Old and new together as Ayckbourn visits New Vic
Alan Ayckbourn will be making his annual visit to Newcastle-under-Lyme’s New Vic with two productions, a revival of a classic along with his 76th play.
He will be directing a 40th anniversary revival of Absurd Person Singular at the theatre-in-the-round from Tuesday and Surprises which features the same cast two days later.
Ayckbourn says Absurd Person Singular is the next logical play to revive in the canon.
“A few years ago I did Relatively Speaking and then more recently I did How the Other Half Loves—also on their 40th anniversaries. So it’s the next big one.
“Like a lot of my writing, it is of its time, but it also has a timeless quality to it.
“Although the characters are very definitely rooted in the period and mustn’t ever be moved from there, I think nonetheless that human nature hasn’t changed that much over time.
“It’s a story about the worm turning; the underdog becoming the overdog. It’s a fable that still exists today with people climbing and falling through the social ladder.”
The cast includes Ayesha Antoine who played Winnie in Ayckbourn’s My Wonderful Day; Bill Champion who took on all the male roles in Ayckbourn’s sequence of plays Intimate Exchanges; Richard Stacey; Sarah Parks; Laura Doddington; and Ben Porter.
Absurd Person Singular runs from Tuesday (16 October) until Saturday, 3 November.
Surprises involves amorous strangers, time travel and the quest for everlasting love.
Ayckbourn said, “I describe it as a play with its head in the future but with its heart in the past.
“Surprises is essentially several love stories but love stories that have a spin on them. It’s science fiction but used as an allegory—as most good sci-fi is—to reflect what’s happening today.
“It’s about longevity. The chances of people living longer and longer as the centuries go by are increasingly plausible and certainly quite interesting dramatically.”
Surprises runs at the New Vic from Thursday (18 October) until Saturday, 3 November.