Surprises: Quotes by Alan Ayckbourn

"It has quite a lot of themes I have dealt with before, a bit of time travel, a bit of robotics, a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I call these plays that have their head in the future, but their heart in the past."
(BBC, 5 December 2011)

"It has its head in the future and its heart in the past. They're love stories. The dirty word to use on them is science-fiction; people go 'oh no, magnetic boots' and all that. I say no, it's just 'what if?'"
(Wall Street Journal blog, 13 December 2011)

"It's been fascinating to be writing at my advanced age about really old age."
(The Guardian, 28 December 2011)

"Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved science-fiction and I’ve incorporated it into many of my plays. Sci-fi tends - if you use it in the way I like to use it - to anticipate a current trend and follow it through, saying, logically, in sixty years if we keep doing this, then this might happen. In this case, the play’s about longevity. I read a few weeks ago a huge article about what happens if we all live to 150; what is going to happen to us socially? More importantly, in the case of
Surprises, is what is personally going to happen to us? If you stand in front of an altar - like I did - when you’re 21 and promise to love each other 'til death us do part, then that usually assumes that - at the worst - you’ve got 70 years to wait until one of you pops your clogs. But what if your expectation of living together is 150 years? What happens then? Can love survive that long? Can you continue to love blindly for so long? Some people can’t even manage 10 years, so this is a problem which is waiting to happen. Maybe you have to just promise to be very fond of each other for a few years and then there’s always the option of a get-out clause, which just hedges your bets a bit."
(Alan Ayckbourn News Blog, 23 May 2012)

Surprises is also about keeping you alive, as the medics can now do. I’ve got an artificial hip now and I know people who have got artificial lots of things as they can now replace practically everything. People say, 'but what about the brain?' But it’s only a matter of time, I think, before someone learns how to download your brain onto a microchip and says, 'there you are, that’s your personality on a chip.' So what are you then? Are you an android, as everything’s then been replaced? Is there a difference then between artificial intelligence and human beings? It’s an interesting conjecture and the play explores that."
(Alan Ayckbourn News Blog, 23 May 2012)

"There is a singer called Silje Nergaard and she is Swedish and she’s a jazz singer and I just love the number
Dance Me Love from the album Nightwatch. It inspired me to write Surprises. I don’t often use music - and I don’t use it in the show, but it’s a love dance. It’s a very sad love dance through the dark."
(BBC Radio Leeds, 29 June 2012)

"There are people today who will live to 150. What are they going to do for 150 years? Don't get married young, I'll tell you that."
(Independent On Sunday, 2 September 2012)

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