Absurd Person Singular

by

Sir Alan Ayckbourn

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Sidney Hopcroft Character Analysis

Sidney Hopcroft is a thirty-something, middle-class businessman who appears to own a chain of stores, and later a number of apartment buildings. However, the precise nature of his business is never fully explained. Initially portrayed as a mediocre, talentless man, Sidney’s fortunes grow between each act of the play. In the first act, his fortunes are insecure, and he is eager to impress his wealthier, more successful friends. But by the third act, it is Sidney who seems wealthy and self-satisfied, while his friends are eager to flatter him. In some ways, Sidney is presented as a pathetic character—in particular, his infatuation with games seems childish. In other ways, Sidney could be interpreted as an aggressive, even abusive character: he seems to take his wife, Jane Hopcroft, for granted, and to think of her as a tool to help him impress his friends and make more money. But ultimately, Sidney is neither hero nor villain. Like every other character in the play, he’s adrift in the world—even though he’s doing well in Act Three, it’s not hard to imagine an Act Four in which he’s poor again.

Sidney Hopcroft Quotes in Absurd Person Singular

The Absurd Person Singular quotes below are all either spoken by Sidney Hopcroft or refer to Sidney Hopcroft. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Middle Class Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of Absurd Person Singular published in 1994.
Act One Quotes

SIDNEY: [chuckling knowingly] I don't imagine the wife of a banker will particularly choose to spend her evening in our kitchen. Smart as it is.

Related Characters: Sidney Hopcroft (speaker), Jane Hopcroft
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

JANE: No, but it's special tonight, isn't it? I mean, with Mr. and Mrs. Brewster-Wright and Mr. and Mrs. Jackson. It's important.
SIDNEY: Don't forget Dick and Lottie Potter. They're coming, too.
JANE: Oh, well, I don't count Dick and Lottie. They're friends.

Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

MARION: Just look at these working surfaces and you must have a gorgeous view from that window, I imagine.
SIDNEY: Well…
MARION: It must be stunning. You must look right over the fields at the back.
SIDNEY: No—no.
JANE: No, we just look into next door's fence.
MARION: Well, which way are the fields?
JANE: I've no idea.
MARION: How extraordinary. I must be thinking of somewhere else.

Related Characters: Sidney Hopcroft (speaker), Jane Hopcroft (speaker), Marion Brewster-Wright (speaker)
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

SIDNEY: What?
EVA: Did I put that glass in there?
SIDNEY: Er—yes.
EVA: My God, I knew it, I'm going mad. I am finally going mad.

Related Characters: Sidney Hopcroft (speaker), Eva Jackson (speaker)
Related Symbols: Alcohol
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

MARION: Oh, that's lovely. Just that teeny bit stronger. You know what I mean. Not too much tonic . . .
SIDNEY: No, well . . .
MARION: Perfect.
SIDNEY: Actually, that's neat gin, that is.

Related Characters: Sidney Hopcroft (speaker), Marion Brewster-Wright (speaker)
Related Symbols: Alcohol
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:

RONALD: Ah. Well, as long as you know about him. Might have been after your silver. I mean, you never know. Not these days.
SIDNEY : No, indeed. No, he—he was from the off-licence.

Related Characters: Sidney Hopcroft (speaker), Ronald Brewster-Wright (speaker), Jane Hopcroft
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

GEOFFREY: Oh now, come off it. Nonsense. She chooses to live with me, she lives by my rules. I mean we've always made that perfectly clear. She lives her life to a certain extent; I live mine, do what I like within reason. It's the only way to do it...
SIDNEY: Good gracious.
RONALD: I wish you'd have a chat with Marion. Convince her.

Related Characters: Sidney Hopcroft (speaker), Ronald Brewster-Wright (speaker), Geoffrey Jackson (speaker), Marion Brewster-Wright, Eva Jackson
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:

SIDNEY: These people just weren't anybody. They are people in the future who can be very, very useful to us...

Related Characters: Sidney Hopcroft (speaker), Jane Hopcroft
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Two Quotes

GEOFFREY: Yes, I know. You’re very anxious, aren't you, that I should go and work for the up and coming Mr. Hopcroft? So is up and coming Mr. Hopcroft.

Related Characters: Geoffrey Jackson (speaker), Sidney Hopcroft, Eva Jackson
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

JANE: Shall I tell you something—Sidney would get so angry if he heard me saying this—but I'd far sooner be down here on the floor, on my knees in the oven—than out there, talking. Isn't that terrible. But I’m never at ease, really, at parties. I don't enjoy drinking, you see.

Related Characters: Jane Hopcroft (speaker), Sidney Hopcroft, Eva Jackson
Related Symbols: Alcohol
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

SIDNEY: Now. I'll give you a little tip, if you like. You’ll never get a sink unblocked that way.

Related Characters: Sidney Hopcroft (speaker), Eva Jackson
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

RONALD: Had a good year. Must be pretty pleased.
SIDNEY: Oh, yes. Had a few lucky hunches. Seemed to pay off.

Related Characters: Sidney Hopcroft (speaker), Ronald Brewster-Wright (speaker)
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

SIDNEY: Don't do that! Don't do that! It's too late for that. Look at this shirt. This is a new shirt.

Related Characters: Sidney Hopcroft (speaker)
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Three Quotes

EVA: Darling, I hate to remind you but ever since the ceiling of the Harrison building caved in and nearly killed the Manager, Sidney Hopcroft is about your only hope of surviving as an architect in this city.

Related Characters: Eva Jackson (speaker), Sidney Hopcroft, Geoffrey Jackson, Walter Harrison
Related Symbols: The Shopping Complex
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:

MARION: Why don't you just go in the hall and shout "Go away" through the letter-box?
RONALD: Because he happens to have a very large deposit account with my bank.

Related Characters: Ronald Brewster-Wright (speaker), Marion Brewster-Wright (speaker), Sidney Hopcroft, Jane Hopcroft
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

SIDNEY: That's it. Dance. Come on. Dance. Dance. Come on. Dance. Dance. Dance. Keep dancing. Dance . . .

Related Characters: Sidney Hopcroft (speaker)
Related Symbols: Musical Dancing
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
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Absurd Person Singular PDF

Sidney Hopcroft Character Timeline in Absurd Person Singular

The timeline below shows where the character Sidney Hopcroft appears in Absurd Person Singular. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
The play begins “last Christmas” in the kitchen of the suburban home of Sidney Hopcroft and Jane Hopcroft, both in their thirties. Their home is modest, but it has... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
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As Jane scrubs, Sidney notes that he has “a few games lined up .... just in case.” He also... (full context)
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Sidney asks Jane for a “Christmas kiss,” but Jane instead says that Sidney’s tie smells like... (full context)
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Sidney ducks back into the kitchen, where Jane is still spraying. Jane remembers that she’s been... (full context)
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Jane and Sidney leave the kitchen, and the sound of laughter and conversation from offstage fills the kitchen.... (full context)
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A moment later, Jane, Sidney, and Ronald Brewster-Wright—a man in his mid-forties who is “impressive without being distinguished”—burst into the... (full context)
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...things” and then shut and forgotten about. Marion also notices the washing machine, which was Sidney’s Christmas present to Jane. She notices the dial that reads, “Whites-coloreds” and jokes, “it’s apartheid,”... (full context)
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The doorbell rings, and Jane leaves the room to greet the guests. Marion asks Sidney, who she calls “Mr. Hopcraft,” how he managed to “squeeze” the washing machine into the... (full context)
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Sidney returns to the kitchen to summon the Brewster-Wrights into the drawing room. Marion tells him,... (full context)
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Jane and Sidney continue looking for the tonic water, and Sidney complains that she’s “let us down” by... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
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Sidney returns to the kitchen, carrying Marion’s glass, which needs tonic water. Then, Eva walks in.... (full context)
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...dog has a habit of sounding the car horn with its nose. As she speaks, Sidney retrieves the glass from the trash. Eva, noticing him, says, “My God was that me?”... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
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Fortune  Theme Icon
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...it and claims that it’s much better now that it has a little tonic water—however, Sidney points out that it’s pure gin. Marion teases Sidney, “what are you trying to do... (full context)
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...She knocks gently, then louder, but nobody hears. She decides to try the front door. Sidney comes back into the kitchen, carrying an empty chip-bowl. He sees the back door, realizes... (full context)
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Back in the kitchen, Sidney asks Jane what happened, and Jane explains that she went out for tonic water—Ronald Brewster-Wright... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
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...than face her guest. Ronald explains that he just let in a “little short chap.” Sidney hesitates, then says, “He was from the off-license” and brought some tonic water. Ronald and... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
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...chance of sanctuary here?” He complains that Dick Potter is telling the women annoying jokes. Sidney claims that Dick is a “fascinating character,” a teacher who works with young people most... (full context)
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Suddenly, Jane appears outside the back door. Sidney waves her away, without his guests seeing him. Meanwhile, Ronald asks Geoffrey about a party... (full context)
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...into the kitchen and claims that the men have “abandoned” the ladies at the party. Sidney leaves the kitchen. Eva tells Geoffrey that they should get going, since their dog needs... (full context)
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Sidney and Ronald, now wearing his overcoat, come back into the kitchen. Marion thanks Sidney and... (full context)
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Jane knocks on the back door and Sidney lets her in. Jane is a “sodden mess”—she explains that she stayed outside until all... (full context)
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Sidney tells Jane that he’ll watch some television now—since it’s Christmas Eve, there should be something... (full context)
Act Two
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
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...night are really Eva’s friends, not his. One of these is “the up and coming Mr. Hopcroft ,” and Geoffrey has no intention of being polite to him, even though Mr. Hopcroft... (full context)
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Sidney enters the room and sees Eva and Jane. He explains that the Brewster-Wrights have arrived.... (full context)
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Sidney steps out of the room, and Eva finds a piece of rope, climbs up on... (full context)
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...to change the bulb and notices that the fitting has been removed, leaving bare wires. Sidney offers to fix the light, and again writes on the back of Eva’s suicide note... (full context)
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Sidney checks to make sure the light is turned off, and tells Ronald that it’s safe... (full context)
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While Jane, Sidney, and Ronald work, Eva writes yet another suicide note, and then finds a tin of... (full context)
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Sidney suggests that the guests play a party game. Just then, Ronald drops a small “thing”... (full context)
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...sink, and when she turns on the sink, water drips down the pipe and onto Sidney, who’s still underneath the sink. Sidney, irritated, tells Marion that she’s ruined a new shirt,... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
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...of Christmas.” After each verse, a guest joins in—first Marion, then Jane, then Ronald, then Sidney. In the distance George barks. Suddenly, Geoffrey walks in. He’s astounded by the sound of... (full context)
Act Three
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
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...leaving Eva to do all his typing. Eva also suggests that Geoffrey reach out to Sidney Hopcroft, but Geoffrey refuses to get involved in his “seedy little schemes.” Eva replies that... (full context)
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Sidney opens the back door, even though Jane tells him not to. He shoots back, “I... (full context)
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Ronald offers Sidney and Jane drinks, and Sidney mentions that he’s just come from Walter Harrison’s party. He... (full context)
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Jane offers Ronald and Marion their presents, which they open, confused. Jane and Sidney explain that the presents are a set of electrical screwdrivers for Ronald and a bottle... (full context)
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Ronald tells Sidney and Jane, “You’ll have to excuse us if we’re not our usual cheery selves.” However,... (full context)
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Sidney and Jane tell the others, “We’re going to get you all jumping about.” Sidney proceeds... (full context)
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Sidney explains that they’ll be playing a game called Musical Dancing. The point of the game... (full context)
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The game begins, and everyone but Jane and Sidney begins dancing. Marion dances in a shaky “classical ballet style,” while the others dance “sheepishly... (full context)
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The game proceeds, with the characters “accumulating bizarre appendages.” Eventually, Sidney no longer stops the music at all: he just yells out, “Dance. Dance. Dance. Keep... (full context)