Haunting Julia: Frequently Asked Questions

Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist Simon Murgatroyd's answers some of the most frequently asked questions about Alan Ayckbourn's Haunting Julia. If you have a question about this or any other of Alan Ayckbourn's plays, you can contact the website via the Contact Us page.

Does Joe see his daughter's ghost at the climax of the play?
That is for the audience to decide as, obviously, only Joe sees what is on the bed (although the audience and other characters see physical manifestations of the event). Alan Ayckbourn's own interpretation is that Joe is seeing a 'real' ghost rather than a product of his imagination; however, he also feels it can be interpreted as either a physical manifestation of Julia or a product of Joe's obsession with his daughter; Joe is both a haunted and haunting character whether literally or metaphorically and both interpretations are valid. Unlike Snake In The Grass, the play is slightly less ambiguous about the supernatural though as whilst only Joe sees Julia, the other men do experience her manifestation through the physical effects in the room and the bleeding on the bed.

Is it possible to buy Haunting Julia as a single playscript rather than as part of the collection Alan Ayckbourn: Plays 3?
Yes. Samuel French publishes an acting edition of Haunting Julia which is available from amazon.co.uk here. Please note, this is the two-act version rather than the author's preferred one-act version but it can easily be amended into one act (see below).

Haunting Julia is published in two versions, a one-act version (Faber) and a two-act version (Samuel French), which is the preferred version of the play?
Alan Ayckbourn prefers that Haunting Julia be performed as the one act version, uninterrupted by an interval. He feels this is the version most conducive to the play and the experience of seeing the play. He does acknowledge though that occasionally it is necessary to perform a play in two acts, in which case the two-act version can be used if necessary.

What should I do to make the play one act if I have the Samuel French edition?
As reading the play will show, it takes place in actual time so it's very easy to take it back into one act format. Act II begins by repeating the last line of Act I, so just remove the duplication and run it straight through to make it one act.

Are there any differences between the scripts for the stage play and the audio play?
Not really. There are several small dialogue inserts to clarify what is happening, but these amount to less than 10 additional short lines of dialogue.

Where can I listen to the audio play version of Haunting Julia?
Haunting Julia will be available to stream from the Stephen Joseph Theatre's website www.sjt.uk.com from 1 December 2020 to 5 January 2021. It will cost £12 to stream.

Is Haunting Julia part of a trilogy of plays alongside Snake In The Grass and Life & Beth and, if so, is this trilogy called Things That Go Bump?
No. Haunting Julia is not part of a trilogy of supernatural plays and there is no such thing as the Things That Go Bump trilogy.

To elaborate, Alan Ayckbourn has not written a trilogy called
Things That Go Bump, nor has he ever referred to these plays as a trilogy nor used the title Things That Go Bump for the plays himself.

The confusion stems from the fact that when the three plays were produced together at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in 2008, they were promoted under the season title of
Things That Go Bump. This was a marketing campaign created specifically for this season and the title has never since been used officially in association with the three plays.

However, certain unreliable media reports and websites - most notably Wikipedia - inaccurately referred to the plays as the
Things That Go Bump trilogy leading to the - incorrect - suggestion that these three plays formed a trilogy such as The Norman Conquests or Damsels In Distress.

While the three plays share similar themes (the supernatural, parents' relationship to their children) and
Life & Beth was written initially with the cast requirements of Haunting Julia and Snake In The Grass in mind, these three plays are not considered to be an actual trilogy. Rather they are three thematically connected plays which can be performed with the same company.

According to the playwright himself, any website or article which refers to
Haunting Julia, Snake In The Grass and Life & Beth as the Things That Go Bump trilogy or just a trilogy is inaccurate and ill-researched.

All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.