The Light In The Foyer


The Light In The Foyer is an interactive multimedia video narrative CD-ROM telling the story of a group of friends growing up in South London.


Light In The Foyer title still

The CD-ROM employs user initiated interactive exploration, navigation and video. The story is told as a series of 20 direct address monologues acted by student and graduate actors from Rose Bruford College.

Although primarily developed as a research project to accompany Matt's MA dissertation at London Guildhall University, copies of the CD-ROM were made available to other developers interested in interactive narrative development.



Watch a short clip from the CDROM. (Flash video format)


Interactive preview

Try of one of the interactive navigation screens from the CDROM (Shockwave 856Kb).


The cast

Anne Marie Dixon as Grace
Mark Johnson as Nicky
Anna Ledwich as Angela
Fiona Nash as Chris
Pete McCamley as Detective jim Donahue
Gerrant Rees as Lee
Rosie Armstrong as Julia
Mary Campbell as Jean

The Story


Nicky (a young man)
Grace (Nicky's elder sister)
June (Grace and Nicky's aunt)
Lee (Nicky's childhood friend)
Chris (Nicky's girlfriend)
Angela (a bank teller)
Jim (a police detective)
Julia (a forensic pathologist)


September 1992

Grace is Nicky's elder sister. They live in a small town near the Garden City with their parents Walter and Alma. Grace is four years older than Nicky and resents his close relationship with their father.

Walter, who is rarely at home, runs a local barber shop. When a competitor closes down and business booms, Walter employs Frank. At first Frank works hard but as the weeks pass he becomes increasingly erratic. It becomes clear that Frank is an alcoholic.

One morning before they open the shop an arguments develops. Frank demands more money but Walter refuses. Frank storms out leaving Walter to manage alone. That evening as Walter and Alma tidy the shop Frank returns. Drunk at the wheel of his car he loses control and crashes through the shop front killing Walter and Alma instantly.

Traumatised, Grace and Nicky go to live with Alma's sister June. Unable to sleep one night, Grace overhears June discussing her family with a friend. Grace learns that early in their marriage her parents tried but failed to have a child. Eventually, and against her father's wishes, they adopted Grace. Walter resents Grace from the start and when Alma finally conceives and gives birth to Nicky four years later, Walter is delighted.

Grace keeps what she has learnt to herself but when she can longer hide her feelings of resentment towards her father and brother she runs away. Worried, June calls the police to report her disappearance but when Detective Jim Donahue visits to discuss the case and collect a photo he tells her there is little that he can do.


Thursday 12th October 1992

Unable to understand why his sister has left him Nicky becomes withdrawn and seeks comfort in the company of his new girlfriend Chris and best friend Lee. Grace sends Nicky a single postcard to tell him that she is OK. It is postmarked Canada.
But Grace cannot escape her past and knows she must return home eventually and put things right with her brother before she can begin to build a new life for herself. The thought of telling Nicky the truth frightens her.


Thursday 17th May 2001

Nine years have passed since Grace left and Nicky desperately wants to see her so that he can move on, marry Chris and start his own family. He resolves to raise the money and go to Canada to find her.

Nicky meets Lee in a local bar to discuss his plan to get the money. But Lee is chatting up Angela, a woman who lives and works in the Garden City. Angela has had a few drinks, talks a lot, and flirts with them. She suggests a double date with her best friend Nancy. Frustrated, Nicky leaves.

Whilst out shopping in the Garden City, Chris sees a woman who she thinks she recognises as Grace from a photo Nicky keeps. She follows her and confronts her in the beauty parlour where the woman works. The woman, who has the traces of an Canadian accent and does indeed look very much like Nicky’s sister, denies that she is Grace. The other employees in the beauty parlour look on as the conversation becomes increasingly bizarre. Chris is convinced that the woman is Grace and becomes angry. When the woman pushes Chris away, Chris pushes back and the woman falls striking her head on the floor. The police are called and Chris runs off. The woman makes a complaint against Chris to Detective Jim Donahue.

At home Nicky convinces her that it cannot have been Grace. Had it been, she would have been in contact before. He calms her down, they make love and he asks her to marry him.


Friday 18th May 2001

In the Garden City, Angela works in a quiet bank with her best friend Nancy. One day the unthinkable happens. The bank is robbed by two masked gunmen who switch off the lights in the foyer and instruct the bank employees to lower their heads. In the dark they grab Nancy and force her to open the vault. When Nancy mishears one of their demands and appears to attempt an escape, one of the gunmen shoots her in the back of the head, killing her instantly. Angela thinks she recognises the voice of one of the gunman and tells Detective Jim Donahue when the police arrive. Later she worries that the gunman may seek her out and kill her.

Back at the police station Jim is surprised to find that the murdered bank teller’s ID is false. She is not who she appears to be and because the gunshot has left her unrecognisable he must seek the expertise of a forensic pathologist.


Saturday 19th May 2001

Asleep at home, Lee is awakened by the doorbell. He opens the door to find Nicky and Chris standing there. They embrace him and tell him they have got married. It was an impulsive decision they say and apologise for not inviting Lee. When they return from their honeymoon they will organise a big celebration and watch the wedding video they press into Lee’s hands. Promise not to watch it until we return they say.
Forensic pathologist Julia loves her work and is thrilled by the mystery of the murdered bank teller. She is young and ambitious and completely oblivious to the human tragedies she must deal with daily. The successful solution of the case will make a perfect subject for her PHD.

Several hours after Nicky and Chris leave, Detective Jim Donahue shows up at Lee's place. Without telling him anything, Jim questions Lee about Nicky and Chris. Has he seen them recently? Lee protects his friends and tells Jim nothing. When Jim leaves, Lee's curiosity gets the better of him and he plays the video tape his friends have left him. It is a security video showing the exterior of a bank. The video clearly shows Nicky and Chris putting on masks before entering the bank.


8am Wednesday 23rd May 2001

Lee is drinking a coffee and reading the morning paper before setting off for work. In it he reads the latest about the bank robbery and murder. The robbers have not been caught. However, by examining dental records Julia has determined the identity of the murdered woman. It is Grace. The phone rings. It is Nicky. He and Chris have arrived in Canada.



© Matt Ottewill 1998