FlatSpin: Quotes by Alan Ayckbourn

"There was another reason for doing this. We now tour so much, so if we can put two plays on one set, we can take the plays on the road for two-week runs and that makes it easier to take shows around the country. I've also been trying to get back to writing for a specific company, in this case seven actors, who will form a micro rep company, and my intention is to take that further. The plan would be to have a cast perform a play in Scarborough, then on tour, and then come back here for the next play....
"[On why he is drawn to writing women characters] One of the things, I suppose, is that the higher proportion of the audience is made up of women, and they're the ones who'll associate with the characters. Then again, it also works because most men are quite interested in women, or at least interested in the chance to unravel the inexplicable! I always remember being told in the Fifties that the worst thing you could do was write a scene for two women, and there was a great moan at the time from actresses that there were no roles for women. I've always tried to write up the women in my plays. Most of the men in my plays are buttoned up but the women can let rip and shout the house down. Men have to be up against the fates before they let things out and show their feelings. With women, I guess it's like writing for brass rather than woodwind."
(Yorkshire Evening Press, 25 May 2001)

"I started working on two linked plays in October of last year [2000], but a few days before Christmas, I realised that one of them was horribly wrong. Then I realised that the other just wasn't worth doing at all, and ditched them both. I finished them on Christmas Eve [
GamePlan and FlatSpin]. A brilliant piece of timing on my part because, otherwise, I'd have been in the doghouse with my family. I thought: 'Wow. You're not secure in this process even now'. But my maturity meant I could bin both original plays. I remember pressing the delete key on my computer and thinking: 'NOW what have I done?'
"Certainly, with
FlatSpin, if I'd written it 40 years ago, I'd have dreamt of Audrey Hepburn in the lead role. Always in distress, but feisty with it....
"Most of my stuff, if you read the synopses, sounds very dark. I always say to the press office: 'Do stress the jolly side - because I wouldn't want to watch a woman having a nervous breakdown for an entire evening'. But look at the plot of
Some Like it Hot: 'Two musicians witness a vicious mob-killing in a garage and go on the run'. It sounds incredibly sombre - but what the threat does, of course, is set up the comedy. The humour is born out of the thrill. That's how I like my comedy - and, anyway, I don't really describe myself as a 'comic dramatist' anymore. I'm more a dramatist who throws in a few laughs....
"I wanted to get back to a tighter repertory company and, as we're doing a lot more touring, it occurred to me that - if we use the same set - we can get two plays out in the same van, as it were."
(Artscene, June 2001)

"For
FlatSpin I wanted to write a comedy thriller."
(Scarborough Evening News, 27 June 2001)

"They're all a different genre.
GamePlan is a straight play, really, FlatSpin is Hitchcockian thriller and RolePlay is much more towards a dark farce about the roles we cast ourselves in and are cast in by others."
(Yorkshire Post, 25 August 2001)

"I noticed that in the North there is still a sense of community, certainly Scarborough, but in these Dockland apartments, you have no idea who is next door. It gives a sense of anonymity, which interested me."
(Sunderland Echo, 18 January 2002)

[Reacting to the problems with the London production] "[The producers] condemned two of the parts to the dustbin. I was in France when they rang to tell me. I exploded and we haven't talked since. I guess most people don't want to pick the phone up to talk to me now. I'm scary when I explode. I am furious and very disappointed. We have got a wonderful cast of unknowns who have done so well and they have got wonderful reviews and then these producers say 'Oh, it's a difficult to sell a trilogy in the West End now'. It's all a waste."
(Daily Telegraph, 24 October 2002)

"What happened to
Damsels In Distress [in the West End] was a crying shame and the management did not have faith in it. What should have been a joyous event turned out to be rather sad. I have decided that, when appropriate, taking my plays into London is fine but only when they are given the production that I require."
(The Stage, 17 July 2003)

"Looking back today, a year on, I sometimes reflect - are they linked beyond that [the same set and cast]? Are they related in ways I hadn't planned? Does each reflect themes contained in the others? If so, I have to confess, it's all happened on a subconscious level and probably isn't for me to answer. I'm probably the last person to know. Maybe that's up to others like you, the audience, to tell me."
(Extract from the Alan Ayckbourn's introduction to the London production programme)

Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn

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