Interview: The Standard (11 March 1983)

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

Reel Good Show!

by Charles Spencer

"I appointed Paul Todd as Music Director and had no idea what he was going to do. I just had an idea music was going to be very important. His first job was to bring musicians into the theatre without a budget so he got guitarists in far the price of a pint and I started to turn my hand to lyric-writing. That was fun, working with someone and getting away from the loneliness of writing."

"In any theme I chose to do I hope I will always pursue the truth of it. Human nature is 50 per cent dark, possibly more, so it is inevitable you will hit dark areas unless you deliberately avoid them as I did early on when it was all a game."

"All the serious ones [plays] don't do so well, there's always going to be a turndown. If you want to put the box office up you put something light on. Fortunately I'm still able to do that. One in every two or three plays turns out to be jolly and the audience comes flooding back."

"In the early part of my career people wrote wonderful, ecstatic, far too beautiful things about me, like, this is the greatest living dramatist since Shakespeare, the funniest since Congreve. A lot of superlatives were used and I remember at the time glowing quite pleasantly and wondering where do we go from here, where does the greatest living dramatist go except downwards. It is inevitable you will get a backlash."

"You always think it might be the last one [play] and that will be a dreadful thing when it does happen, though I don't know, I might be relieved but it's been rather nice, the next idea has always popped up like a mushroom when I've picked up the last one. I think that's largely to do with the way we work in Scarborough. It's like a motor saying more, more, more."