House & Garden: Articles

This section features articles on House & Garden by Alan Ayckbourn and other authors. Click on the link in the right hand column below to go to the relevant article.

This article was written by Alan Ayckbourn and is drawn from correspondent held in the Ayckbourn Archive at the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York. No further details about the article are known.

Tips, Hints & Wisdom

Tips, hints and pearls of wisdom for directing House & Garden?

Well, the obvious ones. Keep a very eye on your timings of both plays, right from the start. The plays have been fairly thoroughly “road-tested” with regard to that. At the National Theatre, I had to have a 90 second gap between both theatres. Which is about a minute longer than we had here in Scarborough. Nonetheless, you appreciate that if one play speeds up by 45 seconds and one slows down by 45 seconds then someone somewhere is going to be off...

All my plays benefit from truthful playing. That is to say, don’t let actors get carried away with the idea that it’s all a laugh. Try and refer to comedy as little as possible in rehearsals. Oddly, the laughs only come with most of my stuff when the characters are deadly serious. Well, that’s not odd really, that’s the basis of all good comic playing.

A lot of
House & Garden and especially Garden is quite melancholic. You’ll find there’s an enormous difference in the feel of each play. I always think the English behave so differently once they get outside in the open air.

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