Callisto 5 / Callisto#7: Behind The Scenes

Behind The Scenes offers a glimpse at some rarely known facts regarding the writing of Alan Ayckbourn's plays with material drawn from the Ayckbourn Archive at the University Of York and the playwright's personal archive.
  • In an interview with Bernard F Dukore shortly before Alan Ayckbourn began writing Callisto 5, the playwright noted that he intended the malfunctioning robot child-minder to be the same model of robot, the NAN500F, that was previously seen in his play Henceforward…. This would have made explicit the suggestion that Callisto 5 was a young people's version of Henceforward…. For unknown reasons, when Alan wrote the play he changed the character to be more overtly robotic character in appearance with the name of DAMARIS (Domestic Auxillary Modular Automatically Reprogammable In-House System).
  • Callisto 5 was the first Ayckbourn play to make use of on-stage video footage; it was shown through screens hung from the grid above the in-the-round acting space facing the audience. The footage was entirely pre-recorded as it needs to show an otherwise invisible monster wondering the on-stage set. As a result of this, in both versions of the play, the actors holding the dummy video camera have to exactly mirror the movement of the camera footage being shown on the screens, which is supposed to be a live-feed from the camera to the monitors.
  • In both Callisto plays, the alien creature (unseen except in the pre-recorded footage) is not mentioned in the programme nor the actor credited (in Callisto 5, this was the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round's Press Officer Jeannie Swales and in Callisto#7, the actress Sherry Booth). The original monster - in the grand tradition of '60s - '80s British science-fiction television - was created with bubble wrap with a rubbish bin for a head, which had the base cut off and a vicious set of cardboard teeth stuck around the edge….
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.