Life & Beth: In Brief

Key Facts relating to Alan Ayckbourn's Life & Beth.
  • Life & Beth is Alan Ayckbourn's 71st play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 22 July 2008.
  • Life & Beth was the first play written by Alan Ayckbourn following his stroke in February 2006 and was written during the summer of 2007.
  • It was originally going to be titled Life After Beth and in the original concept for the play it was Beth, rather than her husband, who had died.
  • Life & Beth is the third (so far!) supernatural play written by Alan Ayckbourn, although he does not consider these plays to be a trilogy. The previous two plays were Haunting Julia and Snake In The Grass.
  • The play features three men and three women and was written to complement Haunting Julia and Snake In The Grass and can be performed with the combined company from these two plays.
  • Although very much lighter in tone than his other supernatural plays, Life & Beth does share a theme of parents' relationships to children and how those relationships affect the children.
  • Life & Beth is one of the few plays by Alan Ayckbourn to feature a main role which is entirely silent. In this case, the role of the exasperated girl-friend Ella is silent.
  • The play is the second in succession which features a plea to 'higher powers' that - depending on how you view the play - is the possible catalyst for an unexpected turn of events. In Life & Beth, it is a prayer from the vicar, in If I Were You, it is Jill's plea of 'God Help Us' at the end of Act 1.
  • Given the playwright's love of all things feline, it is surprisingly the first of his plays to feature an on-stage cat - albeit in a spectral form.
  • Contrary to what other web-sites might report, Life & Beth is not part of a trilogy called Things That Go Bump. This is because Alan Ayckbourn has never written a trilogy called Things That Go Bump nor does he consider Life & Beth to be part of a trilogy.
Article by Simon Murgatroyd. Copyright: Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.