Articles by Alan Ayckbourn

This article on the character of Jan from Bedroom Farce was written by Alan Ayckbourn following an enquiry about the play during 2004.

Thoughts on Jan

With regard to Jan in Bedroom Farce, I think that, like most of my characters, they're sometimes not quite as complex as they seem.

You must bear in mind Jan's background and the fact that at one stage she did have a relationship (God help her) with Trevor.

From the clues in their bedroom scene it would appear theirs has been a very physical relationship. I think the sex was very successful and probably explains Trevor's dissatisfaction, having moved on to Susannah. I think Jan is more or less happy with Nick sexually, but has probably traded in a few of the fireworks she experienced with Trevor for the sake of a quieter life.

Certainly she has no wish to reinstate her relationship with Trevor - she's too canny for that - but, as is often the case with former lovers, she has a lingering fascination for him. I think her visit to Kate and Malcolm's party was precisely that, to revisit the scene of the crime. And hopefully to prove herself immune and totally 'cured' of Trevor. A dangerous game to play, always.

The fact that she momentarily succumbs will haunt and infuriate her for days.

As to her relationship with Nick. Well we do see him at his very worse, poor man, an appalling patient. Theirs is one of those point scoring relationships which started as a game probably - a sort of sexual badinage of put downs and gentle insults which originally brought them together - and may well continue as that. At worse - though the play never extends this far - it will become entirely negative and increasingly destructive. But I think Jan got what she wanted in her relationship with Nick, a marriage of equal, similarly matched minds. (Unlike hers with Trevor, of course, half mistress, half mother and child).

The way you survive with Nick, Jan has decided, is to develop immunity from his barbs and, even if they do occasionally hit home, never admit they do. That particular night in
Bedroom Farce it is a very good one for Jan. She not only ducks most of Nick's sulky bile but actually scores heavily in return. He won't forgive her for that in a hurry.

Strange relationship. But it seems to suit them. And, as they say, you makes your own bed and you lies on it ...

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