My Very Own Story: Articles by Alan Ayckbourn

This is an extract from an article by Alan Ayckbourn about My Very Own Story for the collections Alan Ayckbourn: Plays 2, published by Faber during 1998.

Alan Ayckbourn: Plays 2 (extract)

This Is Where We Came In and My Very Own Story, written within a year of each other in 1990 and 1991, are very much a pair. This Is Where We Came In or 'TWICCI' as it came to be known by the production team, was written initially in response to a particular set of physical circumstances. I needed a play in two halves which could be performed on alternating Saturday mornings by the permanent Scarborough company, utilizing whichever main repertoire set happened to be onstage on that particular morning. This helps to explain the play's pretext, a group of travelling players lost in a strange abstract landscape. Again, I made great use of the narrator or rather narrators but by now, encouraged by the speed of comprehension of the young audiences and their evident willingness to embrace complicated plots and sophisticated characters, the level of complexity was far greater than I had previously attempted.
It was about now that I began to stop concerning myself about what limits I should observe in children's writing and concentrated on how far I could take it.
My Very Own Story, written a year later, plays not only with space but with time, merrily hopping through the centuries as Peter, Paul and Percy in turn wrest control of the narrative from each other, appearing in each other's tales and eventually burrowing back (and sometimes forward) in time to resolve each other's story in the grandest of grand finales. One or two adults had trouble following the narrative but, as far as I know, children never did.

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