Man of The Moment: Articles by Alan Ayckbourn
Alan Ayckbourn's preface to Alan Ayckbourn: Plays 1
In Man of the Moment, written in 1988, I turned my attention to the nature of celebrity and fame, particularly with regard to television. Based on the unoriginal but eternally true observation that good news is no news and bad news is good news, I reflected on the question of why it is that the camera can often make the really good appear dull whilst transforming villains into instant sources of fascination and attraction. The answer is, of course, that whereas it doesn't tell flat lies, the camera often tells less than the whole truth. And to make it work for us we master techniques and tricks, all those skills which come naturally to the manipulators, the dissemblers and the con men but which are often beyond the capability of the earnest, the decent and the sincerely honest.
Driving each day to the National Theatre whilst rehearsing Man of The Moment, I passed posters for the film Buster, celebrating the life and crimes of one of the Great Train Robbers. It occurred to me then that the forgotten man in that media-celebrated event was the train driver himself who subsequently died of his injuries. Who would make the film about him? It was a small journey from there to the staged reunion between Douglas Beechey, the have-a-go bank clerk and the successful media star and reformed bank robber, Vic Parks. Once again, and by no means for the last time, I brought light and darkness face to face on stage, clear cut and identifiable. Would that the choice was always that easy.
Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.