Ayckbourn At 70: 50 Years Of Playwriting (2009)

This extensive article, compiled by Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist Simon Murgatroyd, was published in a souvenir programme to mark the Royal & Derngate Theatres' Ayckbourn At 70 celebration in 2009. It includes quotes by Alan Ayckbourn on every full-length play he has written and has since been expanded to include all plays since 2009.

1959 
The Square Cat

"I knew I had to write a play that brought in an audience and entertained them; but, at the same time, I was aware I was writing for my fellow actors, all of whom had given up more lucrative jobs to work at Stephen's theatre, and who didn't want to be involved in complete and utter rubbish."

Love After All
“Stephen Joseph warned me that the second play was going to be a lot harder but, because I stole the plot of this, it was actually a lot easier. It was based on
The Barber of Seville.”

1960   
Dad’s Tale

“Stephen Joseph wanted me to collaborate with David Campton; and David wrote a synopsis for
Dad's Tale, based on The Borrowers. By the time I got it, I found I was unable actually to work to other people's ideas. I was maybe too undisciplined, I don't know; so I totally went my own way.”
Also:
Double Hitch (one act)

1961   
Standing Room Only

“The original brief was to write a play about overpopulation. At the time, there was this great panic that by 1996 the world would be at a standstill, as the birth-rate would have quadrupled. I had this idea of a traffic jam in Shaftsbury Avenue, set on a bus. It was projected science-fiction. It said, by this age, children will be no longer smiled upon and there'd be very complicated exams in order to have them. The girl has an illegitimate baby, delivering the child on the top deck. It's pretty way out.”
Also:
Love Undertaken (one act)

1962   
Christmas V Mastermind

“It was my first attempt at a Christmas play for children and it happened to coincide with a winter of record cold. We did not realise then that children’s audiences need most exclusive matinee scheduling and put it on in the evening to audiences of two or three wrapped in blankets with thermos flasks, etc. I can distinctly remember seeing the actors’ breath on stage as we had only rudimentary boilers.”
Also:
Countdown (one act); Follow The Lover (one act)

1963   
Mr Whatnot

“It was, significantly, the first play I wrote for myself as a director. It was when I was going through my ‘If-I-can’t-show-myself-off-as-an-actor-I’ll-show-myself-off-as-a-director’ phase. The universal lambasting it got from the London critics sent me scurrying for cover to the BBC where I became a Leeds-based radio drama producer for five years.”

1965   
Relatively Speaking (original title: Meet My Father)

"
Relatively Speaking was a fairly deliberately devised play. When I was writing it, Stephen Joseph said that there's absolutely no harm whatsoever, whatever you think of the state of the theatre and playwriting in general, to try and write one 'well-made' play; that is, a play that, in general terms, is fairly actor-proof, well-constructed and which works. If you want to break the rules of theatre, he said, its very useful to know what the rules are. Breaking them by accident can lead to all sorts of trouble later. Relatively is a little machine of a play. Character plays a fairly secondary role in it - everybody's too busy trying to find out what's going on and 'character' doesn't have a chance."

1967   
The Sparrow

“I don't believe, in retrospect, that it was as good a play [as
Relatively Speaking], but it's only had three weeks in its life, those three weeks at Scarborough. It was probably worth a little more than that.”

1969      
How The Other Half Loves

“I was particularly fascinated by the uses of distortion of time and space; especially the comic potential. I was also keen to write a play with highlighted different and contrasting social lifestyles. But mainly it seemed like a great deal of fun....”
Also:
Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations (children’s play)

1970   
Family Circles (original title: The Story So Far...)

“The play was written between
How The Other Half Loves and Time And Time Again. Stylistically it does something to bridge the otherwise rather abrupt change that occurs between the technical farcicalities of the former and the mellower tones of the latter. The reason for this sudden switch might be found in the last act of Family Circles which must be termed complicated.”

1971    
Time And Time Again

“I remember it, I suppose, as a conscious effort on my part to break away from mechanical plays where the plots ground on remorselessly and the characters were borne along by the tide of events. All the rules of playwriting tell you to concentrate on a central character directing events and driving the plot. Leonard is driven not by plot but by the actions of the other characters. It was a small step for British playwriting, I'm sure, but a large step for me - and I felt with that play I took a large step forward.”

1972   
Absurd Person Singular

“It was an early attempt by me to run the contrasting strands of theatrical darkness and light almost parallel. It is a comedy and I hope people will laugh, of course I do, but it is also a sad savage reflection on the way we treat each other and the way, certainly in this life, the meek are very, very unlikely to inherit the earth.”

1973   
The Norman Conquests

“Norman was of his time. It amused me to conceive a character who felt it his God-given duty to please every woman he met. He sees himself as a New Man. In fact he is just an Old Man in New Man's clothing. Well, sort of. The joke is that he goes to inordinate lengths to seduce women who, for various reasons, don't really need that much persuading.”

1974   
Absent Friends

“I was extremely nervous about several things: first it was a play whose theme is death or rather our reaction to it.  It was also, as one critic rather shrewdly pointed out at the time, a play about the death of love. Fairly dark themes for a dramatist who was currently regarded as a purveyor of so-called light comedy. But a man’s gotta write what a man’s gotta write.”
   
Confusions
“Here in Scarborough at that period I had an acting company of five and I thought it might be nice to reward their loyalty over the years by writing them a showcase which they would tour, each playing a number of differing roles, large and small, where in turn they got a chance to shine.”
Also:
Service Not Included (screenplay)

1975   
Jeeves (revised and retitled in 1996: By Jeeves)
(with Andrew Lloyd Webber)
“I remember having a very late supper with Tim Rice [the original intended lyric writer] when we discussed the project and a couple of weeks later we found the lyric writer wasn't there! Tim said he didn't want to do it after all so Andrew said I could do the lyrics because that's a piece of cake. It's taken me 20 years to come to terms with that! They were the very first lyrics written by me.”

Bedroom Farce
“The initial inspiration for
Bedroom Farce came from something that happened when my then wife and I were working together in a theatre company. An actor came round one evening and started telling us his problems. He went on and on. Eventually we grew tired and decided the only way to stop him was to go to bed. He would not be deterred. He followed us into the bedroom - still talking - finally lying down full length on the bed beside us. We had to turn the light out on him. He formed the basis for Trevor.”
Also:
Dracula (sketch)

1976   
Just Between Ourselves

"I never sit down to write a grim play. Vera in
Just Between Ourselves took me by surprise. I was going to write about man who was awfully nice and friendly and whom everyone loathed - there is a strange breed like that. But out of the corner of my eye I saw this wife, she just came in with a cup of tea to start with, and she was crumbling away. And l thought, hang on, what's happening to her?"

1977   
Ten Times Table

“The play is about the committee attempting to organise a local pageant, and the politics - both with a small and a big 'p' - that come out of it. There are certain polarisations in society, with the private-army merchants on the right and the Marxist reactionaries on the left, and it is written from the point of view of the little man in the middle. It is probably the broadest play I have written for some time."
Also:
The Jubilee Show (revue)

1978   
Joking Apart

“I suppose the play says that, in an imperfect world, the unremittingly perfect can prove just as much a source of unhappiness as it can happiness. For, in the end, we must either attempt to destroy it or reduce it to our level; destroy ourselves through envy or vainly and fatally attempt to compete. I suppose that, as a theme, it is likely to remain relevant so long as there are people who resent being created unequal and thus can never find it in their hearts to celebrate the good fortune or accomplishments of others.”
Also:
Men On Women On Men (revue)

1979   
Sisterly Feelings

"I've always tried to express the fact that theatre is live. If that means two people tossing a coin to decide which way they're going - well it keeps the adrenaline in the actors and makes the audience think, 'Hey, this play really is live!'"

Taking Steps
“Good farce explores the extreme reaches of the credible and the likely. It proceeds by its own immaculate internal logic and at best leaves its audience only at the end wondering how on earth they came to be where they are now. In other words, it takes the basic illusion of theatre whereby, as in all plays, the dramatist first creates a world and then convinces his audiences of its credibility - farce takes this illusion and stretches it to the limits and outside them.”

1980   
Suburban Strains (with Paul Todd)

"It's really a musical play. More Teeth 'n' Smiles than Oklahoma! I've found that Paul Todd's music actually helps me as a playwright; it's given me that necessary kick beyond naturalism. You have an equivalent of the soliloquy, no need for a boring old drunk scene to make characters say what they feel. If you suddenly bring in a shaft of music from somewhere, they can actually play the subtext.”

Season’s Greetings
"My late agent, the great eccentric Peggy Ramsay, hated me writing plays set at Christmas. 'Oh Alan,' she'd say, 'not another bloody Christmas play.' But I'd explain to her that Christmas was a gift to a dramatist. You're always looking for a reason to stick a group of people together who can't stand each other, aren't you? Dinner parties are good, but what better time than Christmas? You've got three days together and there's always bound to be at least a cousin no one can stand. I've seen it at my own Christmases - two relatives arguing bitterly over who should sit in which chair."
Also:
First Course (revue); Second Helping (revue)

1981   
Way Upstream

“There are dozens of ways the play might be interpreted, a number of events historical and contemporary with which it might be paralleled. As the author, I am reluctant to say - yes, this about Thatcherism in Britain or even Hitler's rise to power in Germany. What the play is, certainly, is a statement in support of moderation. Vince and Fleur (deliberately) are neither Left Wing nor Right Wing. Too easy, that. They are neither and both. They feed on lethargy and indifference; on apathy and ignorance. They are extremists and opportunists. Possibly even the evil in ourselves, who knows. When we don't believe in anything - something will soon present itself.”

Making Tracks (with Paul Todd)
“I based this on my five years as a radio drama producer when one could sit securely behind soundproof glass and make caustic remarks about the performers. Then, whenever, the microphone was faded down, they did the same to us. But in their case, they could never be sure whether the mike was on or not.”
Also:
Me, Myself And I (revue)

1982   
Intimate Exchanges

“The play is really about a woman making the tiniest choice, but out of that comes these endings when people die, get married or have children and all as a result of this tiny ripple effect.... I thought it might be (re-staged) but I knew it would only be by me. They've been done in ones and twos but that's a bit boring. Why do one N
orman Conquest when you've got three? We've got 16 endings here and I've only seen some of them once. I described it as a celebration of acting when we first did it and the actress Lavinia Bertram replied 'I think it's more of an orgy'.”
Also:
A Trip To Scarborough (adaptation)

1983   
It Could Be Any One Of Us

“One of the other reasons I did it was I playing with different endings such as
Sisterly Feelings. The murderer is completely random and chosen by the drawing of a certain card during a game in the first scene. That character assumes the role of the murderer for that evening and the text is subtly altered by the murderer, who imparts bits of dialogue which will give the audience the chance to spot the guilty party. As a writer, the only major problem I had was in justifying why there was a complete household of homicidal maniacs! I'm prepared to admit there may be one, but that an entire family is capable of killing struck me as strange.”

1984   
A Chorus Of Disapproval

“I always felt that if Jesus came back today there would shortly be a Sunday Tabloid article about him, linking him to Mafia crime. The point is, villains always assume that honest people are just better and cleverer villains than themselves. Most of them spend the play trying to figure Guy's angle.”
Also:
The 7 Deadly Virtues (revue); The Westwoods (revue); A Cut In The Rates (one act)

1985   
Woman In Mind

“I said, "Don't put this on the poster, but it's about a woman who's having a nervous breakdown." Nobody wants to see that. But it's a very funny play about a woman who hallucinates a dream family because her own family is terrible. And these wonderful characters in white keep bounding on [stage] and offering her drinks of champagne and kissing her, and this is happening in the midst of this dreadful family that doesn't appreciate her at all. On one hand, it's very funny, but as I found out when we did it, there were more women coming out mopping their eyes than laughing. And I said, “My God. This unappreciated-wife syndrome is bigger than we think.””
Also:
Boy Meets Girl (revue); Girl Meets Boy (revue)

1986
Mere Soup Songs (revue); Tons Of Money (adaptation)

1987   
A Small Family Business

“It says what I want to say about the state of the nation today. That collectively it is as greedy; selfish, and as lacking in any overall moral leadership, as over-obsessed with the material as opposed to the spiritual as any this country has seen.”

HenceforwardÂ…
“I thought it would be interesting to write a play about a man who whilst searching desperately, personally and professionally, for real love fails to recognise it from his own family. It's a play about how we manipulate, or try to manipulate those we choose to live with.”
Also:
An Evening With PALOS (sketch)

1988   
Man Of The Moment

“It’s really intended as a comment on the media, especially the popular press and the more sensational TV programmes.  But it’s not entirely a blanket criticism. The public have always craved journalism of that sort since the press was first established. Rather it’s an observation on the fact that we get the newspapers and the TV that we deserve.”

Mr. A’s Amazing Maze Plays
“I think you have to be quite experienced to write for kids. Attention span is much shorter, and you need to get them pretty early. You also have to address yourself to the basic rules of playwriting rather strenuously. Narrative is terribly important. They've got to want to know what happens next. But the nice thing about writing for kids is that you know they will take that willing imaginative jump with you, providing you ask them to trust you, and providing you keep their trust.”

1989   
The Revengers’ Comedies

“I wanted to write a play about a man who picks up a stray kitten and finds it's a boa constrictor instead.... My alter ego Karen is completely off her trolley. In theatre, there's humour between the cracks of the horror. I'm fascinated by treading that razorblade.”

Invisible Friends
“It has been described as a younger version of my earlier play,
Woman in Mind. It relies, like a lot of my children's work, upon a good deal of direct narration, this time from young Lucy who gets fed up with her own family and retreats into a fantasy world of her own. As in the adult play, her dreams appear not only to be coming true but rapidly turning into nightmares. Unlike its adult counterpart, though, it has a moral (anything's possible if you put your mind to it) and a far happier ending.”
Also:
Wolf At The Door (adaptation); The Inside Outside Slide Show (children’s play)

1990   
Body Language

“Plays to me are intersections of various ideas which make them buoyant. This isn't really a play about our bodies, it is on how we perceive and how they alter our attitudes to the world and how the world's attitude to us changes with the shape we are; not only the shape, the image we choose to present is probably a wider issue.”

This Is Where We Came In
“Encouraged by the speed of comprehension of the young audiences and their evident willingness to embrace complicated plots and sophisticated characters, the play’s level of complexity was far greater than I had previously attempted. It was about now that I began to stop concerning myself about what limits I should observe in children's writing and concentrated on how far I could take it.”

Callisto 5 (revised and retitled Callisto#7 in 1999)
“I had the idea that I'd write a sort of
Aliens, slightly mixed with a children's Henceforward...

1991   
Wildest Dreams

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

My Very Own Story
“It plays not only with space but with time, merrily hopping through the centuries as Peter, Paul and Percy in turn wrest control of the narrative from each other, appearing in each other's tales and eventually burrowing back (and sometimes forward) in time to resolve each other's story in the grandest of grand finales. One or two adults had trouble following the narrative but, as far as I know, children never did.”

1992   
Time Of My Life

“My intention was to perceive a single moment in life - in this case where the characters are apparently very happy.  I then proceed to look at that moment through the eyes of the three pairs of protagonists.  One pair remaining for 2 hours in the present; one pair proceeding 2 years into the future and one pair receding 2 months into the past.  We are then able to perceive that moment from their different viewpoints. I believe the past is unalterable; the future is fluid but the most important place to be is the present which few of us manage.  We are either looking forward in hope or back with regret. “

Dreams From A Summer House (with John Pattison)
“They say there is no point coming to a play of mine unless you've had at least one unhappy love affair or experienced unrequited love. But
Dreams From A Summer House is really quite silly fun. Compared with Time Of My Life, it's a positive ball.”

1994   
Communicating Doors

“I've stayed in a lot of hotels (mostly in the course of touring plays around) and in most cases there's this mysterious communicating door, locked from both sides, which leads? God knows where. The rational side of me supposes that it's used when my room is opened up to combine it with the one next door to become a suite. But there's a side of me that much prefers the other explanation that, actually, beyond that door lies another universe, another time continuum. I wanted to write about how, in many cases, our futures, our destinies rest in our own hands. It isn't always about upbringing or genetics.”

Haunting Julia
“It's really about parents and how to cope! In that sense I hope it touches everyone, either who's had a child or has been a child. Everyone has grievances about how their parents interfere too much in their lives or that they don't give a damn. I'm really trying to look at it from both points of view."

The Musical Jigsaw Play (with John Pattison)
“It is important that the experienced writer writers for young children because a boring play can turn them off forever, resulting in their never returning to theatre. I suppose my ulterior motive is to write good plays that will make the young audiences of today return to watch Hamlet tomorrow.”

1995   
A Word From Our Sponsor
(with John Pattison)
“It is a sort of medieval morality play. On the other it is about arts sponsorship - which is quite near to my heart! It all becomes very Faustian. Can you sell your soul or piece of artistic premise to a sponsor whose purpose is contrary to the aims of the play?”

1996    
The Champion Of Paribanou

“It's a love story, an epic with lots of sword fights. Darting blades, magic and even a mechanical man - although being one of mine it invariably goes wrong from the word go! It's about something I've never really written before, but once I got going it woke my childhood closet of memories of films and theatres I loved as a kid.”

1997   
Things We Do For Love

“It's about what it says really. I'm always amazed that some of the worst behaviour is propagated by people who are in love. We seem to save our worst behaviour for those we love. The reason is, of course, desperation to communicate, to be loved.”

1998   
Comic Potential

“It's interesting that humour in a sense, at least to me, is a chink in the human brain. The great Comic ideas are often quite incongruous things. I began to muse if a computer did that, it would be designated as faulty. If a Computer came up with a joke, it would be seen as a fault. So is it humour that makes us human?”
   
The Boy Who Fell Into A Book
“I suppose I was interested, at its deepest, pushing books a bit. I was recently reminded - having been a very keen computer games player - that sitting down with a good book is the best virtual reality around. It just totally involves you. In a sense we haven't matched it and I doubt we ever will.”
Also:
Cheap And Cheerful (revue)

1999   
House & Garden

“It interested me to explore how an audience related to a character when they only saw half the picture. i.e. how we often jump to snap conclusions about people when we meet them only briefly. If you see
Garden first, for instance, you might be forgiven for thinking that Trish is tetchy and graceless. When you see House you realise that she has every reason to be. Interesting for the actors, too, to relate to two often quite different audiences in the same night. Most important is it's genuinely live theatre.”
Also:
The Forest (adaptation); Gizmo (children’s play)

2000   
Virtual Reality

“It’s a comedy, but quite a sad one. It was my attempt to write a cautionary tale that we could, if we’re not careful, lose touch with one another and be completely swamped by technology.”

Whenever (with Denis King)
Whenever has a slightly pessimistic view of a possible future, where we need to talk to each other more. In a way the play is a moral lesson about thinking about the future now and not leaving it till it's too late."

2001   
GamePlan (Damsels In Distress)

“It's one of the most autobiographical works I've ever written, in that there's a lot of me in Sorrel. At roughly her age I was confronted with chaos at home and became a bit of a control freak. I remember reducing schoolmasters to tears by a kind of precocious sarcasm.”

FlatSpin (Damsels In Distress)
“Most of my stuff sounds very dark. I always say to the Press Office: 'Do stress the jolly side!’. But look at the plot of
Some Like It Hot: 'Two musicians witness a vicious mob-killing in a garage and go on the run'. It sounds incredibly sombre - but what the threat does, of course, is set up the comedy. The humour is born out of the thrill. That's how I like my comedy - and, anyway, I don't really describe myself as a 'comic dramatist' anymore. I'm more a dramatist who throws in a few laughs.”
 
RolePlay  (Damsels In Distress)
“They're all a different genre.
GamePlan is a straight play, really, FlatSpin is Hitchcockian thriller and RolePlay is much more towards a dark farce about the roles we cast ourselves in and are cast in by others.”

2002   
Snake In The Grass

“It's actually a story about abuse in childhood. It's actually quite a dark theme. It's what makes a victim, and how that can have incredible repercussions... but I didn't want to write a play about abuse, full stop. That would have put off the very audience that I hoped would see it. I'm always looking for other levels to add, and it seemed to me that I could wrap it up as a thriller.”

The Jollies
“The idea was that it would stimulate the imaginations of the children. To say, really: what would it be like if I suddenly became head of the family? If I had to be mother, or father, or whatever? How would I cope?”
Also:
The Princess And The Mouse (children’s play); The Crafty Art Of Playmaking (book)

2003   
Sugar Daddies

“It's a cautionary tale with undertones of
Dr Faustus: do you sell your soul and how far do you sell it? I was fascinated by how long you could go with a relationship just to keep someone happy. Here you have two people in a fantasy relationship, and I'm looking at whether it will last, or destroy them and the girl, Sasha, in particular.”

Orvin: Champion Of Champions (with Denis King)
“Orvin is not a work to be taken too seriously. It draws on a wealth of movie inspiration from Olivier's
Hamlet to Danny Kaye's The Court Jester and to the opening of Gladiator; from the performances of Woody Allen, Stubby Kaye, Peter Lorre and, one of my own personal heroes, Basil Rathbone.”

My Sister Sadie
“It was written around the beginning of the year [2003]. There was a lot going on then, the Iraq war, weapons of mass destruction. This has, thematically, been woven in, not enough to give the children nightmares, but it's there. But in the end it is sort of a traditional tale, I suppose, of 'good' and 'evil. How 'good' can triumph.”
Also:
The Ten Magic Bridges (children’s play)

2004   
Drowning On Dry Land

“It's my take on the celebrity culture. I think getting onto reality TV shows and behaving outrageously is a sort of desperation for identity, a short cut to recognition. People's identities have broken down - you used to be the baker or the blacksmith, nowadays you're just the bloke at no. 41. So this opportunity for recognition becomes irresistible for many people. And all you need, it seems, is a certain amount of chutzpah.”

Private Fears In Public Places
“The usual principle I work on is to say, 'What's the simplest way I can tell it? What's the simplest setting? Can I make it all in one area? Can I make it all 24 hours?' All those Aristotle bits. I then started this play. I realise now I wrote a film script.”

Miss Yesterday
"
Miss Yesterday is really pretty dark, with a young girl going back in time, at first to save her brother from being run over, but then she meets herself as an older, cancer-raddled woman, and realises she has to let him die after all, so that she will go on to discover a cure for cancer. There were six-year-olds in the audience who didn't seem fazed at all by the themes. I just made sure it wasn't written in complex language and that there was a clear moral.”
Also:
Miranda’s Magic Mirror (children’s play)

2005   
Improbable Fiction

“In one sense, it's a children's play for adults, although I think children will enjoy it too, and often the family plays have a terrific bearing on breaking up the formal worlds when I write about something more surreal and more brave. I remember an Irish playwright once said to me 'Don't let's get logical' and as long a play is not illogical to the extent that it doubles back on itself, then people will enjoy being taken by surprise.”
Also:
The Girl Who Lost Her Voice (children’s play); Untitled Farce (one act)

2006   
If I Were You

“It is about human relations and how people relate to one another. It's a study of a family, mainly focusing on the difference between men and women. It's very interesting the way they approach different things and handle problems.”

2008   
Life And Beth

“It's all about taking the famous Philip Larkin text, 'They f*** you up, your mum and dad' - the disastrous effect parents have on their children and sometimes the other way round. I describe it as my
Blithe Spirit. It's still quite sad. You can't write a play about a recently widowed woman at Christmas without it getting sad.”

Awaking Beauty (with Denis King)
Awaking Beauty actually starts where Sleeping Beauty leaves off.  But then I’ve always been curious even as a child to know what really happened after “they all lived happily ever after” bit. Which probably, come to think of it, has provided the basis of a large proportion of my writing.”

2009
My Wonderful Day

"This play, more than most, can be traced autobiographically to my own experience of early single parent childhood. And although I changed both the sex (and indeed the colour!) to distance myself, I was often as a child in similar situations to my heroine, with my mother, a professional short story writer for women’s magazines, dragging me in tow whilst she wheeled and dealt in Fleet Street editorial offices. Like the fly-on-the-wall child, Winnie Barnstairs, I spent much of my time over-hearing the secrets and indiscretions of adults. Just before I wrote the play and probably, if truth be told, what triggered me to write it, was catching sight of my solemn eight year old grandson on the edge of a boisterous family gathering, behaving in similar fashion."

2010
Life Of Riley
"It's a play about reactions. A lot of writers write about road accidents. I write plays about standing at the side of the road and reacting to the accident. It's the story of George Riley as seen through the eyes of many people and as you watch the play, so you can form your own impression of what George is like."

2011
Neighbourhood Watch

"It’s all in the title. It’s a cautionary tale. It addresses modern hang-ups such as law and order, health and safety. Are we safe in our beds when there are lawless youths roaming the streets whilst the police seem powerless? It’s tapping into that sort of fear. It’s in my dark farce mode. I’ve always been interested in how, out of tiny things, wars are often fought. Whenever history is examined, you always say: Is that really what started it? Helen of Troy was responsible for an awful lot!
Neighbourhood Watch begins with a genuine misunderstanding which no-one is prepared to stand down from and the reason becomes all but forgotten, but nonetheless it causes a war."
Also:
Dear Uncle (adaptation)

2012
Surprises

"It's a play with its head in the future but with its heart in the past.
Surprises is essentially several love stories but love stories that have a spin on them. It's science fiction but used as an allegory - as most good sci-fi is - to reflect what's happening today and the issues I've picked up on recently such as what might happen with extended longevity, which is increasingly plausible and quite interesting dramatically."

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