Improbable Fiction: 10 Facts

10 Facts offer an at a glance guide to some of the key information relating to Alan Ayckbourn's plays.
  • Improbable Fiction is Alan Ayckbourn's 69th play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 31 May 2005.
  • The play was written by Alan Ayckbourn to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, which was founded by Stephen Joseph as the Library Theatre in Scarborough in 1955.
  • One of the major inspirations for the play was Alan Ayckbourn's experiences with a writing group for whom he had given a talk. It becoming increasingly obvious to the playwright that very little writing was taking place and that it was more a social gathering.
  • It is - arguably - the first of Alan Ayckbourn's 'adult' plays to be directly influenced by one of his 'family' plays (most of the family plays are influenced by the 'adult' plays). In this case, Improbable Fiction can be seen as a companion piece to The Boy Who Fell Into A Book which also features literary genre hopping.
  • Improbable Fiction is one of Alan Ayckbourn's 'Pendon' plays. Pendon is a fictional town first mentioned by Alan Ayckbourn in Relatively Speaking. It is generally located by Alan in London's commuter belt near Reading (although occasionally it does move locations!). Other Pendon-set plays include Time And Time Again, Ten Times Table, Sisterly Feelings and A Chorus Of Disapproval.
  • The cast of Improbable Fiction also featured in the one-off rehearsed reading of Alan Ayckbourn's Untitled Farce; the first act of a deliberately unfinished farce written especially by the playwright for the final night of a week long series of events celebrating the Stephen Joseph Theatre's 50th anniversary.
  • The original music for the play - most notably the song Light At The End Of The Tunnel - was composed by Alan Ayckbourn's frequent collaborator Denis King. Amongst other projects they have collaborated on are the musicals Whenever, Orvin - Champion Of Champions and Awaking Beauty.
  • In the original production, Giles New played the role of Clem. When this production came to tour in 2006, Giles was unable to reprise the role due to being asked to reprise his role of Murtogg in The Pirates Of The Caribbean film sequels.
  • Despite its challenging prop and technical demands (a squirrel costume and full size alien 'egg' being amongst them), it is one of the most performed plays Alan Ayckbourn has written since 2000 by amateur drama companies in the UK.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.

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