Interview: Evening Standard (12 January 1990)

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

Just Add Water

by Michael Owen

"I loathe the business of writing. I still regard myself as a director first. I may have written 30-odd plays but I have directed more than 100 and I also run a theatre."

"I think it [
Man of the Moment] does break new ground. You constantly feel the pressure of having to say something new in a different way. It's nice to get a new location, like Abroad. It's the first time I've done that. I hope it is still a people play but it does deal with an issue, violence and our response to it. I'm usually known for writing about a lady having an unhappy life in Reading, or someone having a nervous breakdown in a garage. I've come out of the domestic arena. I've begun to formulate a few opinions. Until recently I had no opinions whatsoever."

"That [the movie of
A Chorus of Disapproval] happened because of the enthusiasm and persistence of Michael Winner. It got to the stage where I would seem cussed if I went on saying No. It is hard to say it to film people but I had no interest in it whatsoever. Winner said I could be on the set every day and virtually in control of the entire film. There is nothing more boring than sitting around a film set so I went off to the West Indies for the entire period. Anyway, the sight of a director saying one thing and the author whinging in the corner is too common. The result is a film by Michael Winner. It is not the play I wrote but I never expected it would be."

"My scene-painting was not too hot but I got by quite happily in the props, lighting and sound department. That knowledge of the nuts and bolts of theatre was invaluable."

"I was 20 or 21. The play [
The Birthday Party] had failed in London and Harold Pinter brought it to Scarborough to work with a scratch company including myself. We had never met anyone like him and thought he was really up the wall. We thought we were professional actors humouring this lunatic, quite happy to take the money and run. But when we played it the audience was stunned. We realised we were in something remarkable. Pinter had re-invented theatre language. It's nice to know such a big talent can be mistaken for a lunatic."