Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays: Behind The Scenes

Behind The Scenes offers a glimpse at some rarely known facts regarding the writing of Alan Ayckbourn's plays with material drawn from the Ayckbourn Archive at the University Of York and the playwright's personal archive.
  • The original production of Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays was produced at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, in repertory with Stephen Mallatratt's adaptation of Henry James' The Turn of The Screw. As a result of this, both plays shared the same set - which given this was a spooky old house, was apt for Suzy's explorations into the strange house of Mr Accousticus.
  • Whilst Alan Ayckbourn had high hopes the play might transfer to the National Theatre, initial discussions fell through. As a result of which, Alan's frequent London producer Michael Codron optioned the play for a London premiere at the Aldwych Theatre in December 1989. Unfortunately, this production also fell through and although Polka Children's Theatre did present a production in 1989, the first major production of the play in London had to wait until the National Theatre produced Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays in 1993.
  • Although the play is renowned for its interactivity in Act 2 with the audience deciding which path to take around the house, there is another random element not as well known. Suzy is searching for The Cabinet Of Sounds, which can be put in any one of several rooms decided prior to the performance. Alan Ayckbourn deliberately added this extra element so children seeing it for a second time could still be surprised and in the unlikely event an audience took the same route through the house, the Cabinet was not necessarily where it had been previously.
  • Although the choice of route through the house in the second act of the play is random and entirely up to the audience, it has been argued there are probably more frequently visited paths than others as certain paths are probably more appealing to children than others (such as a secret panel rather than a chimney). However, this is merely a theory and there's no evidence to suggest this was intended or that audiences do favour certain paths more than others.
  • The play originally had the working title of The Maze Plays before it became Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of there copyright holder.