Friday, September 23, 2016

How Many Plays Has Alan Ayckbourn Written?

It's a frequently asked question of Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website, just how many plays has Alan Ayckbourn written?
The playwright's preferred answer is along the lines of, 'what does it matter?'; after all we don't generally feel the need to number the latest novel from prolific authors such as, say, Stephen King.
However, as the question repeatedly crops up throughout the playwright's career - and seems to have come up a number of times this summer - it is worth setting the record straight.
As of 23 September 2016, Alan Ayckbourn has officially written - and had produced - 80 plays.
This number represents the playwright's official full-length play canon carried by his official website www.alanayckbourn.net and agreed with the playwright himself.
In addition to these 80 plays, he has also written 11 revues, 5 one act plays, 5 adaptations, 1 screenplay, 1 narrative for voices, 1 book and a number of other miscellaneous works.
The official play list can be found below (click on a title to learn more about the play from Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website).

1959   The Square Cat (01)
1959   Love After All (02)
1960   Dad's Tale (03)
1961   Standing Room Only (04)
1962   Christmas V Mastermind (05)
1963   Mr Whatnot (06)
1965   Relatively Speaking (07)
1967   The Sparrow (08)
1969   How The Other Half Loves (09)
1970   Family Circles (10)
1971   Time And Time Again (11)
1972   Absurd Person Singular (12)
1973   Table Manners (13)
1973   Living Together (14)
1973   Round & Round The Garden (15)
1974   Absent Friends (16)
1974   Confusions (17)
1975   Jeeves / By Jeeves (18)
1975   Bedroom Farce (19)
1976   Just Between Ourselves (20)
1977   Ten Times Table (21)
1978   Joking Apart (22)
1979   Sisterly Feelings (23)
1979   Taking Steps (24)
1980   Suburban Strains (25)
1980   Season’s Greetings (26)
1981   Way Upstream (27)
1981   Making Tracks (28)
1982   Intimate Exchanges (29)
1983   It Could Be Any One Of Us (30)

1984   A Chorus Of Disapproval (31)
1985   Woman In Mind (32)
1987   A Small Family Business (33)
1987   Henceforward... (34) 
1988   Man Of The Moment (35)
1988   Mr. A’s Amazing Maze Plays (36)
1989   The Revengers’ Comedies (37)
1989   Invisible Friends (38)
1990   Body Language (39)
1990   This Is Where We Came In (40) 
1990   Callisto 5 / Callisto#7 (41) 
1991   Wildest Dreams (42)
1991   My Very Own Story (43)
1992   Time Of My Life (44)
1992   Dreams From A Summer House (45)
1994   Communicating Doors (46)
1994   Haunting Julia (47)
1994   The Musical Jigsaw Play (48)
1995   A Word From Our Sponsor (49)
1996   The Champion Of Paribanou (50)
1997   Things We Do For Love (51)
1998   Comic Potential (52)
1998   The Boy Who Fell Into A Book (53)
1999   House (54)

1999   Garden (55)
2000   Virtual Reality (56)
2000   Whenever (57)
2001   GamePlan (58)
2001   FlatSpin (59)
2001   RolePlay (60)
2002   Snake In The Grass (61)
2002   The Jollies (62)
2003   Sugar Daddies (63)
2003   Orvin - Champion Of Champions (64)
2003   My Sister Sadie (65) 
2004   Drowning On Dry Land (66)
2004   Private Fears In Public Places (67)
2004   Miss Yesterday (68)
2005   Improbable Fiction (69)
2006   If I Were You (70)
2008   Life & Beth (71)
2008   Awaking Beauty (72)
2009   My Wonderful Day (73)
2010   Life Of Riley (74)
2011   Neighbourhood Watch (75)
2012   Surprises (76)
2013   Arrivals & Departures (77)
2014   Roundelay (78)
2015   Hero’s Welcome (79)
2016   Consuming Passions (80)

Of course, an official list often raises even more frequently asked questions, many of which you can find answered at Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website in the FAQs section by clicking here.
But if you're wondering why this year's plays are - or are not - in the list. Here's the quick answer. The Karaoke Theatre Company is not considered by the playwright to be one of his full-length plays because so much of the script is improvised on a nightly basis. The playwright estimates that at least half of the play may differ on any one night, which means there can never be a definitive text for the whole piece, only a guide.
As for Consuming Passions, the playwright considers this to be his 80th play. Although having two named parts - initially presented separately but now being performed together - it follows in the footsteps of The Revengers' Comedies in being considered a single play in two parts which can be performed separately or preferably together in which one continuous narrative is told in one space (as opposed to, say, House & Garden, which consists of two plays designed to be performed in two different spaces simultaneously with each other).
You can find a full index of everything Alan Ayckbourn has written at his official website by clicking here, from which list you can click on a title to find further details of every work created by the playwright since he began writing.
If you're still having trouble reconciling why a play may or may not be in the official list or why it's listed the way it is, it's probably best to heed the playwright's own advice at the start of this article and ask yourself, does it really matter anyway?
Just enjoy the plays.

Alan Ayckbourn's Karaoke Theatre Company and Consuming Passions can be seen in repertory at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until 8 October. Visit www.sjt.uk.com for more details and to book tickets.