Brian Beacom

THE STORY of drugs mules is familiar; idiotic teenagers who become caught up in the world of international drug smuggling and suddenly realise their lives are over?

Or do they? Playwright Rob Drummond has taken the theme and written Pleading, this weeks Oran Mor play, about the notion of consequence.

The story features Freya and Michael (Kim Allan and Daniel Cameron) who have been travelling around the world, celebrating their freedom before beginning University.

It’s been all fun and games, until they find themselves arrested at a foreign airport, accused of being drug traffickers.

Three weeks later, still in prison awaiting their court date, a defence barrister Amelia (Nicole Cooper) arrives to advise them of the choices they face.

But the teenagers insist they cannot admit guilt to something they knew nothing about.

Can the barrister broker a deal with the prosecution to save their futures? Will Freya and Michael wake up to the reality, which is the death penalty?

“That’s the dilemma,” says Nicole.

“I’m the person who tries to get this young couple out of trouble, but they don’t make it easy for me.

“The country they have been arrested in (in the Far East) has the death penalty in place for drugs offences.

“But my character has to do the best she can in that she wants to get the life sentence off the table.

“That would give her more time in which to appeal, and involve the international community.”

Why are this couple so stupid in that they don’t seem to want to cooperate with the person who may just save their life?

“Well, that’s a key part of the play,” says Nicole, smiling.

“We discover they both have secrets they keep from each other and because they don’t want to reveal them, they say very little.”

Nicole adds; “On top of that, they are so naïve. They don’t really get the gravity of the situation until it’s too late.

“They assume Amelia will get them off. These are kids from a well-off background who usually make a phone call to daddy and he fixes everything.”

Will the young pair come to terms with reality in time?

Do we come to understand the secrets they keep, which may bring about the end of their life?

“It’s a play about choices people make, especially when there is love involved.”

What does Nicole, who won this year’s CATS theatre award for her performance as Coriolanus at the Bard In The Botanics, bring to this particular role?

Has she ever been involved in international drugs smuggling?

“Unfortunately I haven’t,” she says, grinning.

“I think from my point of view I have to get across the frustration my character suffers from.

“And she goes on a journey. Amelia is quite tough in the beginning, and tries her best to maintain a professional demeanour for as long as she can, but then comes to understand how naïve this pair are.”

The audience, Rob Drummond hopes, will connect with this notion teenagers can make some very stupid choices - although perhaps not on this level.

But was Nicole something of a wild child?

“No, it sounds boring. I was so sensible. My family in Zambia worked so hard to put me through school in the UK.

“I couldn’t even conceive of disappoint them. They’d sacrificed so much.”

Nicole’s mum is Zambian and her dad is Greek.

The actress grew up in Zambia and moved to London to study where she met her future husband, Scott, who comes from Glasgow.

As a mother, the actress can understand the frustrations of trying to connect with a younger mindset.

“I’ve got three girls, and I’m dreading them becoming teenagers,” she says, grinning.

“All you can do is hope you are steering them in the right direction.”

• Pleading, Oran Mor, until Saturday.