Henceforward...: Behind The Scenes

Behind The Scenes offers a glimpse at some rarely known facts regarding the writing of Alan Ayckbourn's plays with material drawn from the Ayckbourn Archive at the University Of York and the playwright's personal archive.
  • When Alan Ayckbourn first completed Henceforward…, he apparently destroyed the first draft after his partner, now wife, Heather Stoney felt it was too serious and dark; Alan himself described the original draft as a "very brutal, very unremitting, very dark piece." Uncertain about the play, Alan promptly deleted it and notified the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round there would be a change of plan and despite the imminence of rehearsals, he would write a new play Meeting Like This. With a deadline looming, Alan changed his mind again and re-wrote Henceforward... but in such a way as to make the darkness of the piece more palatable - the playwright notes he actually just changed one significant word throughout the play from 'hate' to 'love'. In 2011, he revealed that although he had apparently destroyed the original draft, he secretly had a back-up copy from which he was able to rework the play!
  • The decision to make the main character a composer was borne out of Alan Ayckbourn's desire to show an act of creativity on-stage; traditionally difficult given how hard it is to make writing, painting or even composing dramatically interesting. With the advent of sampling technology, the playwright realised he could show - relatively realistically - an act of almost instantaneous creativity in a plausible manner.
  • For its 2016 revival, Alan Ayckbourn made the rare decision to make a few small tweaks to the script to accommodate the progress of technology since the play had been written in 1987 and to keep it realistically within a foreseeable near future. Barring the alteration of the odd word, the only major alteration was cutting a speech by Mervyn in the second act. The play excises Mervyn showing off his answering machine and location finder instead just concentrating on his personal alarm system.
  • Although the 2016 revival did feature a new composition by Alan Ayckbourn for Jerome's final 'Love' symphony, it was considered using Paul Todd's original composition for the 1987 production. However, the quality of the recording had deteriorated over time and it was not possible to use the recording.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.

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