Mr Whatnot (1968)This article was written by Alan Ayckbourn for the programme for his own amateur production of Mr Whatnot at Leeds Civic Theatre in 1968.
It was in 1963 whilst acting with the newly formed Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, that I first dreamed up the idea of writing a silent film, for the stage. That is, a play that depended upon lengthy visual techniques with the minimum emphasis on dialogue which actors, as opposed to trained mime artists, could perform.
Mr Whatnot was the result.
It has no message - no claims to anything deep or mysterious. The people in it really do exist. Just buy a copy of the Tatler and you'll see where I pinched what dialogue there is. They're narrow, stuffy, unimaginative, boring and I'm very fond of them.
I hope you enjoy the exploits of Mr Whatnot who blunders into their world. After all, that was why it was written purely for laughter.
Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.