Time And Time Again: Character Notes by Alan AyckbournIn correspondence, Alan was once asked why the character of Graham makes reference to the cricketer Jack Hobbs rather than a more well known or contemporary (to 1971) cricketer. Alan's reply offers an insight into Graham's character.
Of course, Jack Hobbs is hopelessly out of date. He was out of date even in 1971. But I wasn't looking to have Graham make a contemporary reference. Rather I wanted the reference to indicate that:
a) Graham was hopelessly out of date anyway, and
b) that in referring to Leonard as Jack Hobbs rather than a well-known contemporary player he was also conjuring up - in our minds - those baggy trousered individuals who used to flap beflannelled across our cricket pitches long before the days of snug fitting lycra and sponsored bri-nylon.
Instead of Hobbs, it could have been Hammond or Bradman or even W.G Grace. His football reference is similarly a few years behind the time.
In the same correspondence, the question of character's sense of humour in the play is raised and how to play them.
I am equally fond of all my characters. I leave other people to pass judgement, to choose whether or not to laugh at them. I don't care whether they do or not, really. So long as the characters continue to exist according to their own lights. In their own space. With never a hint of a comment. Or a self conscious joke that was out of place on their lips. Because, of course, none of them have the slightest idea of how comic or otherwise is there behaviour or their predicament. Which of us has?
Graham hasn't got a sense of humour. Not a scrap. The one man who does have a sense of humour, Leonard, is of course considered barking mad by most of them anyway. It's certainly something Joan sees herself curing him of, once they're married, that's for sure. Yet even he, despite standing back from life - or trying to - can't really control his own destiny. Or see himself objectively.
Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn. Please do not reproduce without permission of Alan Ayckbourn.