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.

This article by Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist, Simon Murgatroyd, was written for the 2006 revival of Intimate Exchanges at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.

Radio Silence

It's not particularly well known but there have been a rather prodigious number of radio adaptations of Alan Ayckbourn's plays - 22 at the last count.

Intimate Exchanges with its cast of two and multiple variants is a rather obvious choice for adaptation and in 1987, the BBC produced four of the plays reuniting the original cast of Robin Herford and Lavinia Bertram.

Now generally, radio plays are shortened and adapted to fit their time-slot - much to Alan's chagrin - and it is extremely rare for Alan to make any contribution to them, let alone contribute new dialogue. However, there is a rather tricky problem with
Intimate Exchanges. Picture the scene on stage. Celia Teasdale walks on, sees a packet of cigarettes and deliberates. Her choice of whether to light up being the first choice of the play whilst establishing the play's central theme. Compelling on stage, but as not a word is spoken, rather less compelling on radio and actually downright confusing.

As a result of this and a request for help from the director Gordon House, Alan wrote some extra dialogue for the radio, printed here for the first time.

Celia: It's no good. I need a cigarette. I must have one. I cannot possibly get through the rest of today without one. Well, can I? Can I possibly? (pause)

Then either: -

Celia: Yes, of course I can. Don't be so weak willed.


Celia: No, of course I can't. Not possibly. (She lights a cigarette).

With matters considerably clearer for the listener, the play heads off in its many directions.

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