Surprises: Facts

Key Facts relating to Alan Ayckbourn's Surprises.
  • Surprises is Alan Ayckbourn's 76th play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 17 July 2012.
  • It was a co-production between the Stephen Joseph Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre.
  • The play was presented as part of the London 2012 Festival to mark the 2012 Olympics in London; it was not commissioned specifically for the event though having been commissioned by the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in advance of preparations for London 2012.
  • Surprises was initially conceived on a far larger scale as Alan Ayckbourn initially thought it was going to be staged in repertory with A Small Family Business. Early ideas include a five act structure similar to Confusions and multiple android characters.
  • Alan Ayckbourn rarely talks about specific inspirations for his plays, but in the case of Surprises, he revealed one of his inspirations was a song by the Swedish artist Silje Nergaard called Dance Me Love, which inspired Alan to write a love story.
  • Surprises is one of Alan Ayckbourn's future-set science-fiction plays, which also include Henceforward…, Comic Potential and Communicating Doors among others.
  • It is his third major play to feature an android as a major character following Henceforward… and Comic Potential (the family play My Sister Sadie also featured an android). It can be strongly argued, these three plays see a progression in the development of androids and their evolution.
  • Alan Ayckbourn has frequently mentioned that Surprises, like many of his science-fiction plays, was loosely inspired by the 'broken' future worlds portrayed in Ridley Scott's films such as Alien and Blade Runner; one of the characters is named after Lieutenant Gorman who features in James Cameron's Aliens.
  • Surprises is the first Ayckbourn play since Absurd Person Singular (1972) to feature a three act structure. The original production was performed in repertory with the 40th anniversary production of Absurd Person Singular and shares the same cast requirements.
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