Absurd Person Singular: In Brief

Key facts relating to Alan Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular.
  • 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). The other play is Time And Time Again.
  • It is the first play considered to have been written after Alan had become Artistic Director of the Library Theatre, Scarborough.
  • 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. As the playwright has admitted on many occasions, the title Absurd Person Singular has nothing to do with the play.
  • The original draft of the play was set in three living rooms and Dick and Lottie Potter were on-stage characters. This script was abandoned ten pages in with the action then relocated to the kitchens and Dick and Lottie relegated to off-stage voices.
  • The bark for George the dog in the original production was produced by Alan Ayckbourn; this apparently led to complaints from neighbours while he was recording himself barking at volume and an awkward conversation with a policeman called to investigate the noise!
  • 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.
  • When Alan Ayckbourn revived the play in Scarborough in 1989, the five-week long run had three different Marions! The first, Moira Redmond, injured her back and the role was taken over by Heather Stoney and then by Lavinia Bertram.
  • 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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This section of the website is dedicated to Jeannie Swales
for her work at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.