Interview: The Press (28 January 1994)

This interview was published in the Yorkshire Evening Press on 28 January 1994.

An Old Fashioned Adventure. Or Is It?

by Charles Hutchinson

When was the last time you saw a good old fashioned comedy, thriller? Probably Arnold Ridley's venerable
The Ghost Train. The same thought went through Alan Ayckbourn's head, and the result is his 46th full length play, Communicating Doors, a thriller with a past, present and future.

Last night it received its first preview at the
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.

"Theatre has not really used the comedy thriller for some time, and I just felt I wanted to write something a little lighter than the darker plays I've been doing lately," said Ayckbourn.

To prove mood plays its part, he had originally settled on writing a play with the title
Private Fears In Public Places, [1] as he announced in this season's brochure. But he promptly wrote an entirely different play with an entirely different name, Communicating Doors.

The setting is a hotel room with one of those linking doors, always, frustratingly locked but presumably connecting your room to the one next door. Or does it? In Ayckbourn's play, the exotically I named prostitute Ms Poopay Dayseer, fleeing for her 21st century life, manages to open one such door, only to find herself back where she started from. Or is she?

Nothing is quite the same as before. Times appear to have changed. Where is she? Indeed, when is she? And how long will it be before the man who has threatened her life catches up with her? To explain, the action jumps from 2014 to 1994 to 1974 as time travel plays its part in the manner of the
Back To The Future films.

How does 2014 look from this distance, Alan?

"Oh, it's fairly lawless. It's moving towards the world I wrote about in
Henceforward…, but this is much more the fantastic use of time. People do actually hop between the years. We don't have the effects of Back To The Future, but we do have the surprises."

Movies, of course, are the world where anything can happen.

"Out of curiosity, I've always want to unlock ' the hotel door to the next door room. I've never done it in real life, but Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman were always doing it in their films!"

Communicating Doors lets him indulge his imagination.

Website Notes:
[1] Alan Ayckbourn's announced 46th play was advertised and Private Fears In Public Places, a play set in airport and which had nothing to do with Communicating Doors or the actual play of that title which he wrote in 2004. Further details about Private Fears In Public Places and how Alan came to write Communicating Doors can be found here.

Copyright: Charles Hutchinson. This edited transcription and the end-notes have been compiled and researched by Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.