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Stephen Joseph at Scarborough

Late September in

Scarborough I saw my first ever performance "in the round" Alan Ayckbourn's latest play: A Brief History of Women in his own direction in the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Since then I read Mr Whatnot - the original typed out ms, one of his first plays written for the round - a magical surrealistic comedy with a mute piano tuner as its hero. It was first performed in 1963 - experimental and I suppose revolutionary at its time - even today it would be enormously difficult to produce and synchronize with the complicated sequences of the sound effects. It was rehearsed just for a few weeks as you do - I'm so happy to have met this genius. Here is a quote from his website: “I always think of the Whatnot theme as being the Id figure who bounds along, the one inside me that would like to up-end and destroy - not destroy gratuitously, just to up-end - and confuse a little, upset status quos.” (Ian Watson, ‘Conversations With Ayckbourn’)

More to follow on Stephen Joseph soon....

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