Articles by Alan Ayckbourn

This article about Time & Time Again was written by Alan Ayckbourn for an unrecorded production.

Time & Time Again

I wrote Time And Time Again I think in 1971. I'm always a little hazy about when I wrote things. It came in sequence immediately before Absurd Person Singular and immediately after a manic piece of theatre that never got anywhere very much called Me Times Me [later retitled Family Circles].

I remember the Scarborough production. It was, in common with most of my plays, first presented in the Round, and the pond leaked on the first night and flooded the Library Reading Room below. Also because a well-meaning, hygienically minded stage manager, to prevent a typhoid or malaria epidemic breaking out during the action, added a none too mild solution of disinfectant to the murky water causing Leonard and Joan to leap from the pond like demented dolphins.

I remember the West End production as the first but by no means the last collaboration I have had with Eric Thompson as director, Michael Codron as producer and Tom Courtenay as leading man.

I always think of the piece as a love story, though admittedly with one of the protagonists like Leonard, it’s rather an untypical one. And for me, who spends a great deal of time tinkering with the shape and traditional form of comedy, it is really quite a straightforward play.

Perhaps the principle unconventional ingredient is the character of Leonard. It's usual in comedy to construct a central figure who through his actions drives along the story to some sort of conclusion. Leonard does the same but through total inertia. Despite his appalling behaviour I have a special affection for him. Anyone who can escape the distress of the rat race and yet avoid the discomfort of dropping out deserves a certain amount of admiration.

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