Henceforward... is in no small measure responsible for me writing this blog - and my job as Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist. It was my first introduction to Alan Ayckbourn seeing the world premiere production at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, in 1987.
It had a profound effect on me and led to a life-long interest in the playwright and eventually the opportunity to work for the playwright himself.
Henceforward... marks the first time that Alan Ayckbourn seriously embraces science fiction within his writing - and which becomes a common recurring theme from this point forward - and also marks the first time retackled the subject of what it is to be an artist and the process of artistic creation; in this case a composer.
The play is set in a dystopian near future inner city, practically over-run by gangs and where androids have become a relatively common feature of life (in this case a second-hand, malfunctioning one). The protagonist Jerome is a composer who creates his music by constantly recording everything going on around him; at the time his final composition was created using the then nascent technology off sampling.
Within the Ayckbourn Archive is a letter to the Stephen Joseph Theatre's press officer offering Alan's perspective of the technology within the play and how, in 1987, much of it was but a step way. Intriguingly, whilst some of it has been realised, other elements are still beyond us. For the moment.
|Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn|
Video phones haven't quite materialised in the way Alan predicted in the play, but they've been a part of everyday life for years now via the likes of Skype and FaceTime on mobile phones. The liquid-based computer is, as far as I am aware, still theoretical (but I stand to be corrected) whilst simple androids of the level of NAN 300F have essentially been created; they're not quite on the level of affordability to have as a common domestic aid.
You can see Alan's vision of a possible future at the Stephen Joseph Theatre from 8 September to 8 October at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in what is the first major revival of Henceforward.... since its award-winning West End production in 1988. Further details can be found at www.sjt.uk.com.
Henceforward... opened at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round on 30 July 1987 and was directed by Alan Ayckbourn. More details about the play can be found here.
If you'd like to meet Alan Ayckbourn, join him in rehearsals for his latest play and get the chance to put your own questions to him, click here to find out about the Premier Patrons week at the Stephen Joseph Theatre from 27 June to 2 July.