Sisterly Feelings: In Brief

Key Facts relating to Alan Ayckbourn's Sisterly Feelings
  • Sisterly Feelings is Alan Ayckbourn's 23rd play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 10 January 1979.
  • The London premiere took place in The Olivier at the National Theatre on 3 & 4 June 1980. The premiere took place over two nights as each of the two major permutations of the play (Abigail & Dorcas) were presented during separate performances.
  • The play originally went through several titles changes before arriving at Sisterly Feelings; notes held in archive suggest other options included Like A Sister, As A Sister and Sisterly Touches.
  • It is the first of Alan Ayckbourn's 'chance' plays; plays which have a random element in them. Other 'chance' plays include It Could Be Any One Of Us and Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays. Intimate Exchanges is often incorrectly assumed to be a 'chance' play, but although it deals with choice and has 16 different permutations depending on decisions made within the play, the choices are not made live and are pre-determined before performance.
  • Alan Ayckbourn apparently had the idea for a play which involved different choices within its structure as early as 1973 when he was writing The Norman Conquests.
  • No matter what choices are made during Sisterly Feelings, the play always ends with the same final scene. However, this scene was written by Alan Ayckbourn with a degree of ambiguity so that it can be interpreted in different ways to reflect the decisions made during the play.
  • Sisterly Feelings is one of Alan Ayckbourn's plays set in his fictional town of Pendon. Other notable Pendon-set plays include Relatively Speaking, Time And Time Again, A Chorus Of Disapproval and Improbable Fiction.
  • Despite there being four possible permutations of the play, only two of them are named - Abigail & Dorcas - and which are generally considered the fixed variants of the play if performed without the chance elements.
  • It was the first Ayckbourn play to be produced in The Olivier auditorium at the National Theatre and only the second Ayckbourn play at the venue after Bedroom Farce. Part of the reason for Sisterly Feelings being set outdoors on Pendon Common was to solve the challenge of filling the vast Olivier space.
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