Intimate Exchanges: A Play, Volume 2

Front Cover
S. French, 1985 - English drama - 232 pages
There are no less than eight intimate exchanges in this ingenious tour de farce and each has two different endings; you can see Intimate Exchanges sixteen times and not see the same play twice! And one actor and one actress play all 10 characters. This is Ayckbourn's most unusual look yet at the foibles of middle class living. The plays begin with a women faced with a small, fairly, trivial decision. Should she resist having the first cigarette of the day before 6pm? On some nights her willpower is strong enough, on others is isn't. The two quite separate chains of events that result from her choice are published under Volume I and Volume II. In each, at the end of the first scene, another character has to make a further decision, the time of a slightly more important nature. As each scene ends further and more crucial choices still have to be made, culminating in a major course of action. Thus each play is a single strand of a much larger web of interconnecting scenes. Simple mathematics will tell you that there are over thirty scenes and sixteen versions, some vastly different, some only slightly so. Yet it is the indigenous group of characters who have to make these decisions that makes Intimate Exchanges so enthralling, so funny and, at times, so poignant.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Page
3
A CRICKET MATCH
17
A Sentimental Journey
43
Copyright

9 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1985)

Many American tourists who flock to the annual Ayckbourn offering in London's West End, think of Alan Ayckbourn as Great Britain's Neil Simon. The analogy holds true to the extent that the relationship between Ayckbourn's and Simon's plays illustrates the difference between British and American theater and audiences. Both writers capture the social machinations of middle-class characters in daily situations that are made compelling simply by the addition of clever but conventional plots, dramatic intrigues, twists, and discoveries. However, where Simon's plays tend to evolve into a condition of broad pathos or comedy, luxuriating in bittersweet melodrama, Ayckbourn's offerings revel in ever increasing intricacy, sharply incisive verbal dueling, and a dark social resonance that sounds much greater depths than in Simon's drama. Ayckbourn's scripts embody boggling challenges for directors and actors as well as audiences. Intimate Exchanges (1985), for example, a sequence of plays for ten characters played by only two actors, involves numerous moments when an actor chooses to send the script off on one of two alternative directions. The Norman Conquests (1975) typifies Ayckbourn's determination to squeeze as much as possible out of a dramatic construct. The trilogy's first play, Table Manners, offers a typical Ayckbourn scenario with family traumas played against each other in the constrained setting of a dining room. In the second and third plays, Living Together and Round and Round the Garden, the audience is exposed to simultaneous layers of action that occur in two other venues, the living room and garden, when characters are not onstage in the dining room. Each play makes sense on its own, but the trilogy taken as a whole embodies a vision of this family that is larger than the sum of the individual parts. Aychbourn has also been known for rather experimental staging. The Way Upstream (1982), for example, is set on and around a boat and requires flooding the stage. Ayckbourn's later plays reflect a bleak vision of society. In Woman in Mind (1985) and Henceforward (1987), Aychbourn's characters have become increasingly complex, and he reveals himself as an intense social commentator. Other recent plays include It Could Be Any One of Us (1983), Man of the Moment (1990), and Body Language (1991). Since the 1970s, Ayckbourn has written at least one play a season; the premieres are always at a small local theater that he runs in the resort town of Scarborough. 020

Bibliographic information