A NEW PLAY from Perth-born writer Ben Tagoe comes to Carnegie Hall next week as part of its UK tour.

Tagoe, who now lives in Leeds, wrote The Thing About Psychopaths after a spell in Dublin's Mountjoy Prison.

Presented by Red Ladder Theatre Company in association with Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds, the narrative explores themes of empathy and capitalism in modern society.

Financial worker Noel has lived a comfortable life, not rich but not poor either. Somehow, he's always wanted more and when senior trader Ray persuades him that he could have exactly what he wants, Noel realises the chance to fulfill his dream is there.

But when their wrongdoings are discovered, Noel takes the fall after Ray denies all knowledge. He's left banged up in jail and has to quickly learn the harsh realities of life in prison.

Billed as "a timely examination of how empathy is being squeezed out of our society", Tagoe said of his own experience, "'In 2000 I spent a brief period on remand in Mountjoy Prison, Dublin - it was badly overcrowded with prisoners locked up for 22 hours a day and still 'slopping out.' "I've always thought that the ability to genuinely care about weaker beings is the thing that separates humans from other animals.

"However in a prison, you soon learn that empathy is dangerous because it leaves you exposed.

"Similarly, all that really matters to a big company is revenue. The most successful people in both those environments have superficial charm, guile and ruthlessness.

"In our society, whether you're at the top or the bottom, a lack of empathy helps you to succeed."

Up-and-coming writer Tagoe is certainly one to watch. In 2011, Ben was one of only eight writers selected from over 500 applicants for the BBC Writers Academy. He has since written for Doctors, Casualty and Eastenders and received a BBC Alfred Bradley Bursary for his radio script 'Keeping it up with the Joneses'.

The Thing About Psychopaths is on at Carnegie Hall this Tuesday 30th April