Man of Letters

Welcome to Tim


Man of Letters

A scene from the tlevision Man of Letters


















Theatre and Tim Firth


Man of Letters

Written by Tim Firth
Tim's first ever play for Alan Ayckbourn's Stephen Joseph Theatre.

One Act

Tim was asked by Alan Ayckbourn to write a Photo by Adrian Gatlestudio play and showed him studio which was also the theatre restaurant, full of old ladies eating soup round tables. He came up with play that was about putting letters on side of a building thinking it would mean the actors would legitimately have to shout, (to be heard over the slurping of soup) and you can't ignore a red five foot high letter F so they'd have to turn round.
Of course he didn't realise that when a play was on, the slurpers turned all the chairs round and made it into a theatre. But by then it was too late and Man Of Letters was written.
The commission came about when Connal Orton, who eventually directed it, gave Alan Auckbourn a student play of Tim's called Tale Of Two Yukkas - possibly the only play ever to star two people and two talking houseplants - AA wasn't sure about the play but liked the writing.



The Story

A Comedy on the Edge of a Building
Photo by Adrian GatleFrank, a well-worn northener, with aspirations to write spy thrillers - plots of which he acts out when alone - has erected signs for a commercial letterer for twenty five years. On a ledge of his boss's building, assisted by trainee Alan, he attempts to spell @Forshaw' - the letters collectively forming the play's third "character". Scroning help - "I don't need a plan for seven letters" - he is nevertheless nonplussed when the right letters do not appear. Dusk threatens, the building behind him grows cold, shorn of people expected back from lunch - and realisation dawns. Frank's opinion of the casual Alan changes as he learns that, unlike himself, Alan has real talent. Asking to finish the job, Alan makes the letters spell a different word ...


The Cast


First produced by Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.
FRANK - Jeffrey Chiswick
ALAN - Gary Whitaker
Directed by Connal Orton
Designed by Juliet Nichols



aOriginal Frank was Jeffrey Chiswick who used to be Maureen Lipman's husband in the old British Telecom television adverts...
a Original letters still held at Stephen Joseph Theatre and hired out to amateur productions to this day...
aa A film version for BBC schools SCENE series was made with Keith Barron and Sean Maguire...
a Left - A scene from the television MAN OF LETTERS...




A Man of Letters published by SAMUEL FRENCHa The play is available in print
SAMUEL FRENCH: ISBN 0-573-04227-6

arrowScripts, CDs and DVDs of Tim Firth's work are available.

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