Body Language: 10 Facts

10 Facts offer an at a glance guide to some of the key information relating to Alan Ayckbourn's plays.
  • Body Language is Alan Ayckbourn's 39th play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 21 May 1990.
  • The play was revived by Alan Ayckbourn at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, opening on 24 August 1999.
  • One of the major inspirations for the play was Alan Ayckbourn telling the rather gruesome story to his acting company of how the actress Jayne Mansfield was involved in a tragic car accident which decapitated her. As he told the story, the actress Francis Jeater revealed she had also been in a car crash which had seen her go through a windscreen; Alan took it as providence for writing the play!
  • The dialogue of Hravic Zyergefoovc, the surgeon of uncertain eastern-European origin, is from an entirely fictional language created by Alan Ayckbourn. The playwright even created a dictionary of phrases with the intent of creating a character that no-one in the play or in the audience could understand!
  • The original production marked the first time Alan Ayckbourn worked with the composer John Pattison, who became the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round's Musical Director. He would compose music for a number of Alan Ayckbourn's plays and he would also work with Alan Ayckbourn on the musicals Dreams From A Summer House and A Word From Our Sponsor.
  • Body Language is regarded as one of Alan Ayckbourn's forays into fantasy within his 'adult' plays, inspired by the success of his writing for young people starting with Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays in 1988. Body Language and Wildest Dreams are considered his first forays into fantasy which were influenced by these experiences.
  • The play is one of Alan Ayckbourn's 'garden' plays being set entirely outside. Other plays set in the garden or equivalent include Round And Round The Garden, Joking Apart, Woman In Mind and Snake In The Grass.
  • Body Language was intended to transfer straight from the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, to the West End with its original company - which would have been a first for the playwright. However, the transfer did not take place and as of writing, Body Language has still not been produced in the West End.
  • The play is a rarity in being one of only several plays which have been revised and revived by Alan Ayckbourn without being presented under a new title. The other notable play to have been revised like this is It Could be Any One Of Us (several other plays have had major revisions, but then be presented under different titles).
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.