Interview: The Boston Globe (7 March 1971)

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

English Comedy Gets US Translation

by Edgar J. Driscoll Jr.

"One of the biggest dangers playwrights undergo in crossing the Atlantic is assuming we have a similar language. In a way we don't. That's why we've written this show almost as a translation."

"[We] holed up for a week at the Savoy in London and worked the play [
How The Other Half Loves] over to adapt it to American audiences. It was a matter of fine tuning, actually. For the characters are international, I think. We changed the names of towns, inverted' dialogue... that sort of thing. Americans seem to put their verbs in different order."

"American comedy makes much more emphasis on a punch line joke than in England. Mine is situation comedy, which is funny only in context of what has gone on before and is coming up in the play. There is a difference. It's rather the difference between American and British humour. As I say, [Neil] Simon's dialogue is very quotable. Mine is not."

"I Ike to write about the smaller things in life, the things that occupy so many of us. And the barriers we set up for ourselves. How we derive each other and sometimes are very cruel to one another without meaning to be. My plays are about people trying to live together, really."