Better Off Dead: Quotes by Alan Ayckbourn

"Steve Freeman and Paul Robinson [the Stephen Joseph Theatre's Executive and Artistic Directors] have given me such impetus, I have even written next year's play as well! I hope the title's not prescient. This is a play about a writer, Algy, who lives in the wilds of North Yorkshire, who has shut himself off from the hurly-burly of publishing and London. He's proud to be a writer of detective fiction and his main character is called DCI Tommy Middlebrass, who is a rough, gritty detective, well past his sell-by-date. He's gritty and overweight but gets his results. He's got a green behind the ears sergeant with him, Gemma Price. Algy's very reluctant to seek publicity and has a love / hate relationship with the press. With great reluctance he grants an interview with a writer contemporary of his who claims to have been at school with him, although Algy can't remember a thing about him. When they meet in the garden of Algy's summer house, Gus arrives with a recording machine and is eager to get the rarely achieved interview with Algy the writer."
(A Brief History Of Plays event, 17 September 2017)

"Algy's a man in his late seventies: I can see people thinking, 'is it autobiographical?'! He's a writer, living in Yorkshire, and the reason I've made him a writer is that one of the themes of the play is, my plays are quite quick in execution, but I've always wondered what I'd be like at writing about a detective character who I'd used for a number of years and now I'm trying desperately to kill him off, but the readers want you to bring him back, and so by the next novel, he's back. I thought, 'how dangerous is it when the writer's alter ego, the character he's created, takes him over'."

(The Press, 13 September 2018)

Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn.