SPARKy Presents NT Live: “A Small Family Business”

SPARKy Presents NT Live: “A Small Family Business”

SPARKy Productions kicks off the summer with an NT LIVE simulcast on Tuesday, June 24, 7 p.m. at The Michael D. Palm Theatre. The production is Alan Ayckbourn’s comedy “A Small Family Business.” This is a pre-recording of a play performed by The National Theatre of Great Britain. So if you can’t get to London this summer, treat yourself to the next best thing and come to The Palm.  Telluride is probably the smallest venue than NT LIVE is seen. Simulcasts are generally shown in major cities around the world, where these recorded performances are sold-out. Alan Ayckbourn is England’s premier social comedy playwright.


2014 marks Ayckbourn’s 53rd year as a theatre director and his 55th as a playwright. He has spent his life in theatre, rarely if ever tempted by television or film, which perhaps explains why he continues to be so prolific. To date he has written 78 plays and his work has been translated into over 35 languages and is performed on stage and television throughout the world and has won countless awards.

Major successes include: “Relatively Speaking,” “How the Other Half Loves,” “Absurd Person Singular,” “Bedroom Farce,” “A Chorus of Disapproval” and “The Norman Conquests.”

In the past four years, there have been revivals of “Season’s Greetings” and “A Small Family Business” at the National Theatre and in the West End productions of “Absent Friends,” “A Chorus of Disapproval” and “Relatively Speaking.” This year marks the 50th anniversary of his first West End production, “Mr Whatnot.”

In recent years, Ayckbourn was inducted into American Theatre’s Hall of Fame, received the 2010 Critics’ Circle Award for Services to the Arts and became the first British playwright to receive both Olivier and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards. He was knighted in 1997 for services to the theatre.

 “A Small Family Business” is a revival, it was first produced at the National Theatre when Alan was the Artistic Director in 1987.  The play starts off with the premise of “ What if all your in-laws are outlaws?”

The story involves Jack McCracken: a man of principle in a corrupt world. But not for long. Moments after taking over his father-in-law’s business, he’s approached by a private detective armed with some compromising information. Jack’s integrity fades away as he discovers his extended family to be thieves and adulterers, looting the business from their suburban homes. Rampant self-interest takes over and comic hysteria builds to a macabre finish.

“So I started on the story of a man, a good and honest man, who does something few of us would object to…” says Ayckbourn.

This timely comedy will be shown one night only. $15 for adults;$10 students. All SPARKy Members FREE. To become a SPARK SALON member, go to Memberships include access to the Telluride Playwrights Festival, July 21-27, Sheridan Opera House.

For a taste of the program, watch this short video:

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