Interview: Washington Star (22 February 1976)

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

Ayckbourn Keeps 'Em Laughing In The Aisles

by Ruth Hamilton

"Most Writers start with auto-biographical material, and write away from it. I'm the opposite. I started with broad farce; I'm moving to comedy of character instead of comedy of situation, and I do explore a bit of the darker side of human nature."

"I stopped
acting when I realised the best I could get was average. But I keep on directing because it keeps me in contact, keeps me circulating. I couldn't go and live in a cottage on the Scottish moors and just write and never see anybody. By dint of working in Scarborough, I get involved in the community. It's a nice place, large enough, and there I'm in contact with Real Life.

"I acted in most of my early plays, which I don't recommend because you can't blame anyone if it doesn't work. If you're the actor, you can always blame the script. If you're the playwright, you can blame the actors. If you're both, you can't blame anyone but yourself: I'm sorry, it's rotten - and it's my fault."

"I try to save the casting for the end, and sometimes change it even then - give a part to this actor, who's not used to playing that kind of role. Or sometimes it's happened that this actor is not right, but this part is all that's left, so he'll have to do it, and he's walked away with the show."