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© Anna-Maria Löffelberger

Season’s Greetings

Alan Ayckbourn

Premiere 11/21/2020 / Salzburg State Theatre


What would the most wonderful time of the year be without our wonderful families? Each year, they invade our homes for a celebration in perfect harmony. Indeed, everything should be perfect on this most important of all holidays. But as the lights burn bright on the Christmas tree, so do the conflicts endangering the family peace. Uncle Harvey wants to give real guns to the kids as Christmas presents and Uncle Bernard is getting on everybody’s nerves with his puppet show.

The classic comedy “Season’s Greetings” examines Christmas and its many minefields in an inimitable manner. The bourgeois home of Neville and his wife Belinda is the setting of a family gathering that is bound to go awry because of a fine combination of potential conflicts and sure-fire slapstick. When Belinda’s sister Rachel brings her attractive lover Clive to this feast of family conflicts, all the women go into raptures and a Christmas nightmare takes its course: Rachel loses Clive to her younger sister, the puppet show is a disaster and everybody is continually binge-drinking – only the drumming bear works just fine…

The great British writer Alan Ayckbourn (* 1939), “Britain’s most popular living playwright” (The Economist), has won numerous awards for his by now more than 80 plays, including seven Evening Standard Awards. In 1997 Ayckbourn became the first playwright to be knighted since Terence Rattigan. He received the Laurence Olivier Special Award in Britain for his life’s work in 2008 and the Special Tony Award, also for his lifetime achievement, in New York in 2010.

Alan Ayckbourn’s comedy “Season’s Greetings” dissects the rituals of bourgeois holiday bliss in a grand ensemble piece with fascinating and complex characters and biting British wit and wackiness. He “exaggerates the mild horror and holiday madness accompanying any annual celebrations and mandatory family gatherings: all the way to adultery under the Christmas tree and attempted manslaughter.” (Theater heute)