Man Of The Moment: Frequently Asked Questions

Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist Simon Murgatroyd's answers some of the most frequently asked questions about Alan Ayckbourn's Consuming Passions. If you have a question about this or any other of Alan Ayckbourn's plays, you can contact the website via the Contact Us page.

Can Man Of The Moment be performed without a real swimming pooi?
No. The swimming pool is an integral part of Man Of The Moment's plot and has to be present as a physical pool with actual water within it. The need for the characters to frequently interact with the pool and for it to be obviously a real pool that people can fall into, swim the length of and - ultimately - drown in, makes it impossible to stage the play without a real pool. Whilst Alan Ayckbourn's previous play to substantially feature water - Way Upstream - can be staged in an 'imaginary' canal, it isn't possible to have 'imaginary' water in the pool for Man Of The Moment; the play depends on this element of realism.

Is, as the writer Mark Lawson once suggested, Man Of The Moment a play which 'spins a modern plot from Shakespeare's tragedy' Othello?
Not really. There is a genuine connection between Man Of The Moment and Othello (see Other Articles) but it is hard to argue it has anything in common with Shakespeare's tragedy other than a similar-sized cast. Mark Lawson appears to have slightly confused the fact that Man Of The Moment was originally conceived to be played in repertory with Othello in the West End with the same company. As Alan Ayckbourn noted: "I wasn’t trying to write my version of Shakespeare which might not quite stand up. Othello is a play about jealousy and the fall of a hero: my play is about the public taste for anti-heroes.”

Who is the 'man of the moment' in the play?
It depends, both Douglas and Vic are - at one point - the 'man of the moment'. Douglas is the 'man of the moment' when he tackles Vic during the bank robbery 17 years earlier and is lauded by the media for his heroism. That moment has long since faded and Douglas has been replaced in the public eye by Vic Parks, who is the current 'man of the moment' with his media popularity and television shows. Arguably though, by the climax of the play, the 'man of the moment' is actually Jill Rillington, whose media career - in doubt at the beginning of the play - is reinvigorated by being able to control the media narrative of Vic's death to best suit her.

All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.

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