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20 Cigarettes

20 Cigarettes is a play and radio play written by Marcy Kahan.

20 Cigarettes
Written byMarcy Kahan
CharactersOscar Klavier
Date premiered2007
Place premieredSoho Theatre

It was performed between 15 August and 30 August 2007 at the Soho Theatre for the National Youth Theatre. The theatre developed the play in response to the introduction of the smoking ban in England, asking how smoking forms part of our identity.[1][2]



Oscar Klavier has been a smoker since his mother introduced him to cigarettes as a schoolboy. As a middle-aged man, the women he loves gives him an ultimatum: she will only marry him if he gives up smoking. To help him quit, a therapist encourages him to discuss the 20 most emotionally important cigarettes of his life.[2][1]

Production historyEdit

Kahan was commissioned by the BBC to write the radio play, and then in 2007 to rewrite the play for the stage by the National Youth Theatre.[citation needed] The production was directed by Toby Frow.[3]

Following the introduction of the smoking ban, the theatre had to ask special permission for the actors to light up on stage.[4]

Radio PlayEdit

The radio play was broadcast on BBC Radio 7 on 9 January 2008, starting Anton Lesser and Stephen Mangan.[5]


The cast of the 2007 National Youth Theatre production was (in alphabetical order):


  1. ^ a b "20 cigarettes - Soho Theatre, London". Archived from the original on 2008-01-02. Retrieved 2008-01-02.
  2. ^ a b Marlowe, Sam. "20 Cigarettes", The Times, London, 22 August 2007. Retrieved on 03 November 2018.
  3. ^ "20 cigarettes - Soho Theatre, London". Archived from the original on 2008-01-03. Retrieved 2008-01-02.
  4. ^ "Smoker's tale is a real drag", Evening Standard, London, 17 August 2007. Retrieved on 03 November 2005.
  5. ^ "20 cigarettes".

External linksEdit