D&L 36 – Arrivals and Departures
Written by John Cotgrave
Arrivals & Departures: In Brief
Key Facts relating to Alan Ayckbourn’s Arrivals & Departures.
Arrivals & Departures is Alan Ayckbourn’s 77th play.
The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 6 August 2013.
The New York premiere was held at the 59E59 Theatres, New York, on 29 May as part of the Brits Off Broadway festival.
Alan Ayckbourn describes Arrivals & Departures as a memory play, in which we see events in flashbacks from the memories of the characters Barry and Ez.
Due to the nature of the play, it is deliberately written so that the audience know far more about the two characters Ez and Barry and their backgrounds, than they ever discover about each other – despite the play being centred in the pair.
It is one of the few Alan Ayckbourn plays to feature a character identifiably from Yorkshire (the part of England where Alan Ayckbourn lives), in this case Barry is from Harrogate. Other plays which specifically reference the north of England, particularly Yorkshire, are Haunting Julia and Time Of My Life.
It is one of the few Ayckbourn plays to be specifically set in London. Other London-set plays include Virtual Reality, GamePlan, FlatSpin, RolePlay, Sugar Daddies and Private Fears In Public Places.
The memories experienced by Barry and Ez reach back up to thirty years previously, making this second only to A Brief History Of Women in the amount of time portrayed in an Ayckbourn play.
Arrivals & Departures was the tenth Ayckbourn play (as of 2017) to have been directed in New York by the playwright himself. The previous plays are Bedroom Farce (co-directed with Peter Hall); By Jeeves, Intimate Exchanges, My Wonderful Day, Neighbourhood Watch, Private Fears In Public Places, Time Of My Life, Hero’s Welcome and Confusions.
It is only the second Ayckbourn play to feature military characters after My Sister Sadie. Although other plays, such as Private Fears In Public Places, features characters who have military backgrounds, this is only the second time military characters on active duty have been portrayed in an Ayckbourn play.