashed by a 4th mind, who has followed Vijay into the underground and is set to haunt him.

Dino, Tania’s killer is now on the platform and Vijay must confront him and his own ambivalent feelings towards the boy who snuffed out his girlfriend’s life. Maya’s story weaves in and out of Vijay’s own. She revisits her past and contemplates her future whilst the present, like her memory can elude her. She has a diagnosis of suspected Alzheimer’s Disease, the terminal neurological decline is in it’s early stages but Maya has taken to wandering away from her family to find solace in the tubes of the underground system. She is insightful of her condition but is easily disorientated and can no longer decipher what is past or present with any great confidence.

Did she or didn’t she keep the appointment she made with the son who had travelled across the world to be reunited with her? Tragically, she can’t remember, but as the story of Vijay’s pain is played out before her on the platform, the others are able to help her piece her story together and she gets an answer.

Silas, the great listener who counsels the sad and the bad, the lost and the wasted, plays ringmaster and Devil’s Advocate. In the ‘underground time’ in which the character’s find themselves, until the trains are running again and a ‘good service’ is restored, Silas organises mind games and party tricks, ever expanding the themes of memory, forgetting and remembering.

He embraces the challenge of keeping everyone talking and encourages Vijay to take his story to its ultimate conclusion. Vijay is at last alone on a deserted platform with Dino, the tube train is about to come in - what will he do?

© Y Touring Theatre Company an operation of Central YMCA , registered charity No. 213121, Tel: 020 7520 3090 Fax: 020 7520 3099. YMCA ® and Theatre of Debate ® are a registered Trade Marks of Central YMCA in Great Britain and Northern Ireland© 2008 Y Touring Theatre Company an operation of Central YMCA , registered charity No. 213121, Tel: 020 7520 3090 Fax: 020 7520 3099 Contact Y Touring