Play with Repeats is the seventh play written by British playwright Martin Crimp. It was first staged in 1989 at the Orange Tree Theatre in London, where Crimp had debuted all his previous work.
Crimp was born to a working-class family in eastern England in 1956. A talented artist from an early age, he staged his first play while studying English at Cambridge in 1982. From his early beginnings, his characteristically difficult style was evident. Plots were often eschewed and dialogue bordered on the absurd. Still, the Orange Tree was an experimental and accepting setting for Crimp to experiment with his developing style. He wrote six plays between 1982 and 1988, before staging Play With Repeats the following year.
Like much of Crimp's oeuvre, Play With Repeats is far from a straightforward work of drama. The play tells the story of Anthony Steadman, a man approaching middle-age. His life is bleak, and he works a rote job. Through a jumbled narrative that nearly operates outside of time, Steadman's life is analyzed and picked apart. The work bears a semblance to the plays of Ionesco and Genet, whom Crimp has named as primary influences.
The work has not been staged since its first run. Crimp has since written twelve works of drama, two operas, numerous translations and now works as a writer-in-residence at the Royal Theatre in London.