Alan Ayckbourn by Michael Billington (auth.)

By Michael Billington (auth.)

This publication experiences the performs by way of Alan Ayckbourn and contains a biography, a survey of the performs and particular research of the main major performs, besides dialogue, the place appropriate, in their political, social, ancient and theatrical context.

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Sample text

But if I had to pinpoint the crucial difference between them, it would be that Ayckbourn is a much more obses:;ive writer: that he cannot keep away from the destructiveness, the incomprehension, the predatoriness of marriage; the failure of men to understand women; the upward social mobility of Thatcherite private businessmen. If there is one obsession that binds together all his work, however seemingly diverse, it is the notion of human desperation breaking through restrictive social forms. Look at Ayckbourn's work in toto and you see that it is about the way we preserve a whole set of rituals - Christmas, family weekends, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, cocktail 51 Alan Ayckbourn parties, monogamy even - which bear less and less relation to our actual needs.

If Ayckbourn sees the ridiculousness of such figures, he also is aware of the danger of the benign meddler. I once dubbed Ayckbourn 'Scarborough's Ibsen'. One reason was that, exactly like the Ibsen of The Wild Duck, he is constantly alert to the harm done by bumbling interventionists who try to chip away the scales from other people's eyes. Ibsen handles the theme tragically: Ayckbourn comically. Frank Foster in this play becomes a suburban Gregers Werle precipitating disaster by telling people what he sees as uncomfortable truths.

EVIE: Just like my Mum and Dad - blow for blow the same. You know, my Mum spent more time in the Marriage Advice Bureau than she did at home. ED: Anyway, one night he didn't take a swing at her as usual, he just went out on the booze. Didn't come back till the next evening. And there I am in my room working on the canoe, cutting a mortice and tenon, when she comes flying in saying 'Oh Ed, Ed - it's all over Ed'. Things like that. ' and she just keeps saying 'Oh Ed, Ed' and she's that violent we keep nearly crashing against the boat.

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