Articles by Alan Ayckbourn

This article on Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present was written by Alan Ayckbourn for the world premiere of the play in 2019.

Welcome to Ecraf

Early on, very early on, in my writing career, someone asked me what I was planning to write next.

Being very early on, I was foolish enough to tell them.

Now any experienced writer will warn you that telling anyone what you are planning to write next is a sure way to scupper the project. In this creative business, a germinating seed of an idea prematurely exposed to the cold light of logicality is inevitably doomed to shrivel and die of shock.

So, back in those days, I foolishly told them I was planning to write a farce backwards (working title Ecraf), which would start with four trouser-less clergymen trapped in a cupboard, and then work steadily backwards in time finally to reveal what on earth had caused things to lead to that.

Naturally, the idea never saw the light of day. Now here we are 50 years and 80 plays later and all is forgiven and forgotten.

It is no longer called Ecraf and there’s no sign of a clergyman, not even a fully clothed one.

But it does go backwards and there’s certainly a cupboard – though you’ll have to wait for that.

Starting at the end, hopefully, will prompt you to wonder what on earth caused things to lead to this.

If all goes according to plan, you’ll then be intrigued enough to sit through till the very beginning.

Copyright: Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.