Interview: West Australian (27 October 1990)

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

Ayckbourn's Agony Turns Up Trumps

by Ron Banks

"My personal feeling is that plays should be written quickly. The more you write, the more assured you become, and once you've decided on the route it's best to get the journey done as quickly as possible."

"The marriages I do see are either fraught or dull. There are one or two happy ones, but that's probably because they're new. In general, I don't think people were meant to live with each other for too long... As soon as people feel that they are married, there's a sense of entrapment."

"People can relate to these stories on stage because everyone has been through at least one unhappy relationship."

"I find my work no hardship, and occasionally I set myself manic schedules of writing and directing."

"My years at Scarborough have given me, if nothing else, the right to take daring risks, and the right to fail. I now realise that I have a double obligation to an audience - one has to entertain them as a practical writer; but one has to give them something else besides. And balancing these two aspects is a fine, indeed, a keen-edged manoeuvre. In the end, it is the tightrope that a commercial play has to be willing to tread. You can offend more people than you please, or you can just make your work so trite and glib that you avoid the central issues. But audiences don't forgive you for that either. So the commercial play is defined simply as a play that people pay to come and see in large numbers, and which is done several times."

"My job now is to find new writers who can carry on the same job."