Interview: The Guardian (8 August 1988)

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

New Mood Of The Man Of The Moment

by Michael Billington

"We were formed by Stephen Joseph to do new plays and my own work would never have had a favourable climate in which to develop if he hadn't stuck with it. The brief I give writers is the one I was given: by all means write whatever you want but for God's sake say it in a way that is going to appeal to people who come to the theatre. I think we encourage a healthy commercialism in the writer. In the end, we say if your message is in an empty theatre it is useless. Let's see how clever we can be at saying unpalatable things in a palatable manner. So we use our bar-space[6] not for outré experiments but as a kind of Radio Two theatre where we hope to tempt people in with intelligent but not too heavy stuff."

"The problem with
A View From The Bridge is that a lot of characters don't appear until the last ten pages. As a dramatist, this worried me so I thought we should both establish the neighbours and immigrant-community early on and also start the play quite lightly. The play reaches such a powerful conclusion you have to grease the slope quite painlessly for the audience."