Interview: The Scotsman (29 July 2017)

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

International Festival: Alan Ayckbourn Interview

by Joyce McMillan

“It [
The Divide] really bears no resemblance to anything I have ever written before. For one thing, I wrote it not as a play but as a draft scenario, or perhaps a graphic novel. It was shapeless, in five parts, nearly ten hours long, with a minimum cast of 30 and a reckless disregard for scenic or costume budgets. It was something which when the writer (me) had finished it, he turned to the director (me) and said, ‘There! Direct that if you dare!’ In other words, I stopped short in my writing process, disregarding my usual practice of solving practically all the staging problems. So until I see it in Edinburgh, you almost have as good an idea about what you’ll be seeing as I do." [1]

“So far as the science-fiction element is concerned though - well, along with many of the writers in that genre whom I admire - Arthur C Clarke, Issac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Philip K Dick, Brian Aldiss - I regard sci-fi and fantasy as a way of posing questions about current trends and developments, either socially or politically. A sort of ‘what if we continue to do this… then expect this’ scenario. In that respect
The Divide is not a lot different in tone from my earlier stuff, including some of my kids’ work - somewhat pessimistic overall, but also laced with quite a bit of humour. It’s really the sheer scale and structure that makes this one different.”

Website Notes:
The Divide was conceived as a prose piece and, initially, there was no thought of it being staged.