Interview: New York Times (3 August 1989)

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

Ayckbourn, 37; Shakespeare, 36

by Benedict Nightingale

"You've got to keep surprising yourself. You have to try to break the mould of what made you successful. If you throw yourself into new worlds, new areas, new problems, you sharpen yourself. It's like mountaineering. If you keep climbing the same rock face, you just wear out your boots. But if you say, let's go a different way up the Himalayas, the way everyone else has got killed, it's exciting and maybe you convey some of that excitement in your work."

"I'd like to think I'm inching like an iceberg toward my aim. To write a completely serious play that makes people laugh all the time."

"Perhaps it's because my work tends to fall between the cultural and the boulevard. People may think me either too lightweight or not lightweight enough."

"[Comedy] is a good way to get behind an audience's defences and say something about their lives they'd find unpalatable in a more obviously serious play."

"It's no coincidence that you hardly ever see members of the present Government in the theatre. The arts and gentle, civilised living are being rapidly downgraded for the fast buck. It has a narrowing effect. It creates an uncaringness."