Whenever: Facts

Key facts relating to Alan Ayckbourn's Whenever.
  • Whenever is Alan Ayckbourn's 57th play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 5 December 2000.
  • It was adapted for the radio in a production directed by Bruce Hyman and broadcast on 26 August 2006 on BBC Radio 4. The company included Saskia Butler reprising the role of Clara she played in the original production.
  • The family plays are frequently thematically linked to one of Alan Ayckbourn's 'adult' plays. Whenever is most frequently associated with Communicating Doors, Alan Ayckbourn's previous time-travel play which saw the protagonists trying to alter the past to create a better future.
  • Like his other family plays Callisto 5 / Callisto#7 and My Sister Sadie, Whenever is undeniably influenced by Alan Ayckbourn's love of science fiction on screen and on the page. The play's main inspiration is Frank L Baum's The Wizard Of Oz, but it also makes reference to H G Wells' The Time Machine, Isaac Asimov's books, Albert Einstein's scientific theories as well as the film Star Wars and the television series Doctor Who.
  • Whenever is another Ayckbourn play to feature a malfunctioning android whose faults make him more human. Other plays with malfunctioning androids include Henceforward…, Comic Potential and Surprises (My Sister Sadie also features an android, but she seems to be a rare piece of Ayckbourn technology which works as programmed if not as originally intended).
  • The original production marked the first time Alan Ayckbourn had worked with the actresses Alison Pargeter and Saskia Butler. They would play a central part in his Damsels In Distress trilogy the following year and would appear in several other productions directed by the playwright.
  • It was written with the composer Denis King, who Alan Ayckbourn has also worked with on the musicals Orvin - Champion Of Champions and Awaking Beauty.
  • Whenever is one of his 'family' plays; these plays are written with a family audience in mind, but are considered by the playwright to be part of his full-length play canon and as significant in his canon as any of the other plays. Alan Ayckbourn's first family play is considered to be Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays in 1988.
  • Whenever is considered to be one of Alan Ayckbourn's science fiction plays. Other plays in this genre by the playwright include Henceforward…, Communicating Doors, Comic Potential and Surprises.
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