Callisto 5 / Callisto#7: 10 Facts

10 Facts offer an at a glance guide to some of the key information relating to Alan Ayckbourn's plays.
  • Callisto 5 is Alan Ayckbourn's 41st play (Callisto#7 is considered a revision of the same play).
  • The world premiere of Callisto 5 was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 12 December 1990.
  • The world premiere of Callisto#7 was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 4 December 1999.
  • It is the only Alan Ayckbourn play for which two versions exist (Callisto 5 and Callisto#7) and which are both available to produce. Although Callisto 5 is the only play to have been published, both versions are considered available for production.
  • The play was inspired by Alan's love of science-fiction movies and novels. The play explicitly recalls Ridley Scott's Alien movie; a director who Alan Ayckbourn is an admirer of and whose distinctive used future aesthetic has influenced Alan Ayckbourn in all his science-fiction plays. A fuller list of Alan Ayckbourn's influences can be found on the Ayckbourn Articles page.
  • The plays are set on Callisto, which was discovered by Galileo in 1610AD and is the outermost Gallilean satellite of Jupiter. At the time of writing the play, only 13 of Jupiter's moons had been discovered. Since then this number has risen to 67 confirmed moons!
  • The family plays are frequently thematically linked to one of Alan Ayckbourn's 'adult' plays. Callisto 5 / Callisto#7 is most frequently associated with Henceforward…, another play featuring a malfunctioning android which questions the effects of solitude and technology dominated lives.
  • It is one of his family plays which feature an absent father (in this case, the father and mother are stranded on another part of the moon). Absent fathers / parents are a recurring element found in plays such as Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays, Whenever, The Jollies and My Sister Sadie.
  • In the original productions of the play, Jem plays with a cuddly ball which emits a squeal when thrown in the air; the same toy would make a re-appearance in the original production of Alan Ayckbourn's 2013 play Surprises.
  • Although robots / androids are a frequent element in Alan Ayckbourn's plays, the Callisto plays are the only plays where the android is obviously robotic as opposed to being fully human in appearance (a robot like character also appears in The Champion Of Paribanou, but strictly speaking this is an automaton).
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.