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Things We Do for Love - Full Length Play, Comedy

Things We Do for Love

Alan Ayckbourn

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Full Length Play, Comedy

2m, 2f

ISBN: 9780573019142

"Handles a potentially tragic theme with a rueful comic zest.... This is a Private Lives for the nineties." - The Guardian

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Description | Characters | Media | Author | Reviews
: Acting Edition

Minimum Fee: $100 per performance


Full Length Play



Interior Set

An ingenious set greets the audience of this award winning play: the cross section of a Victorian house that has been divided into three flats. The owner, a fastidious, elegant executive named Barbara, contentedly occupies the ordered, male free ground floor visible in its entirety. The basement ceiling can be seen and this is were Gilbert, a boorish postman and handyman, is painting a nude study of his landlady. Barbara is letting Nikki, a schoolfriend, and her fiance use the upstairs flat even though she has taken an instant dislike to him. Ever life's victim, Nikki is destined to suffer yet again when Barbara succumbs to an unexpected and violent passion.


"Handles a potentially tragic theme with a rueful comic zest.... This is a Private Lives for the nineties." - London Guardian

"It comes at you with a sense of new minted inspiration, and of wit and comedy, which is both bruising and healing. As with all of [Ayckbourn's] best work, the structure of the play and the structure of the set are expressions of the play's subject." - London Sunday Times



2m, 2f

  • Alan Ayckbourn on Growing As a Dramatist

  • Alan Ayckbourn on Comparisons

  • Alan Ayckbourn on How to Approach His Plays

  • Alan Ayckbourn on Getting Started

  • Alan Ayckbourn on the Difference Between Then and Now

  • Alan Ayckbourn on Ideas

  • Alan Ayckbourn on Writing a Well Made Play

Alan Ayckbourn

Alan Ayckbourn

Alan Ayckbourn has spent his life in theatre, rarely if ever tempted by television or film, which perhaps explains why he continues to be so prolific. To date he has written 77 plays, and his work has been translated into over 35 languages, is performed on stage and television throughout the world, and has won countless awards. Major successes include: Relatively Speaking, How the Other Half Loves ... view full profile

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Karen Heimbaugh 4/21/2013 4:56 PM
Humorous and moving, British playwright, Alan Ayckbourn, has written an exploration about the false beliefs we hold that have been thrust upon us by the societal conventions we are expected to follow.  Focusing on a dedicated career woman in the 1990’s, Ayckbourn encourages the audience to reexamine their views about loneliness, fulfillment and what it means to be in love.

Barbara has made the choice to focus on her career and has accepted her role as a cold, unattached woman of the world.  When her engaged, childhood friend, Nikki, arrives to rent an apartment, Barbara’s beliefs about the superiority of her life choice are validated.  Hearing the woes of Nikki’s entanglement in a previous, abusive relationship and the struggles she has faced in adjusting to her new, loving engagement has Barbara reveling in her decision to spend her life alone.

When Nikki’s fiancé Hamish arrives, the animosity between he and Barbara is palpable.  Their differing views on subjects such as vegetarianism and furnishings have them stumbling into misunderstandings.  The hostility grows into a surprising twist when Barbara and Hamish discover their sexual attraction for one another and decide to act on this impulse.  Enhancing this humorous love triangle is resident, drunken, handyman Gilbert; so in love with Barbara that he has painted a nude mural of her on his apartment ceiling.  

The set reveals three levels of apartments in the building.  However, only the feet and legs of the actors are seen in the uppermost apartment and only the heads are seen in the lower apartment. Also, an experienced fight coordinator may be needed to choreograph an amusing, intricately described fight scene. Despite these small production challenges, Things We Do for Love promises to entertain and engage the audience and artists involved in the production.

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