Family Circles: Quotes by Alan Ayckbourn

“Another play that never quite worked. Reasonably successful in Scarborough, I rewrote the play when it was remounted at Leicester, directed by Robin Midgley who’d made such a success of How The Other Half Loves. When it didn’t work there, I changed managements, directors and a lot of the script but despite Celia Johnson’s presence it died a final death in Brighton.”
(‘Ayckbourn At 50’ souvenir Programme)

“Chronologically in my writing the play was written between
How The Other Half Loves and Time And Time Again. Stylistically it does something to bridge the otherwise rather abrupt change that occurs between the technical farcicalities of the former and the mellower tones of the latter. The reason for this sudden switch might be found in the last act of Family Circles which must be termed complicated.”
(Family Circles programme, Orange Tree Theatre)

Me Times Me [Family Circles] is probably not vintage, but it’s got a good few laughs in it…. In each act the daughter has a different husband and they change around; the premise of the play being that, depending on who you marry, you become very slightly different. And it’s quite fun to watch; but it got very complicated and no-one could understand it by the end of the play, because I brought all nine couples on - which made the people in Brighton very nervous. I’d hate to see it on Shaftesbury Avenue because I think people would expect of it something it hasn’t got.”
(‘Municipal Entertainment’, May 1978)

"There is a play of mine called
Family Circles - you know the one which… has been called everything under the sun. When a play keeps changing its title it usually means there is something radically wrong around there somewhere…. I think personally that the urge to rewrite old plays should be resisted. Far more valuable to write new plays, even if they may in passing pay tribute to the old play. I think that using the old play as any sort of basis is very bad because, take it from me, the least of my problems is structuring a play. I mean that is technique, the interesting or difficult part is the content. So, for me it is in a sense easier and actually more economical and more satisfying to deal with a new structure and contain the ideas from the old play, than to try and re-structure and patch up and bridge the bits of faulty plotting which there were."
(Albert-Reiner Glaap, A Guided Tour Through Ayckbourn Country)

“I should have left it alone.”
[On the 1985 revival of Family Circles at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round]

Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn