Interview: Scarborough Evening News (29 July 1987)

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

New Directions

by Jeannie Swales

Henceforward… is set slightly in the future. It's sort of different, and I hope it will be funny. It's underlying theme, if you like, is the nature of the artist, and his personal relationships - in this case, the hero is a composer who is unable to conduct his personal affairs with any sort of success. It's an ironic fable. I've rather taken to writing, not quite morality plays, but certainly close to it. My last play, A Small Family Business was seen by some as a morality play, and I hope this will be too."

"We all try to alter each other subtlety, and this man has the chance to change the people around him completely. But it's like
Pygmalion - try and alter someone, and they either become a monster, or lose their individuality."

"You see children who spend hours just staring at a computer screen. There's a certain feeling of being overwhelmed by machines."

It is, he says, necessarily very technical, and includes the use of videos and computers. And the composer's music, composed by taking natural sounds and feeding them through a special computer, has been produced by his regular partner and musical director, Paul Todd, on a highly specialised piece of machinery.

"I try and use the theatre. I'm very theatre-minded, I don't think I could write for any other medium. But people always tend to think of the theatre as very much a verbal medium. Of course, it is that - but it's also very visual. I'm often quite disappointed if I see a play which could have been done just as well on the radio. You know, it's nice if you see the faces, but not essential. Really, it's a multi-media thing - there's sound, even smell if you want. And it's the very liveness of theatre that interests me."

"I think it's good for the theatre here, and for me, that I occasionally get away - I bring back fresh ideas."