Sir Alan Ayckbourn's three comedies, GamePlan, Flat Spin and RolePlay open at the Duchess Theatre on Sept. 7, under the collective title of Damsels in Distress.
As with the recent opening of Sir Tom Stoppard's Russian trilogy The Coast of Utopia, all three will have press performances on one Saturday: GamePlan will start at 11:30 AM, FlatSpin at 3:30 PM and RolePlay at 7:30 PM.
Damsels in Distress comprises three increasingly dark comedies, written to be performed by the same cast, on the same set — a flat in London's Docklands — and they each feature a "damsel in distress." All three plays can be seen independently in any order, or together as a trilogy.
The three were premiered at Ayckbourn's home base of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough in 2001. The original company of seven actors — Robert Austin, Saskia Butler, Bill Champion, Tim Faraday, Jacqueline King, Beth Tuckey and Alison Pargeter — will be transferring to the West End.
Sir Alan has the extraordinary distinction of being the most performed (after Shakespeare) playwright in the English language, as well as one of the most prolific. It is thought that he is working on another play for Janie Dee, for whom he wrote Comic Potential, in which she proved herself as adept an actress as she is a singer — the latter being confirmed by the amazing reviews she got for her week in the recent Divas at the Donmar series. Damsels in Distress is directed by Ayckbourn himself, designed by Roger Glossop, with lighting by Mick Hughes and costumes by Christine Wall.