Interview: The Times (14 May 2018)

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

Clearing out the bottom drawer - the debut plays that are getting an airing

by Dominic Maxwell

“We read about five minutes of it [his first play,
The Square Cat, in 2017]. I could feel the blush rising and could see the actors looking at me, thinking, ‘You want us to read this out?’ It’s a bit like bringing out your baby snaps. There was a polite ripple of applause. I said, ‘And that explains why that one’s never done now.’”

“Well, you can’t control what happens after your death, but I will try to leave pleas for them [the early plays] to be left alone: ‘Please do not disturb my bones.’”

“Because I have got such a large catalogue now I can afford to be choosy. Those early years were all about learning. I feel about them a bit like an artist with early sketches. I was a 19-year-old megalomaniac, but those plays made me a writer. I was learning that theatre is a practical craft. If plays are not spoken by actors and cursed about by stage managers, they don’t really exist.”

“A successful first play is a curse, really. You’ll live to regret it.”