Interview: Woman & Home (November 1982)

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

A Very Singular Person

by June Hulbert

"I'll never forget that first glorious train journey from York to Scarborough. Like a giant-sized scenic railway, it was."

"I rather liked the idea of theatre-in-the-round because there wouldn't be any scenery to lug about!"

"Occasionally people try to write about the middle classes but they don't, in my opinion, do it very well."

Ayckbourn plays make people laugh, a fact originating in the first briefing he had from Stephen Joseph: "We want to keep people happy on holiday on a wet afternoon in Scarborough" - but, he says, the humour comes coincidentally.

"I never sit down and say, 'I am going to write a very funny scene'. I tell a story and try to illuminate every corner of a relationship or experience between people and it happens that I usually see it from a comical angle."

"Writing is the worst bit, a most painful business, very lonely, very desolate. I tend to put writing into as short a time as I can."

"The best [part of writing] is finishing the play, then going into rehearsal with it."

"The nicest thing about being a writer is that you can be reasonably anonymous. But, if you go into a crowded place with a well-known actor, you realise what it must be like; never any peace."

"I'm basically rather shy and I don't like a crowd. Four or five people add up to a crowd for me."

"I have been part of the furniture here [Scarborough] for some time now. It suits me very well."