Confusions: Facts


Play Number: 17
World Premiere: 30 September 1974
Venue: The Large Lecture Room at the Library Theatre, Scarborough

Premiere Staging: Three-sided

Published: Samuel French, Methuen
Other Media: Radio

Cast: 3m / 2f
Run Time: 1hr 50m

Note: Confusions consists of five loosely connected one act plays.
  • Confusions is Alan Ayckbourn's 17th play.
  • The world premiere was held in the Large Lecture Room at the Library Theatre on 30 September 1974; the Concert Room where the company's summer seasons were held was unavailable and the play had to be presented three-sided in the smaller room at the library.
  • The London premiere took place at the Apollo Theatre on 19 May 1976.
  • The New York premiere took place at the 59E59 Theaters on 28 May 2016; more than four decades after its world premiere!
  • Confusions was originally conceived with a winter tour from Scarborough's Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre in mind; the tour would visit Scarborough, Whitby and Filey in repertory each week for several weeks. Each venue had different staging requirements so for each week of the tour the play was performed in-the-round, end-stage and three-sided!
  • The play was written originally for five actors with the intention of showcasing their talents in an evening with 20 different characters! *
  • It was the first Ayckbourn play to have been optioned for production in the commercial West End prior to its first performance.
  • The West End production of Confusions was hit by a string of bad luck which notably included John Alderton breaking his leg with one evening performing in a wheel chair and for several performances with a walking stick and leg in cast!
  • Gosforth's Fête is set in Alan Ayckbourn's fictional town of Pendon, where he has set a number of plays including Relatively Speaking, Ten Times Table and A Chorus Of Disapproval. As each of Confusions' one act plays are loosely connected by characters, it can be assumed all but Drinking Companion are set in Pendon (despite only Gosforth's Fête making specific reference to the town).
  • Confusions was the first play by Alan Ayckbourn to be included in the National Curriculum in the United Kingdom.
  • It has been adapted for the radio by the BBC on four separate occasions. None of these adaptations has ever adapted all five plays which comprise Confusions.
* Although there are 22 roles in the play, strictly speaking there are only 20 characters as the Waiter and Mrs Pearce both appear in two of the plays.

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