Interview: The Press (31 July 2013)

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

Arrivals & Departures

by Charles Hutchinson

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Arrivals & Departures evolved from the idea of telling a story through memories. “Nowadays, one of the interests for me as a writer is to surprise and intrigue the audience through the way you tell the story, as much as the story itself. There aren’t that many new stories to tell: it’s only in the way they are narrated that the story becomes new.”

“The play has a theme I’ve explored before - and indeed other dramatists have done so many times - and that is how isolated as individuals we are from each other, but here two strangers get to know each other and the audience gets to know them so we share in that process. When these two people - a traffic warden and a soldier - from completely different circumstances and of different ages meet, you wonder what will happen to them, as they know nothing about each other.”

“In the end, the play is an interesting exercise in telling back stories in short flashbacks against the flow of the main story. The other thing that interests me is that all the flashbacks have been suggested by sitting at a railway station because most chance meetings happen in places of transportation when you’re meeting someone or coming home, whether it’s a bus station a bus stop or a train station.”

“I need to keep myself interested, and even after so many plays, there must be gaps in what I’ve written about; I just need to know where they are and I knew with this play that I was treading new ground with new characters and new situations and new themes, though you always leave familiar thumb prints.”