Articles by Alan Ayckbourn

These notes about Wildest Dreams were written by Alan Ayckbourn following an enquiry about the play in 1996

Thoughts on Wildest Dreams

Wildest Dreams is about escaping from reality. The need to. Realities that we can't face. All the characters have demons in their lives. Or several.

For Warren it's his mother, of course. And a somewhat confused state of late puberty. Rick is thoroughly traumatised by past events and uncertain, guilty sexual feelings. And as for Stanley and Hazel. There's Austin, of course, for ever haunting their lives. And the threat of age. And for Stanley, a sense of failure, professional, personal and sexual. A lot of the play is down to sex. So what's new?

So they all invent a new demon. A safe, confinable demon within a board game. One they can handle and put away safely in a box.

Marcie is the catalyst. She explodes their dream world and forces them all, momentarily, into harsh reality. But they soon escape back to their safe haven. Only this time deeper, far deeper than ever before. And this time, one suspects, with a demon invented to replace Marcie who now, in different ways, threatens them all.

Stanley is a decent man. An innocent. Not academically brilliant but nonetheless a good teacher with a genuine care and concern for his students. Though I suspect his lessons are chaos. Not likely to be a good disciplinarian. One of those teachers I can remember from my own school days who invariably got taken advantage of and sent up because in the end they were just too nice.

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