1997-1998

ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR by Alan Ayckbourn

ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR takes place on three successive Christmas Eves in the kitchens of three different couples. In Act I, the “lower-class” but ambitious Hopcrofts give a party for their bank manager and his wife, and an architect neighbour. The Hopcrofts are nervous because the people they have invited might be useful to them on their way up the social ladder. Act II takes place in the untidy kitchen of the playboy architect and his suicidal wife, who are both so caught up in their own problems that they have forgotten they even planned to give a party. In Act III, the bank manager, who is in denial about his wife’s alcoholism, sits in his old Victorian-style kitchen with an overcoat on because the heat has been turned off. His fortunes have declined and his bank now depends heavily upon the patronage of the Hopcrofts who, over the past three years, have advanced to material prosperity and independence. Like the banker, the architect has come down in the world and desperately needs assistance from the only person who is willing to give to him work, Sidney Hopcroft. By the end of the play the little man is well on top, and the others are literally and frantically dancing to his tune. Ironically, each act of the play takes place on Christmas Eve, a time when we are reminded of Christ’s teaching that it is more blessed to give than to receive, that we should love one another and place more importance upon our spiritual development than upon the acquisition of material things. It is, for the most part, the opposite of this teaching that we see occurring in the play. Ayckbourn gives us an opportunity to laugh at the absurdity of people acting on their own behalf, without concern for others. He has succeeded in writing a very funny comedy, but he has also managed to give us a look at the darker side of people who are so wrapped up in themselves that they are blind to the needs and the suffering of others. 

 

      

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