The Jollies: Quotes by Alan Ayckbourn

"I cleared a writing space three weeks ago and hit a brick wall. Total disaster. Nothing happened. I said to my wife, Heather, that's it - that's the end, I'm finished. Then I got back from Bath on Sunday and began a completely new play. It's got the same title as the one I'd abandoned, The Jollies - because we'd already sold 1500 seats - but it's a brand-new piece. It's about a mother, son and daughter who go to see a magic act. The son, who is seven, volunteers to go into the magic cabinet and comes out a man of 33. Meanwhile, the mother runs in after him, saying she wants her little boy back, and emerges in the body of an eight-year-old. The daughter remains the same while coping with a mother whom she has to put to bed and a brother old enough to be her father. I think it's got something kids can latch on to."
(The Guardian, 4 September 2002)

"I had the idea and thought it would be interesting. The first premise being: what would it be like for a child of eleven to find that their world has been turned upside down; if their mother was suddenly younger than them and their little brother was twenty years older? So I devised the ‘magic cabinet', which is described as a 24th century time machine, and the idea was that you would step into it and you would meet yourselves, hundreds of yourselves, at different stages of your life. And so, it was both frightening and fascinating. It presumed that every second of time is frozen and if you could find a way to split it, you could find me making that gesture [waves hand] and me finishing that gesture. Whether it has any scientific basis is doubtful! But the idea was that it would stimulate the imaginations of the children. To say, really: what would it be like if I suddenly became head of the family? If I had to be mother, or father, or whatever? How would I cope?"
(‘A Guided Tour Through Ayckbourn Country’)

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