Man of The Moment: Interviews

This section features interviews with Alan Ayckbourn relating to Man Of The Moment. Click on a link in the right-hand column below to read the relevant interview.

This is an extract from an interview published in the Oxford Times on 23 July 2009 coinciding with Alan Ayckbourn's 70th birthday revival of Man Of The Moment.

Alan Ayckbourn

Interviews with Alan Ayckbourn

Man Of The Moment (1998)
Alan Ayckbourn (2009)
It’s sometimes said that people who create comedy are as sour as old milk when you meet them face to face. That is most certainly not the case with Alan Ayckbourn.

A stroke three years ago has left him walking with a stick, but his sense of humour is entirely unimpaired. We met at the Royal Theatre, Northampton, where he had just arrived to direct a revival of his play
Man of the Moment.

“At the time I wrote the play, 20 years ago, I was scratching the surface of reality television,” Ayckbourn explained. “But looking at it today, it’s all gone mad, it’s got much worse: everybody’s scrambling for two or three minutes of fame. The television camera is a compulsive liar. It makes the most plausible rogues into attractive TV personalities. It can make honest, true, good men look completely boring.

“In the play, Vic is an out and out villain, having been sent down for a bank robbery where a woman got badly injured. With good behaviour, he’s out in nine years, and finds a ready affinity with microphones and cameras. The amusing thing about crooks - and I’ve used this in a couple of plays - is that when a good man arrives in town, the crooks start trying to figure his angle.

“I found that myself in Scarborough, when I wanted to own a space that did plays I liked. One of the leading local fruit machine operators kept watching me, and saying, what’s he up to?’. He caught me one day, and asked, ‘what’s the twist with all these plays? You make a lot of money off it, don’t you? How does that work then?’.

“I replied, ‘well, I write them, and fortunately a lot of other theatres decide to do them, and people pay at the box office to see them.”

A percentage of the income is sent to me’. So he said, ‘you don’t have to actually be at all these theatres? That’s brilliant. Even I have to empty the machines every evening’.

“It was like I’d invented a new scam - I was now a Mr Big.”

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