Saturday, 23 June 2012

Intimate Exchanges - A Cricket Match (theatre)

Intimate Exchanges was written by Alan Ayckbourn in the early 1980s as a result of most of his acting troupe moving on at the end of a tour leaving him with an entire summer season to fill and only two actors remaining. His response was to write a multi-ended comedy in which the choices made by the characters at certain points determined how the rest of the play would pan out. It's like one of those adventure books I read as a child in which I'd be instructed to turn to different pages depending on what I thought the character should do next. Ayckbourn intended all the play variations to be performed over that first summer, but in the end, only three were completed in time. The first was the one which is now coming to Eastbourne, A Cricket Match.
Plan created by G Dallimore
The complete Intimate Exchanges includes thirty-one scenes, sixteen hours of dialogue, ten characters and sixteen possible endings. Each individual play is made up of five scenes with only "How It Began" being common to all the plays. In this five second first scene, the character of Celia decides whether or not to smoke a cigarette. The second scene occurs five seconds later, the third is set five days later, the fourth is five weeks later and the fifth is five years later.
A Cricket Match takes the audience on an hilarious journey through the difficulties and complications of marital discontent. Celia, the Headmaster's wife, fears her marriage to Toby may be over. Toby's best friend, Miles, a similarly troubled man, who never really knows exactly how to say what he means, is married to the flamboyant Rowena who is given to practical jokes and indiscreet affairs. Everything comes to a head at a cricket match, where Lionel, the incompetent groundsman, has sabotaged the pitch and Miles and Toby come to dramatic blows over a dubious umpiring decision.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Tue 3rd - Sat 7th July, 19:45, various prices.
Wed & Sat matinees, 14:30, £13.50 all seats.

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