Interview: Publication unknown (7 September 1979)

This page reproduces some of Alan Ayckbourn's significant quotes from the interview.

A Dramatic Success

by Jenny Pearson

"I have a library of ideas which I regularly drag out when I am confronted with a vacuum. Like this time,
Taking Steps is an idea I've been approaching and retreating from for the past three or four plays, waiting for the moment when I wanted to do something light. This time I thought, right, let's get rid of it!"

"Living up here [Scarborough], it's a little microcosm. Sure, you're out of the mainstream of world events, but what does happen is that one closes in a bit on the couple at the bottom of the road and the people next door. The air is charged!''

"I think a lot of people secretly hope they're going to be put in a play. People are pretty uninsurable, really. In fact there are bits of people in the plays but never, unless you are very unlucky, totally you.''

Ten Times Table had] a very accurate, devastatingly rude picture of a man who is on our theatre trust: one of those people who will point out all the misprints on all the memos. Then he came [to see the show], and I thought, oh God - there's no redeeming feature, the character is so monstrously boring, every time he opens his mouth everybody else starts talking. But this man was delighted. He had become a celebrity. He came back every night and when I told him it was going to London, he said 'Who's playing me?'"

"I think the best comedy has to be based on truth and truthful things are often very serious.''

"More often they [audiences] recognise somebody they know! Frequently you can hear the characters going out to the bar in the interval and you hear someone saying, 'I don't think there's anybody really like that, you know!'"

"I hope in God. I would hate the whole thing to be random."

"Music does everything so wonderfully. It's one of the things that makes one feel dwarf-like. It makes you feel you're working with an inferior material, like words. So to write like music is really what one aims at.''