Interview: The Independent (20 May 1987)

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

A Nation Of Shoplifters

by Mark Lawson

"People told me I was preventing black South Africans from seeing them but, you know, I can't see them queuing round the block for
How the Other Half Loves, stuff that has no relevance to their lives. And as for changing the system by performance there, I'm not one of those writers who believes there's much chance of P.W. Botha slapping his thigh in the second act and saying, 'My God! If only I'd seen this play ten years ago. We're all equal!'"

"The plays have no literary content whatsoever. They've never been set for O Level
[1], thank God and long may it continue." Among his contemporaries, he admires Frayn, Gray and late Stoppard ("the early stuff is a bit beyond me.") He's less interested in the words than the trickery, "the building blocks of theatre" [1]: Sisterly Feelings depending on a coin tossed on-stage, Intimate Exchanges with 16 possible endings, A Small Family Business staged on a two-level set and Henceforward… using video sequences for the first time in an Ayckbourn play.

"The joy of the English language is its infinite capacity for being misunderstood."

"If you boil down your themes, they seem terribly banal. But there are still things to say about the fear and dislike people have for each other and the fact that members of each sex are like Martians to the other."

Website Notes:
[1] The O Level was at the time, the standard qualification taken in the UK at the age of 16. It was replaced by the GCSE qualification in 1988.