Absurd Person Singular: Facts

Absurd Person Singular

Play Number: 12
World Premiere: 26 June 1972
Venue: Library Theatre, Scarborough

Premiere Staging: In-the-round

Published: Samuel French, Vintage Classics
Other Media: Television; Radio

Cast: 3m / 3f
Run Time: 2hr 10m

Note: Absurd Person Singular is a three act play; one of only two written by Alan Ayckbourn.
  • Absurd Person Singular is Alan Ayckbourn's 12th play.
  • It premiered at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, on 26 June 1972.
  • Absurd Person Singular holds the record for the single longest run of an Alan Ayckbourn plays in both the West End and on Broadway.
  • It is one of only two plays that Alan Ayckbourn has directed in all three Scarborough venues (the Library Theatre, the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round and the Stephen Joseph Theatre).
  • It premiered in the West End on 14 July 1973 at the Criterion Theatre.
  • Absurd Person Singular was the first Ayckbourn play to be recognised with an award when it received the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy in 1973.
  • The title was conceived in an elevator and originally intended for a different, abandoned play and then recycled.
  • The original draft of the play was set in three living rooms and Dick and Lottie Potter were on-stage characters.
  • When the BBC adapted the play for radio in 1977, Alan gave the director permission to write internal dialogue for Eva during the second act; given she spends most of it attempting to commit suicide in silence.
  • Absurd Person Singular had its Broadway premiere on 8 October 1974 at the Music Box Theatre, New York.
  • Absurd Person Singular has been produced in the West End and in New York City more times than any other Ayckbourn play. In the West End it has been produced three times (1973, 1990, 2007) and in New York City three times (1975, 2005 and 2019).
  • For the original Broadway production the producers tired to force Alan to swap Acts II and III around so the play did not end on a dying fall; naturally Alan refused despite at one point apparently being offered $250,000 to make the alteration!
  • Alan Strachan's West End revival of the play in 2007 marked the first Ayckbourn play to have been staged in London since the Damsels In Distress trilogy in 2002.
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