Untitled Farce: History

Untitled Farce is classified as one of Alan Ayckbourn's Grey Plays. These are plays which are acknowledged miscellaneous minor pieces by Alan Ayckbourn, which have received limited performance but have never been published, are not available for production and are not included in the official canon of Ayckbourn plays.

Untitled Farce is unique in Alan Ayckbourn's playwriting canon. It has received just one professional performance, directed by Alan Ayckbourn and featuring the Stephen Joseph Theatre company, and Alan has said it will never be staged again.

The one act farce was presented as the conclusion of the week long celebration of the
Stephen Joseph Theatre's 50th anniversary, Fifty Years New. Billed as the 'big surprise!', the play was presented on Saturday 13 August in the second half of the evening's entertainment and offered a unique end to the week of celebrations. The play, believed to have been written specifically for the night, was performed on the book by Alan's resident company and had been rehearsed during the afternoon.

The farcical plot revolves around the recently married Sir Randolph who is preparing for an important dinner with a government minister. Matters are complicated by an incriminating letter, his wife dressed as a maid, the arrival of an old friend with problems of his own, a disastrously ill-conceived identity-change plan, the unexpected arrival of an old flame and a rather enthusiastic security officer.

The play is also an exceptionally rare foray into pure farce for the playwright as he considers he has only written one true full-length farce during his entire career which was
Taking Steps, premiered in 1979 as well as the two one act Farcicals in 2013.

Article by Simon Murgatroyd. Copyright: Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.