Private Fears In Public Places: Quotes by Alan Ayckbourn

"It's different. It's quite filmic. It's a bit like [the film] Pulp Fiction. There are three short stories told concurrently, they're separate but they intertwine. It's very hard to say what it's about. It's funny, but there's a dark side to it. I had this fragment of an idea about a woman who was quite proper and respectable, working alongside a bloke to whom she lends a video of her favourite TV programme. He takes it home and it turns out to be a hymn programme but when it finishes he discovers it's been taped over a pornographic film. He doesn't like to mention it but he starts looking at her in a different way."
(Yorkshire Post, 26 April 2004)

"It's the nearest thing to a film I've ever done on stage and films have always been of big interest to me as a writer. It moves very fast, the action moves around a permanent set, there won't be an interval and it's just 100 minutes long [actually 105 minutes]. There are three stories that interlink. It's like
Pulp Fiction without the violence... It's like a peaceful Pulp Fiction....
"The idea for
Private Fears... has been knocking around my head for a while. It doesn't follow the usual conventions that people expect of me. It's been quite a challenge and an experiment in how minimal I can make scenes....
"The audience here are disappointed if they don't get surprised. I'm also aware that they might develop a weariness if they keep attending the same type of play and keep being invited to laugh. There is an increasing relationship between comedy and tragedy and I like that. This play is dark, it's not a knockabout farce....
I always want to write things that I've not done before. It's hard not to write the same characters, or characters that seem to be related in some way to those that have gone before. In a sense writers are the victim of their own back catalogue. A lot of people know a lot about my plays and there's a lot of expectation and I feel that. I do try and certainly feel the need to better myself with every new piece of work."
(Artscene, August 2004)

"It's a little chamber piece, really. I love the idea that we are all walk-on parts, using a theatrical term, in other people's lives. I wanted this idea, without being too preachy, that we're all responsible for each other."
(Los Angeles Times, 26 June 2005)

"It was the most extraordinary piece I wrote in that it's got 54 scenes and several different locations that are used all the way through the play. It's quite un-me. Half of the craft of playwriting is to get events to happen in the same area. So if you can get a play to take place within a single location, you're rather lucky actually. But if the audience go out asking, 'I wonder why they all got there at that time?' then you've failed. Its a matter of marshalling the events without opening it up. Which is why my stuff doesn't really make good movies."
(The Guardian, 6 July 2007)

"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."
(Daily Telegraph, 6 July 2007)

"The idea that we are all more closely linked and therefore responsible for each other than we realise. Even indirectly for people we haven't met or ever will for that matter. Nothing blindingly new when you boil it down to that. But as the comedian says it's how you tell 'em. Each play comes from a different place. There's no celestial stockpile - at least I haven't found one."
(Interview with Chris Boyd)

Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn

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