Interview: The Times (27 July 1985)

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

Crafty Chronicler Of Middle Mind

by Nicholas Shakespeare

"I've seen plays of mine on television but got little excitement from them."

"I'm of that generation which made promises to live with people for the rest of their lives and expected to do so. Then at 26 it all went wrong."

"I consider myself much more a
director. That's the bit I enjoy. I'd prefer to direct a play than to write one."

"Although it's easy to do a new play, it's not so easy to do the second production".

"There were some real tigers prowling around then [the 1960s]. Levin was in full swing, Shulman at his most venomous. I went to bed for two days after their reviews [of
Mr Whatnot] and seriously thought of going back to acting and directing. Now I look at the returns rather than the reviews, but I'm still painfully sensitive to criticism. I've only to hear someone in the bar say, 'I don't like that' and I think they're talking about my play. ,Usually they're complaining about the drink. I've only one superstition left. I won't open a show in London until I've got another one running in Scarborough. If the worst happens to A Chorus of Disapproval, I've always got Woman in Mind."

"Amateur dramatic societies always have a very interesting class structure. They're a mixture of a lonely hearts' club and a forum for frustrated would-be professionals."

"When I first went to Scarborough we discovered a disused boarding house owned by a little chap in the Ministry of Pensions; his wife had died and this company of actors descended on him with their parties and their babies. One day he got the itch, joined the local dramatic society and started acting and directing himself."

"Guy [in
A Chorus Of Disapproval] is an absorbent. Instead of having a central character who is a dynamo driving everyone on, I've always been interested in having a vacuum, a giant slate that everyone scribbles on. I'm interested in people who aren't in control of their career. I've never been in control of mine. A lot of my obsessions are to do, with the fact I've never taken a serious decision in my life."