Interview: The Times (2 August 2018)

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

Joking Apart, Why Comedy Is a Serious Business For Alan Ayckbourn

by Charles Hutchinson

"I wrote
Joking Apart years ago - it was the nearest I’d got at that stage of my life to writing an autumnal play, about the sadness of getting older. "I was then approaching my 40s and feeling extremely old. I realise now, of course, that I was extremely young!"

"I decided to write about a golden couple in a big house, with children with perfect teeth, growing up happily, and then thinking about six other people who could get sucked into the perfect world of these good people. They crash and burn through misery, jealousy and misplaced love as this couple blaze through the play, relatively untouched by the mayhem they cause and aren't sympathetic when the others have problems. All the other characters are 'cracked', and in the 12-year-span of the play you get to see those cracks turn into fissures, so there's both a tragic theme and a comic theme."

"If you take a character and you don't try to curry favour or try to make people laugh to curry favour, the audience may grow to love you because they see your weaknesses as well as your strengths, if you're open, whereas audiences are wary of people who try to con them."