Body Language: Synopsis

Cast: 5 male / 3 female
Running time (approximate): - 2 hours 10 minutes - not including the interval.
Availability: This Is Where We Came In is available for both professional and amateur production.
Acting edition: Published by Samuel French.

Body Language is set in the grounds of a private clinic during the early 1990s. Alan Ayckbourn believes the majority of his works are period pieces which reflect society at the time they were written and prefers productions of his work be produced during the period they were written.


Hravic Zyergefoovc (A surgeon, 84)
Freya Roope (A nurse, 40)
Benjamin Cooper (A surgeon, 50)
Ronnie Weston (An agent, 51)
Angie Dell (A model, 30)
Derek Short (A photographer, 34)
Jo Knapton (A reporter, 30)
Mal Bennet (A bass player, 50)
A private clinic is playing host to Hravic Zyergefoovc, a radical surgeon of uncertain Eastern European origin, whose incomprehensible language is understood only by his secretary Freya, and partially by the clinic’s owner Benjamin Cooper. Hravic has come to England to cash in on his unethical surgery techniques.

Also present is the glamour model Angie Dell, accompanied by her pushy agent, Ronnie. A local reporter, Jo Knapton, arrives to interview Hravic about the ethics of his work. Jo is overweight and does not care about her appearance and the interview takes place as Angie poses for a photographer who has sneaked into the grounds. He recognises Hravic as the surgeon alleged to have sewn a dog’s head onto a pig’s body. The interview ends badly. A helicopter lands bringing Angie’s estranged husband Mal to talk about their relationship, before Jo requests an interview with Angie in the hope of salvaging something from the day. Angie agrees, but decides first to say farewell to Mal, who is leaving in the helicopter which he doesn’t really know how to fly. Angie and Jo get too close to the blades and they are decapitated. Mal screams and Hravic appears, urging the heads be saved.

Some weeks later, Hravic is discussing the success of his operation when Jo and Angie appear, both in heavy gowns and unable to do more than grunt. As they check to see if they are OK, they realise they have each other’s bodies. Jo and Angie end up fighting - except Angie, burdened by Jo’s body, doesn’t have the energy. Ronnie appears, concentrating on Jo and offering little sympathy to Angie. The two women agree to try and have the operation reversed. However, Freya reveals Hravic is incapable of the job and has killed more people than he has saved.

Mal appears and talks to Angie, who has re-discovered her sex drive with Jo’s body. Ronnie has also asked Jo to model for him. Both women feel they need to ask the other’s permission and have a tender conversation, ending on a hug. Mal though wants to have sex with Jo, not Angie as - to his mind - Jo has Angie’s body. Both women refuse to sleep with him. Freya is meanwhile desperate to stop the operation and decides to seduce Hravic. He later appears smiling and promptly collapses from a heart-attack.

Faced with the prospect of having to keep their new bodies, Angie and Jo decide they will stick together, tell their stories and make their fortunes. Both give each other permission to use their bodies as they see fit. Angie starts exercising, while Jo eats a chocolate bar.

Article by Simon Murgatroyd. Copyright: Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.