Intimate Exchanges: Articles

This section features articles by Alan Ayckbourn and other authors. Click on the links in the right-hand column below to go to the relevant interview.

These articles by Alan Ayckbourn were written for various promotional brochures, introducing the play and the concept behind it.

Intimate Exchanges: Brochure Copy

Have you ever reflected how those tiny decisions we make every day of our lives - (Shall I take a raincoat today?) can often require us to make further small decisions (Should I shelter in this doorway?), that lead to larger decisions (Shall I accept this stranger’s offer of a drink?) which then demand a really big decision (Should we see each other again?), forcing you into those vast decisions (Shall we share our lives together?), that finally lead to the truly monumental decisions (Is it time we called it a day?)

Intimate Exchanges

At the very start of Intimate Exchanges, a woman is faced with a small, fairly trivial decision. Should she resist having that first cigarette of the day before 6.00am.

On some nights, her willpower is strong enough; on others it isn’t.

The two quite separate chain of events that result from her choice lead, by the end of scene one, to another character making two further decisions, this time of a slightly more important nature. Just before the interval two more choices, more crucial still, are to be made. Finally, preceding the fourth and final scene, another two major courses of action remain to be chosen by the characters.

What you will see tonight then, is a single strand of a much larger web of interconnecting alternative scenes.

Each evening is intended to be complete in itself although it will, of course, be only ever one version of what might have happened if...

I hope curiosity will bring you back to see some of the other 'ifs'.

None of the performances are random and the box office has a reasonably advanced schedule of what will be playing when.

As the summer progresses, more and more versions will be entering the repertoire and the choice will get wider. Simple mathematics will tell you that there are over 30 scenes to be staged in all and that finally there will be 16 versions, some vastly different, some only slightly so.

The chart
overleaf will explain things more clearly and - if you're in any doubt-the display board in the bar will tell you what particular strand you'll be seeing or have seen tonight.
How fast the whole project comes together will depend on the reserves of stamina of all of us - in particular the brave and remarkable cast of two whom I particularly wish to thank for agreeing to take part in this piece of theatrical lunacy.

Intimate Exchanges

Intimate Exchanges is really one play with multiple alternatives. It’s concerned with the question “What would happen if...?”

What would happen if at some time in our lives we had made a different choice? Taken a bus instead of a train? Turned left instead of right? And what if, as a result, we hadn’t met the person we did? And what if, as a result of that chance meeting we hadn’t, months later, married them? And what if we hadn’t gone there for our second honeymoon? Who knows, maybe we wouldn’t have had that flaming row? Maybe we’d still be married today...

At the start of
Intimate Exchanges a woman considers whether or not to smoke a cigarette. Whether or not she decides to do so, leads to other decisions being made which result in the need for yet further decisions. Consequently, five years later, her marriage has broken up. Or it hasn’t. Several people have died, married, emigrated, had affairs, children, nervous breakdowns. Or they haven’t.

Most performances of the play are different. Some vary slightly, some are complete alternatives. A glance at the playing diagram will show how these occur.

Please note that:

A) There is no particular order in which the versions need to be seen.

B) It is not necessary to see all versions (though we hope you’ll see more
than one).

Copyright: Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.