Wildest Dreams: In Brief

Key facts relating to Alan Ayckbourn's Wildest Dreams.
  • Wildest Dreams is Alan Ayckbourn's 42nd play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 6 May 1991.
  • The London premiere was held at The Pit at the Barbican on 14 December 1993. Produced by the Royal Shakespeare company, it transferred to the Swan Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon, on 16 Match 1994.
  • It marked the first time an Alan Ayckbourn play had been produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company; astonishingly this was entirely due to Alan's then agent Tom Erhardt suggesting the play during a lunch with the RSC's Artistic Director Adrian Noble.
  • Alan Ayckbourn has frequently noted Wildest Dreams marks the point where his adult work becomes more fantastical and began to be more obviously influenced by his experiences writing plays for young people and families; although elements of fantasy in his adult work date back to Way Upstream (1981).
  • 'The Game' played in Wildest Dreams is loosely inspired by fantasy role-roleplaying board and computer games (the latter in their infancy when the play was originally written). However, it is not based on any specific role-playing / computer game and Alan did not research role-playing games before writing the play (although he has always been a keen board and computer game player); 'The Game' and its rules are meant to be deliberately vague.
  • Wildest Dreams is one of several Ayckbourn plays to prominently feature a game (Alan was notorious for inventing board games at home during the '60s and '70s). The most famous of which is featured in Living Together from The Norman Conquests.
  • It is the first Ayckbourn play to feature an on-stage lesbian kiss between characters; at the time of its opening, Alan was worried the more conservative press might pick up on this (a local Scarborough newspaper had previously made an issue of the first on-stage nudity in an Ayckbourn play with Way Upstream in 1981).
  • Alan Ayckbourn has also suggested it is the first of his plays to tackle physical spousal abuse - arguably mental spousal abuse (intended or otherwise) has been a part of Ayckbourn plays since the 1970s.
  • Wildest Dreams is often compared to Alan Ayckbourn's play Woman In Mind, in which the characters retreat into fantasy worlds to escape their real lives. The difference is at the climax of Wildest Dreams, the protagonists willingly choose fantasy over reality rather than the complete breakdown Susan undergoes in Woman In Mind.
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