Space for Love: The Triangle Spatial Relationships in Alan Ayckbourn’s “Things We Do for Love”


Alan Ayckbourn is a prolific British playwright whose plays are mostly classified as comedy. Many themes in his plays are about domestic interpersonal relationships. He also employs many spatial movements and placements in his plays. In Things We Do for Love, on the stage, Barbara's house is divided into three levels. The audience can see the whole movement of the ground floor, and partial movement of other flats: the half movements of the basement and the second floor. A couple, Nikki Wickstead and Hamish Alexander, is moving into the upstairs of Barbara Trapes' house. Another tenant, Gilbert Fleet, living in the basement, secretly admires Barbara and steals Barbara's clothes. Barbara, who is also Nikki's best friend, at first disdains Hamish. However, after a party, Hamish and Barbara accidentally have an affair from which Barbara cannot withdraw. Nikki finds out, breaks up with Hamish, and goes upstairs to pack. At the same time, Gilbert falls down and breaks his legs when he is painting a nudity of Barbara.
This paper delves into love and its relationships with space among the characters in terms of what Henri Lefebvre calls triad space and everyday life. Lefebvre points out that each one of us is part a of rhythm of daily life. Every movement implies variation in our daily life. Variation connects and establishes people's relationships in which the space is produced. Space is a metaphor dictating the code in everyone's verbal and bodily activities. The three flats in this play signify the spatial meanings and symbols as the characters move among them. Discussion will include how the characters' spatial movement represents their attitudes toward love and life and how we approach the way of reading space in this play that distinguishes from each other throughout the characters' interpretation and identification within space.

Author Information
Chia-ching Lin, Yu Da University, Taiwan

Paper Information
Conference: LibrAsia2013
Stream: Literature

This paper is part of the LibrAsia2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Lin C. (2013) Space for Love: The Triangle Spatial Relationships in Alan Ayckbourn’s “Things We Do for Love” ISSN: 2186-2281 – The Asian Conference on Literature and Librarianship 2013 – Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon