Making Tracks (1981)
Making Tracks was the second full-length musical collaboration between Alan Ayckbourn and Paul Todd following the success of the 1980 musical Suburban Strains.
One of the issues which arose from Suburban Strains (and which has vexed Alan across many of his musicals) is where to put the musical accompaniment in-the-round without interrupting the action or being intrusive.
For Making Tracks, he solved the problem by integrating the musicians into the play itself, which is set in a recording studio. The play was also inspired by Alan's own work as a Radio Producer for the BBC during the 1960s.
Within the Ayckbourn Archive at the University of York, there is an illustration by Alan Ayckbourn of his original design for the set for the play.
|Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn|
On the right hand side of the page is a list of the songs as originally conceived for the musical, which went through a number of changes between then and the actual production.
The first act songs are listed as: Childrens' Eyes; Alright For Level; Waltz; She Writes The Word; Here We Go.
The actual first act song titles were: Childrens' Eyes; Alright For Level; Recording You; Words & Music; Words & Music reprise.
The second act songs as listed were: Job Swap; Medley; Side A; Showbiz Wife; Not A Star; Making Tracks.
The actual second act song titles were: We Are A Group; She Hasn’t Got It; Someone Wrong; Backing Vocals; Not For Sandy; Making Tracks.
As can be seen, Act II in particular bears little resemblance to the actual produced play. Despite being a hit in two separate Scarborough productions and a very successful run at the Greenwich Theatre, Making Tracks is one of the least well-known of Alan Ayckbourn's plays and because of this limited exposure, little is held about it in archive.
Making Tracks opened at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 16 December 1981 and was directed by Alan Ayckbourn. More details about the play can be found here.