Intimate Exchanges: In Brief

Key facts relating to Alan Ayckbourn's Intimate Exchanges.
  • Intimate Exchanges is Alan Ayckbourn's 29th play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 3 June 1982.
  • The London premiere was held at Greenwich Theatre on 11 June 1984. This production then transferred to the West End's Ambassador's Theatre on 14 August 1984.
  • The North American premiere was held at the 59E59 Theatres, New York, on 31 May 2007; this was a transfer of Alan Ayckbourn's revival of Intimate Exchanges at the Stephen Joseph Theatre which had opened on 2 May 2006.
  • The idea for Intimate Exchanges can be traced back to Alan Ayckbourn's original ideas for Sisterly Feelings (1979) which was initially far more complex and involved a branching play with eight possible permutations.
  • Although Intimate Exchanges is frequently described as one of Alan Ayckbourn's 'chance' plays (such as Sisterly Feelings, It Could Be Any One Of Us, Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays and Roundelay), it is more accurately a 'choice' play. Intimate Exchanges does not have a random element built into it; the choices for each performance are pre-determined prior to performance and are meant to reflect not how chance affects our lives but how our choices affect lives.
  • Intimate Exchanges has been adapted for both radio (four of the eight possible permutations) and into two inter-linked films (six of the possible eight permutations).
  • Intimate Exchanges has 31 scenes spread over eight major variations (each of which has an alternative end). In total this results in approximate 16 hours of dialogue for just two actors playing a total of 10 roles.
  • As of writing, Alan Ayckbourn is the only person to have directed Intimate Exchanges in its entirety (this being considered as one production with the same company at the same venue). The nearest anyone else has come is Tim Luscombe, who directed six of the eight variations at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in 2006 and the film director Alain Resnais, who directed the same number of variations for his film Smoking / No Smoking.
  • Although when taken in its entirety Intimate Exchanges is Alan Ayckbourn's longest play, it is not the one with the most scenes. Despite it containing 31 scenes across all the different permutations, several plays have more - if shorter! - scenes, notably The Revengers' Comedies and Private Fears In Public Places.
  • From its original production at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round through to its transfer to the Greenwich Theatre and then the Ambassador's Theatre, the actors Robin Herford and Lavinia Bertram were involved with the play for 24 months. Alan Ayckbourn has frequently noted that despite this length of time, the huge number of performances and the incredible amount of dialogue which they had to recall, neither actor made any major mistakes or went onto the wrong scene.
  • Only four actors have performed Intimate Exchanges in its entirety (in professional, fully-staged productions). These are Robin Herford, Lavinia Bertram, Bill Champion and Claudia Elmhirst.
  • Alan Ayckbourn was originally slated to direct only the second complete production of Intimate Exchanges in 2006 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Unfortunately, just prior to rehearsals in February 2006, he suffered a stroke and Tim Luscombe was brought in to direct at short Notice. Tim directed the first six variations with Alan returning to direct the final two variations in 2007 following his recovery.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.

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