Interviews with Alan Ayckbourn

In this interview between Alan Ayckbourn and Simon Murgatroyd - later appointed the playwright's Archivist - the premiere of House & Garden is discussed. It was originally published in1998.

House & Garden

Simon Murgatroyd: Rumour has it you’re planning to write something rather unique for your 60th birthday.
Alan Ayckbourn:
It's a one-off, entirely written for this building. It's a complete piece of lunacy on my part and is unlikely to ever have another life. I can't pull the theatre apart again! I think it's going to be a theatrical event not to be missed and I'm sure nobody's done this before. Nobody is stupid enough!

We’re dealing with two plays here,
House & Garden, what makes them different?
House & Garden is really one play, but it's two plays. They're both set, obviously, in different auditoria and they're designed to play simultaneously. They explore different aspects of the same characters. There's an incredible element of risk in it, which is always exciting. It's also pretty comical, it's not one of my Haunting Julia's as befits a birthday show. One part of the fun will be to spot references to my other plays.

I understand the event will not just take over the two auditorium.
The garden fête will be going outside the theatre, so if you don't have a good evening at the show, at least you'll come away with a good jar of jam! The [Stephen Joseph] Friends will be manning stalls and you'll be able stroll down and have a home made cake or play on the tombola.

It has to be asked, but do you need to see both the plays and do they need to be seen in any particular order?
The important thing is they are separate plays, it would be a shame if you didn't see both - you may wonder what happened on the other side for the rest of your life! You can see them in different orders. There is no right order. It just alters your perceptions of events.

Article by Simon Murgatroyd. Copyright: Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.