Absurd Person Singular

Absurd Person Singular

Alan Ayckbourn


Directed by
Susanna Ritti

Scenic Designer
Brandon Phillips

Costume Designer
Edna M. Immel

Technical Director
Steve McGuire

Lighting Designers
Chuck Otto
Jason Zanitsch

Stage Manager
Laura Shannon

Apprentice Coordinator
William C. Mulberger


Shakespearean and Restoration comedies often end with a dance signifying harmony. Couples are happily mated. All’s well. Absurd Person Singular also ends with a dance. There the similarity stops. There is no harmony, no happy couples. All is not well.

The play takes place on three successive Christmas Eves in the kitchens of three couples. There is a fourth off-stage couple and an off-stage dog. None are particularly pleasant, not even the dog. Sidney is an opportunistic, up and-coming entrepreneur; Jane, his mousy wife, has a cleaning fetish. Geoffrey, an architect, is a womanizer; his wife, Eva, pops pills. Ronald, a banker, is ineffectual as a husband; Marion, his wife, is patronizing and an alcoholic. Act One, a ghastly cocktail party, is farcical, as Jane, the hostess finds herself in a pelting rainstorm, locked out of her own kitchen. The comedy turns black in Act Two as Eva tries to kill herself while the guests at the party watch on oblivious to her plight, so wrapped up are they in their own agendas. We, however, are aware. The scene is uproariously funny, but we feel uncomfortable laughing. Act Three is chilling and not just because the furnace broke and everyone is freezing. Sidney now lords it over the others who once looked down on him. In a “mounting exhortation bordering on the hysterical” he orders all to dance. And dance they do, like puppets pulled by Sidney’s strings.

The play depicts relations between the sexes. Ayckbourn is critical of husbands because of the way they treat their wives. He is especially hard on Sidney who sees people, Jane included, only for what they can do for him. He is a dangerous man to offend because he does “frightfully well”. He is the new man, the new Brit, and Ayckbourn does not like what he sees.

Comedy is a mirror held up to human nature. We laugh at what we see on stage. But if we feel unsettled as we laugh, it is because when we look into that mirror we see ourselves.

Richard Gidez for SCCT

 Performed July 30-31, August 1-2, 5-9 2003

(in order of appearance)

Jane Hopcroft…………………… Lisa Wiedemer
Sidney Hopcroft………………… Gary Cramer
Ronald Brewster-Wright………. Barry Hutzell
Marion Brewster-Wright………. Martha Traverse
Eva Jackson…………………….. Caitlin Osborne
Geoffrey Jackson………………. Jason Zanitsch
Dick and Lottie…………………. Voices Offstage