Bedroom Farce: Behind The Scenes

Behind The Scenes offers a glimpse at some rarely known facts regarding the writing of Alan Ayckbourn's plays with material drawn from the Ayckbourn Archive at the University Of York and the playwright's personal archive.
  • Bedroom Farce was initially conceived as having four bedrooms with four couples, rather than the three bedrooms and four couples of the final play. The earliest note by the author pertaining to the play was found on the back of one of the pages of a Jeeves manuscript - a play which was being produced just prior to Alan writing Bedroom Farce. This simple sketch (reproduced on the Archive page) showed a cross made up of four beds, whose ends met in the middle. This sketch was then expanded to the more detailed sketch (see below) which accompanies other early notes for the play. Interestingly, the play was commissioned for the end-stage Lyttelton, but Alan Ayckbourn originally intended to produce it in-the-round at Scarborough's Library Theatre and this design is almost certainly for in-the-round performance given the cross shaped layout of the four bedrooms. As it is, subsequent to this sketch, Alan would decrease the number of bedrooms and also produce the play three-sided in Scarborough. This sketch is now held in the Ayckbourn Archive in the Borthwick Archive at the University of York.
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  • A rarely commented upon fact is Bedroom Farce makes reference to several characters from previous Ayckbourn plays. When Malcolm and Kate are discussing who is coming to the party, Kate notes: "And who else is there. Ken and Margaret, of course. And John and Dorothy and Wilfred and Gareth and Gwen and Mike and Dave and Carole and Dick and Lottie. Gordon and Marge, of course and - er - Susannah and Trevor." Dick and Lottie are, of course, Alan's first off-stage couple so memorably not seen in Absurd Person Singular. Gordon and Marge refer to the couple from Absent Friends, although we only ever see Marge in that play. The final reference is an in-joke as Ken and Margaret refers to Ken and Margaret Boden, the theatre manager at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, and his wife who ran the box office.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. The sketch is copyright of Alan Ayckbourn and held in the Borthwick Institute at the University Of York and should not be reproduced without the permission of the copyright holder.
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