Interview: Yorkshire Post (31 May 1986)

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

Change Of Direction

by Jill Parkin

"I wanted to know if I could do plays outside the confines of Scarborough. It is important for an artist not to get too comfortable in his routine. You start to produce the same things."

"There has been an assumption from central funding bodies that if the [Stephen Joseph] theatre were ailing and because of my reliance on it, I would bale it out. I have put money into it but I don't want to feel that Scarborough has a theatre only as long as I am here. These two years will help establish it on its own feet."

"I've been in and out of fashion about a dozen times. What happens is that a critic comes along and says that this man is the best writer in English since Congreve. Then someone else comes along and asks how this chap dares claim to be the greatest since Congreve. The writer is left inaudibly mumbling that he never said it."

"As a
director I have to distance myself from my actors. An actor likes to feel there is something in a director which is apart. You lose that if you are around too much drinking in the bar after every performance."

"It's good for someone to realise when he comes along to a play that he is not the only one with crass in-laws. Everyone has crass in-laws. And I am fascinated by how tenuous relationships are. Someone can walk into a couple's life and blow everything sky-high."

"Actual sex on stage just is not funny. The audience will shut up. Two real people humping away on stage is just embarrassing. I asked friends once, for
Bedroom Farce, what they did in bed. Sex hardly, came into it. One couple played Derby Winners. They would lie there, asking each other who won the Derby in 1936 or 1948."

"Successful writers, except people like Noël Coward, tend to be faceless."