A Chorus Of Disapproval (1984)This article was written by Alan Ayckbourn for the programme for the world premiere of A Chorus Of Disapproval at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, in 1984.
Often in the past (though heaven knows why) it has been assumed I have based certain of my characters on local living persons. May I emphasise that this is certainly not so in the case of A Chorus of Disapproval. To quote the standard disclaimer, "The characters and situations are entirely imaginary and bear no relation to real persons or actual happenings.”
There are, to the best of my knowledge, at least two fine amateur operatic societies locally. Neither of these is PALOS though some situations and events that occur during that society's staging of The Beggar's Opera might conceivably ring certain bells for anyone who's struggled to produce any show, amateur or professional.
Moreover there are, to the best of my knowledge, no mad, elderly councillors of whatever political persuasion living in Scarborough. Certainly none with scheming, alcoholic wives. Nor, living in the area, do I know of any dishonest builder given to swapping his or any other's wife. There are surely no singing Co-op Branch Managers with arsonist daughters, bent Welsh solicitors with neurotic wives or hyper-aggressive barmaids either. Surely?
There was, however, until recently one very real, distinguished Scarborian who was a tireless and continuing friend of this theatre almost from the moment it started until his death, earlier this year. As Chairman of our Theatre Trust, his efforts on our behalf, based on his firm belief in our importance nationally as a company, helped guide us through some of our darkest days. We'll always be grateful to him and we already miss him a lot.
He was, of course, Tom Laughton. Although he most certainly does not appear in this play either, I like to think it would have amused him somewhat. In any event, it is dedicated, with much affection, to this most kindly and civilised of men.
Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.