‘Beware: the kingdom of the Hopcroft is at hand’. Explain, with close reference to Absurd Person Singular, why Ayckbourn should deliver this warning about the rise of Sidney and Jane.
Absurd Person Singular is staged in three successive Christmases. The three Christmases show the change in status of the Hopcrofts. The Hopcrofts move up the social ladder each Christmas;, starting in Act 1, whenre they are at the bottom, through to Act 3 whenre everyone is dancing to their tune. The Hopcrofts are not the only couple whose circumstances change;, by Act three 3 roles have been reversed and it is Geoffrey Jackson in need of a job from Sidney. Even though circumstances have changed, the three years show how the characters have remained consistent. Each of the gatherings is more for the purpose of social climbing rather than to celebrate the season. In the third act Ronald asks Eva if she wants a drink ‘seeing as it’s Christmas’. The three couples see Christmas as a time for going through the motions rather than a time to enjoy themselves. Christmas should be a time to prioritise family over business; instead business seems to be the main priority.
The warning Ayckbourn delivers about the Hopcrofts is communicated through Sidney’s behaviour. Sidney is an obsessive character who is precise with details, following everything in life by the book. In the first act he times the arrival of the guests to the minute ‘consulting his watch’ and informing Jane that in ‘seven minutes –they’ll be here’. Sidney is a character that who craves power and constantly feels the need to be in control. Sidney is most happy when barking out his orders. An example of this is at the ending of Act 3 when he shouts ‘Dance, Come on, Dance, Keep on dancing’ to the other couples who are forced to participate in his party game. He is persistent in his efforts to climb up the social ladder and does not let anything get in his way. As long as Sidney gets to the top he does not care about anyone...
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