Absent Friends

Absent Friends Programme Cover

by Alan Ayckbourn

Directed by Alan Jobson

April 2002

Thursday 18th at 7.45 pm
Friday 19th at 7.45 pm
Saturday 20th at 7.45pm

The full programme [72K pdf] for this production is available from the archive

Colin has lost his fiancée in a tragic accident. His friends, who had never met the girl, arrange a tea party to offer him comfort. Understandably they are on edge wondering what to say to him. But there is more to their unease than that, for Diana & Paul, John & Evelyn, and Marge - whose husband is perpetually out of circulation with various illnesses - are kept together by a mixture of business and cross marital emotional ties. By the time Colin arrives, their tension contrasts with his cheerfully relaxed air...

... and so we have the familiar ingredients of an Ayckbourn play. Many people see Alan Ayckbourn as a writer of domestic comedy. However, the interpretation of the word 'comedy' is personal. The play is described in its title as simply that - a play. The comedy is derived out of the human condition - we humans live lives where our treatment of each other can cause embarrassment, hurt and domestic upheaval which is interpreted by some as the divine comedy of life. The domestic situations presented to us are uncomfortable for us, the audience, because Ayckbourn's characters are so much like ourselves. Ayckbourn does not preach, he observes. In comparison, the characters in Chekov comedies are more complex and less than ordinary.


The living room of Paul & Diana's suburban home, mid 1970s

Act 1

Saturday, 3pm

Act 2

Immediately following

DianaJudith Shrank
EvelynJennifer Lewis
MargeVictoria Harris
PaulDavid Constable
JohnNick Johnson
ColinSpencer Clayton
Production Team
DirectorAlan Jobson
Stage ManagerSiobhán O'Neill
Set Design & ConstructionDavid Constable
Mike Sparks
Mari I'Anson
CostumesJenny Sparks
PropsVera Mitchell
LightingBrian Clayfield
PromptSally Martin
Front of House Manager Mike Sparks
Box OfficeBetty Burgess
Norman Burgess
Programme & PublictyDavid Constable

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