Interview: Sheffield Star (March 1990)

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

A Chorus Of Approval

by Kate Saunders

"I've lost ten inches off my waist by only eating fruit during the day. I really was becoming too much of a teddy bear."

"I thought writing was just what people's mothers did. My writing was inherited from her. While she typed out her stories at the kitchen table, I typed out mine underneath it. If she'd been a wonderful cook instead, I'd probably be rolling pastry at the Savoy now."

"Domestic drama has always interested me. But it was really all I knew about when I started writing. I had only lived in marriage and the theatre."

"I thought his work was the most exciting thing I had ever seen.
Stephen Joseph was a tremendous encourager, and told me to write my first play."

"I do seem to be getting blacker. My intention is to lead people on a moral journey. I am very interested in the quality of laughter, rather than simply making people laugh. If you juxtapose humour and tragedy, it creates tension. I like that, because it forces people to question their attitudes. A member of the audience recently apologised to me for laughing, as if he were afraid he had offended someone. And I often see people's hands going up to their mouths in dismay, as they realise what they are laughing at. But I have to be careful because when a piece gets doom-laden, a lot of people leave. And those are the people I want to keep in the theatre."

"They [audiences] think I've got their wife / brother / cousin off to a T. But you don't often hear them say, 'You've got me'. Swift said that satire is a mirror in which you behold everyone but yourself. I don't think I lift directly from life. Most of my characters are actually me in disguise."

"There has always been this desire to label me. I used to call my plays comedies. Now I just call them plays."