It Could Be Any One Of Us: 10 Facts

10 Facts offer an at a glance guide to some of the key information relating to Alan Ayckbourn's plays.
  • It Could Be Any One Of Us is Alan Ayckbourn's 30th play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 5 October 1983.
  • It is one of several plays by Alan Ayckbourn which includes a random element (in this case, the murderer is randomly chosen each performance). Other 'chance' plays by the playwright include Sisterly Feelings, Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays and Roundelay (although Intimate Exchanges is often described as a 'chance' play, there is no random element as all the choices within the play are made prior to the performance).
  • It was Alan Ayckbourn's second attempt at writing a random murderer thriller following an announcement in 1980 his next play would be the thriller Sight Unseen. This play was never written though and was replaced by Season's Greetings.
  • Despite being a thriller and featuring most of the tropes of the genre, the original version of the play lacked a key element… a murder. Unconvinced that an entire house could be filled with homicidal maniacs, Alan did not include a murder in the play when it premiered in 1983….
  • A fact rectified when Alan revised the play in 1996 which included a murder victim halfway through the play, fulfilling the tropes of the genre and creating a more satisfactory piece. It is one of several plays Alan Ayckbourn has revised, the most notable being Jeeves, Body Language and Callisto 5.
  • The murderer is decided in a game of cards at the end of Act 1, Scene 1. There are three possible murderers and the choice (which can also be pre-determined before the play) is made when one of the actors draws a specific card during the game.
  • Alan Ayckbourn has written several other thrillers and it is considered Communicating Doors and Snake In The Grass are the most successful of his forays into the genre.
  • Despite being withdrawn from production in the UK following its premiere in 1983, Alan did allow the play to be produced elsewhere and it became particularly popular in Germany during the 1980s. Following its revision in 1996 and publication in 1998, it has since become popular with amateur companies in the UK.
  • Chronologically, It Could Be Any One Of Us is the first Ayckbourn play in which someone is murdered - however it is not considered the first Ayckbourn play to have a murder as an actual death was only incorporated with its revision in 1996. As a result, A Small Family Business is actually considered the first play to have an actual murder (more accurately, manslaughter) in it.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.