Interview: The Press (9 September 2016)

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

Alan Ayckbourn goes back to the future for Henceforward… revival 30 years on

by Charles Hutchinson

"It [
Henceforward…] was written in 1987 when I was trying to foresee the future 40 years on, and it's been interesting to see what I got right; what I got wrong; what is yet to happen, and one of the things that has become very relevant is the transgender aspect. Androids are still on the verge of visiting us, but are not doing so just yet, though artificial intelligence is developing."

"I've tried not to update the script, except where there are glaringly obvious things that have changed, but elsewhere there are references to gated communities, which are now quite common, and no-go areas that aren't policed and places of inner-city desolation, so the play holds up well."

"I think what inspired me to do it again was the production in Hamburg that was a total sell-out and affirmed that as a comedy it still holds true. The basis of the comedy is machines versus humans and I feel that sort of comic possibility is slightly more central to our lives now than it was."

Henceforward…, my androids are slightly faulty, with one having a limp that creeks. In my experience of technology, it always breaks down, and that I suspect is the case for 90 per cent of the human race, and more and more it seems that people are now having 'heart attacks' over their computers' behaviour, which is completely pointless when computers are heartless and yet we react to them!"

"When I first wrote it, very few people had mobile phones, but those who don't one are now in the minority and I'm expecting groans of recognition at certain things. Whereas the play was slightly strange to some of my audience in 1987, now that world is with us and what isn't with us yet is just around the corner, and you know that someone will be inventing a babysitting machine that will create a terrible tragedy."