Bedroom Farce: Quotes by Alan Ayckbourn

"I'm going to call it Bedroom Farce, A Comedy. I'm worrying about it a bit because I've never written for the posh fellers before. It'll have everything about bedrooms but copulation, something which I believe is hardly practised in the British bedroom anyway."
(Sunday Times, 30 June 1974)

"People had said to me that I'd set plays everywhere but in the bedroom and I got to think about them and became fascinated by what people do in bedrooms - I don't mean all that ho, ho risqué stuff, but the curious pastimes people take up. Just asking round my friends produced people who played
Scrabble, elaborate quiz games, read all night or even in one instance, passed the time making furniture."
(Birmingham Post, 1 January 1977)

"
Bedroom Farce goes back to traditional comedy a bit; it's a comedy though it's called a farce, and it's a study of the British in bed, with everything except sex!"
(The New British Drama, 1977, Hamish Hamilton)


"It came about in a funny way. I'd written
The Norman Conquests and someone said to me jokingly in the bar - and I usually never take any notice of what is said to me in the bar - "We've seen the sitting room, the dining room and the garden, when are we going to see the bedroom?" Well, I thought, I'm certainly not going to write any more Norman Conquests. Then the idea came to me that I hadn't ever written a bedroom play. And then another idea sort of met it - that all bedroom farces that I knew of, especially the English variety, were all rather risqué, oo-la-la sort of plays. And yet talking to my friends, I realised that 90 percent of the time, practically everything but sex happens in bedrooms.
"So what this play has a whole series of people occupying their bedrooms for reasons other than sex. There's a man who's building his wife a chest of drawers. One couple is having a party. Another old couple is trying to keep out the cold. Since there are three bedrooms and four couples, you can see the possibility for complications. But
Bedroom Farce is sort of a joke. It's anything but a typical bedroom farce."
(Washington Star, 18 February 1979)

"What I tried to do was avoid the obvious and write a play about the British in bed without emphasising anything much in the way of sex. Actually, of course, it's full of sex, but sex of a different sort. It covers a whole wide range of sexual troubles, sexual problems."
(New York Times, 25 March 1979)

"I wrote
Bedroom Farce for Peter [Hall]: it seemed to solve the Lyttelton problem by dividing the stage into three smaller stages. The announcement of the play caused a lot of flak. The NT [National Theatre] was struggling to establish itself in its new home and was subject to a lot of sniping anyway. If it wasn't the building, it was the productions. Basically, some critics asked what this temple of the arts was doing, presenting this commercial chappie from the West End. The short answer was that it was trying to bring to the place an audience that normally shied away from temples. It isn't, in today's climate, a question people ask; I think I have grown a little more respectable, though that is not what I have striven for. My last play, according to the playbills, was written by the Scarborough Building Society. Nice going, lads, is all I can say."
(Sunday Telegraph, 21 February 1988)

"I would never have done a play here [at the National Theatre] if Peter [Hall] hadn't asked me to. I was doing very well with Michael Codron, and he was actually very put out when I did
Bedroom Farce here: it was a commercial play, he said, but I was known primarily as a comic writer, and was looking for a bit of credibility. Peter had seen in plays like Absurd Person Singular that there was a serious strand to my work, which tended to get swept aside in the perception of me as Mr Boulevard. Plays do get boulevarded by other directors; you'll see another production somewhere, and think, Oh My God, the whole thing has gone out of the window!"
(Plays International, July 2000)

"I was a commercial dramatist and didn't have any thoughts of going to the National. Sheila Hancock, who was starring in Absurd Person Singular, asked Peter Hall to come and see it, and he invited me to the National. He showed me around the Lyttelton and I saw this enormous theatre. The stage seemed to go on for ever. I decided if I couldn't fill it with one set I would have three separate sets."
(Birmingham Post, 19 February 2001)

"We opened it [the National Theatre production] to a try-out matinee of local Birmingham drama students. I said: 'It's the worst sort of audience, all sitting there glaring at the stage and thinking they could do better'. But in fact they were wonderful and that evening was one of the highlights of my life in terms of opening shows. We all went back to the hotel afterwards so relieved, and no one more so than the National crowd who had come up to open it. They realised they had (fingers crossed) their first hit. I remember I got disgracefully drunk that night."
(Birmingham Post, 19 February 2001)

"I was very pleased to be invited [to write Bedroom Farce for the National Theatre], but I do remember a lot of people saying to [Artistic Director] Peter Hall: 'What the hell is Mr Shaftesbury Avenue doing in the National?'"
(The Guardian, 29 March 2014)

Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn

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