Interviews with Alan Ayckbourn

This interview with Alan Ayckbourn was written in 1998 for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin.

The Marcel Proust Questionnaire

What do you regard as your greatest misfortune?
Alan Ayckbourn:
Not to have been born instinctively knowing how to play the piano.

Where would you like to live?
Where I am.

What, for you, is complete earthly bliss?
A successful first night behind me, a cat on my lap, a little Vivaldi playing in the background and a good meal ahead of me with a few good friends.

Which faults are you inclined to excuse most?
Absent mindedness. Illogicality. Eccentricity.

Your favourite heroes in fiction?
Bertie Wooster.

Your favourite figure in history?
Anton Chekhov

Your favourite heroines in real life?
The woman I live with, of course.

Your favourite heroines in poetry?
The pussy-cat. (From Lear's
The Owl and The Pussy Cat).

Your favourite painters?

Your favourite composer?

Which characteristics do you value most in a man?

Which characteristics do you value most in a woman?

Your favourite virtue?

A sense of humour about oneself.

Your favourite activity?
Rehearsing a play.

Who or what would you like to have been?
An un-neutered Burmese Cat with a good home.

The main trait in your character?
Vagueness punctuated with sudden bursts of energy.

What do you value most in your friends?
Their willingness to listen to me repeating myself.

Your greatest fault?
Repeating myself.

Your dream of happiness?
To open the batting for England. To understand computers. To play a musical instrument.

What would be the greatest misfortune for you?
To lose my imagination.

What do you want to be?
As good as I hope I can be.

Your favourite colour?

Your favourite flower?

Your favourite bird?

Your favourite writer?
Chekhov (again).

Your favourite poet?

Your heroes in real life?
Peter Sellers, Ben Travers, Arthur Miller, Mike Brearley, Tommy Cooper, Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, Bergman, Hitchcock, Rene Clair, Cocteau, Viv Richards, Pink Floyd, Michael Holding.

Your heroines in history?
The Brontës. Jane Austen.

Your favourite names?
Pussy Galore. Jeeves. Ethelred the Unready. Eccles.

What do you detest most?

Which historical figures do you despise most?
Anyone who's ever imposed their views on anyone by force rather than reason.

Which military achievements do you admire most?

Which reform do you admire most?
Reforms towards women's equality. The abolition of child chimney-sweeps.

What natural talent would you like to have?
To be a natural fast bowler (cricket).

How do you want to die?
In bed.

Your present state of mind?

Your motto?
Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow. Never believe your own publicity. Take your work seriously but never yourself.

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