Theatre - Henceforward
Alan Ayckbourn’s Henceforward is a social comedy set
in a distopic future ‘sometime soon’. It takes
place in the flat of a composer called Jerome who makes his
music from sampling everyday sounds. Jerome is living in a
bit of a dodgy neighbourhood: he is essentially barricaded
into his home by the local gang. Jerome has had composer’s
block since his wife left him some years before the play starts.
He is kept company by an android servant called Nan, who occasionally
malfunctions: the company that made her has gone bust, and
she cannot be repaired. The plot gets moving when his wife
announces that his estranged daughter is coming to stay with
him. Worried that she will be put off him by his bachelor
lifestyle he programmes the robot to pretend it is his fiancée.
Ayckbourn has said his play is about the problems artists
inevitably have trying to keep a distance between their emotional
and creative lives. “Is it possible to be an artist
and still live a normal life, still have normal relationships?”
he says. “The deeper those relationships go, the more
you are liable to use them in your work, simply because they're
there and feature very strongly in the centre of your life.
It's rather like making love to your wife and then showing
the snapshots round the bar afterwards, saying, 'This is what
she's like, fellas.”