Interview: The Word (March 1981)

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

Suburban Middle-Class Jester

by Rosaleen Fitzgerald

"I choose universal themes. People everywhere are involved in relationships with other people - wives, mothers-in-law, neighbours. Situations like these ring bells in every country."

"I dislike writing so much that I get it over as quickly as possible. Writing is a boring slog in the night. The real pleasure is in bringing the play to life on the stage with actors."

"To an outsider my plays might seem to be very similar, that's true. But 1 feel I am making progress as a writer, even though it may not be markedly obvious. Without being over-modest, I think that by now I can put a play together. Plays are as much about what you leave out as what you put in; as far as mine are concerned, they are a sort of selective editing of life."

"I don't think I should now try and be clever and write a play about urban guerrillas, because I don't know anything about them. I think you should stick to what you know best. My duty is to entertain. I aim to create recognisable human beings in familiar predicaments, so that people will understand each other better."

"If you write comedies, you've got to be serious about them and take the characters seriously; all the best comedy is rooted in deeply serious things, and throws light upon aspects of life we're frightened to think about. What I'm trying to get at is a painfully funny play, one that leaves you uplifted and enlightened."

"I want people to come out of my plays," he replies, "looking happy and saying, We've had a wonderful laugh.''