Absent Friends: Frequently Asked Questions

Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist Simon Murgatroyd's answers some of the most frequently asked questions about Alan Ayckbourn's Absent Friends. If you have a question about this or any other of Alan Ayckbourn's plays, you can contact the website via the Contact Us page.

What does it mean that Absent Friends is set in 'real time'?
A play set in 'real time' means the same amount of time elapses for the characters in the play as does for the audience. So a two hour long play presents 120 uninterrupted minutes of the character's life. Essentially, if a two hour play is set at 2pm one afternoon, it will finish at 4pm that afternoon. There are no jumps in time or location, we spend two hours watching two hours of these character's lives at the tea party; the set amount of time elapses for both at the audience and the characters.

Where can I obtain the television adaptation of Absent Friends?
Unfortunately, the television adaptation of Absent Friends is not available to buy. The adaptation has never been released commercially and the playwright is aware of no intention by any media company to release Absent Friends in the foreseeable future.

Where can I obtain the BBC Radio adaptation of Absent Friends?
The BBC Radio adaptation of Absent Friends has never been made available commercially nor will it ever be made available commercially. This is because it was not approved by Alan Ayckbourn (who may not actually have been aware of it until the year after it was first broadcast). Unhappy with the dramatic cuts to the play, he requested the play be withdrawn and not broadcast again. It has subsequently been broadcast but the BBC has now officially been requested to neither broadcast nor further exploit the adaptation in the future.

All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.