Interview: The Scotsman (24 February 1979)

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

A Play On Time

by William Foster

"The play [
Joking Apart] began," he said, "when I suddenly woke up to the fact that my eldest son was 18, able to vote and old enough to drive me about in his own car. I suddenly caught up with the passage of time. I'm 39. It's quite a shock. And it made me write a different play, set over 12 years instead of on my usual very limited time scale. I'm trying to show what time does to people just by passing."

"I always put my new play on at this time of year [January] because the theatre goes through a bit of a lean patch in the cold weather and it helps the box-office. I've now had 22 plays produced but I don't enjoy writing them."

"I've usually spent three weeks brooding about it [the play] before I start writing. Then I write fast. But I'm finding it harder and harder. I know in advance the mistakes I can make and a great many avenues are closed to me because I've been down them before. I prefer working with my own permanent company. I don't have to spend time sussing out my actors and finding out if they expect to be coaxed along, bullied or simply left alone."

"I don't pry at people through keyholes. But I've been to plenty of dinner parties where the host and hostess are dying for you to go home so that they can really kill each other. Sometimes they get a bit twitchy when they realise I'm sitting there drinking it all in."