Season's Greetings: Quotes by Alan Ayckbourn

Quotes about Way Upstream by other writers can be found here.

"My late agent, the great eccentric Peggy Ramsay, hated me writing plays set at Christmas. 'Oh Alan,' she'd say, 'not another bloody Christmas play.' But I'd explain to her that Christmas was a gift to a dramatist. You're always looking for a reason to stick a group of people together who can't stand each other, aren't you? Dinner parties are good, but what better time than Christmas? You've got three days together and there's always bound to be at least a cousin no one can stand. I've seen it at my own Christmases - two relatives arguing bitterly over who should sit in which chair. And when I talked to Peggy, I found out that she had an uncle - a tubby man - who would turn up every Christmas wearing a dress and sit her on his knee… No one would believe that if I put it in a play."
(The Guardian, 20 December 2007)

"I think I wrote
Seasons Greetings for a spring opening originally.* To be honest, Christmas audiences at the theatre can be hard work. It may be the only time they come to the theatre all year and they're very keen to know where the bar is. I'd rather people thought of the theatre as something they can come to at any time of the year."
(The Guardian, 20 December 2007)

"It's the first time anybody really got shot in a play of mine! It's quite dark, but it's quite fun as well, and it seems to catch on with people at Christmas. Everyone seemed to warm to the play. [The critic] Michael Billington was very enthusiastic, comparing it to Ibsen and things like that, which was very nice."
(Interview from Conversations With Ayckbourn by Ian Watson)

"This one got two shots at London. The first was a rather unhappy transfer of the original Scarborough production to The Round House. Unhappy because the production was absolutely dwarfed by its surroundings and the play got rather lost. Luckily, Alan Strachan saved the day when he invited me to re-do the show at Greenwich. We assembled a wonderful cast including Bernard Hepton and Peter Vaughan as the uncles and Marcia Warren returning from the original Scarborough production."
(Ayckbourn At 50 souvenir programme)

"A dissatisfied local tradesman demanded his money back saying some of the sexual explicitness disgusted him. I felt rather proud. I'd never never disgusted anyone dramatically before. Well, not to my knowledge."
(Celebrating 20 Years At Westwood souvenir programme)

“Christmas is a time where you invite the people you don’t want to invite to your house. It’s just two days and then you can get rid of them the day after Boxing day. This powder keg of personalities is drawn together within a house. I used to endure them at my house with doors slamming. My mother came to blows with someone once for sitting in the wrong chair! I was thinking what happens to people? This is supposed to be good time and there’s good-will pumping out on the television and radio and you think, ‘but it’s hell!’ That’s why I live in such big house, because at Christmas time I go to a very distant room to hide.”
(SJT Season Launch, 2019)

“We set up our expectations for a wonderful family time at Christmas, but people don’t behave like that, and instead Christmas is a suicide note waiting to happen. You invite people you only see once a year and somehow you expect you’re all going to have fun, but it’s not a good idea to have that belief.”
(The Press, 11 April 2019)

“People have the idea that maybe next year will be better, but when you get to the age of 40, you think, ‘oh come on, I say this every year’. What I do is go to bed and you can hear all the banging of the fireworks and the vague sound of Auld Lang Syne, and you think ‘it won’t get any better next year’.”
(The Press, 11 April 2019)

"The family reunion, the pile of brightly wrapped presents; the log roaring in the grate; a children’s puppet show and a Boxing Day tea; turkey dinners; paper hats; crackers and streamers; around the base of the gaily decorated tree an extramarital relationship; a couple of stray gunshots in the hall. All the ingredients for a traditional English Christmas."
(Alan Ayckbourn’s publicity note from the 1980 Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round winter brochure)

Advice on writing Christmas-set plays: "Well, I suppose, give them a landmine, but make sure you wrap it in a bit of tinsel".
(The Guardian, 20 December 2007)

*
Season's Greetings was premiered in September 1980 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough.

Copyright: Haydonning Ltd.

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