Arrivals & Departures: Quotes by Alan Ayckbourn

"It’s interesting that Arrivals & Departures is not a million miles from Time Of My Life, as it’s reflecting back - playing with time to see the play; a sort of 3D vision of events. I think these exercises I’ve been doing of late when I write a new play to accompany an old play are quite interesting for me, as it allows me to revisit certain themes that have appeared in the earlier play, but not so closely that I've just rewritten another version of the earlier play. Nonetheless the plays are linked in subtle ways. It’s quite interesting but you can’t help but be influenced.
"One of the themes of
Arrivals & Departures, which I've explored before is the characters see people and tend to take them at face value, but we the audience get to know them better and see there’s more to these people than meets the eye. When we as an audience are empowered by knowledge the characters on stage aren’t getting, it’s a fascinating feeling and it’s a reverse of people coming on and knowing things we don’t - audiences tend to get grumpy when that happens!"
(Interview with Simon Murgatroyd, 4 December 2012)

“The play has a theme I’ve explored before - and indeed other dramatists have done so many times - and that is how isolated as individuals we are from each other, but here two strangers get to know each other and the audience gets to know them so we share in that process. When these two people - a traffic warden and a soldier - from completely different circumstances and of different ages meet, you wonder what will happen to them, as they know nothing about each other. That happens quite a lot to all of us, like when the man in the corner shop remains the man in the corner shop apart from an occasional chat about the weather or a ‘How’s your wife?’ So my first theme in Arrivals & Departures was to ponder how close they could become when coming from such different starting points - and you realise they could be close, so the ending is quite touching.”
(The Press, 31 July 2013)

"I wanted to write something for a bigger cast and stretch myself further. There is only so much you can explore with a six-hander plot. So I wrote Arrivals & Departures as an 11-hander, which gave me more scope."
(Guildford Magazine, 1 January 2014)

"The structure of Arrivals & Departures is one I haven’t done or seen. It’s unique to me."
(Oxford Times, 30 January 2014)

"I wanted to invert a usual stage convention. When you write a play, usually two characters come on, and as you perceive them and they let things out, you learn more and more about them, and so do they. In this play, the same thing happens, except neither character learns anything more about each other. We see all the information about A and B come via flashbacks."
(Theatermania.com, 5 June 2014)

Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn