Wildest Dreams: Quotes by Alan Ayckbourn

"There is a sadness and melancholy over them [the characters]. One kid is a computer boy, surrounded by screens in the attic in his mother's house. He believes he is from outer space. They meet every Thursday to play my version of Dungeons and Dragons. The extreme form of it is a computer game. I've played some of them and they can take up the rest of your life. I could, I know, sit there completely happily and spend my life in this world that someone else has created on a floppy disc. It's a terrible thing because children, lone children, can go in there for ever. It's safe, yet it's frightening. But it's controllable fear and when you die, you press restart, save the game and start again. Do they ever come out? I've become rather interested in it."
(Sunday Express, 10 March 1991)

"It's about a woman regressing to childhood, a child who's molested, a battered wife who finds refuge in a lesbian relationship. It has right-on themes running through it like crazy, but I don't think it's a right-on play. And if you were to put any of those themes on the poster, the audience I want to attract would run a mile."
(Theatre Monthly, May 1991)

"I was interested in the way so many of us spend a lot of our time finding ways to escape reality. I think we all do. I'm fascinated by the minority, but nonetheless quite strong, cult of role-playing games. Theatre in one sense is an example of this….
"The play's about how we all have images of ourselves or what we'd like ourselves to be. At certain stages of our lives we start to analyse what we have done or achieved, or in the case of
Wildest Dreams, have failed to achieve. And I suppose it's what would happen, too, if our wildest dreams did come true, which they do, in a funny way, in the play. This in a sense is the re-telling of the old tale that you had three wishes, but when you've had the wish it's never quite what you imagined it to be….
"I've been fascinated to examine four lives, four people, all of whom are not able to function successfully in the real world, and how they are almost dragged into the real world by a catalyst, a fifth character. She almost forces them to face up to themselves, which is perhaps not the sort of thing to do with games players. Seeing yourself tends to send you running in the opposite direction….
"In the play, some of the characters, most of them, must choose where their fantasy figure finishes and they themselves begin. The game runs through the play the whole time and slowly changes as they change."
(Yorkshire Evening Press, 7 May 1991)

"The idea of people pursuing their innermost fantasies to their logical conclusions interested me."
(Personal correspondence, 1991)

"People are hiding in their computer screens. My latest play,
Wildest Hearts, is about people escaping. Four rather sad misfits meet every week to play Dungeons And Dragons, the role-playing game, and the play is about plunging into this invented world. They become so involved they can no longer fit into the real world."
(The Strait Times, 17 February 1993)

"A dark, satanic piece indeed. But nobody ever said it was a comedy. At least I didn't. You can look at it another way: that it is a straight play with a rather abnormal amount of comedy in it."
(The Observer, 12 December 1993)

"All things that matter in any sort of theatre matter twice as much for children. Good story, good dialogue, characters you are interested in. My imagination really catches fire sometimes! To write for such an audience sharpens your playwriting skills no end. It's affected my adult work, I know. In fact, one such play,
Wildest Dreams, quite a frightening play is in one sense entirely a children's play. I'd never have written it if I hadn't experienced the thrills and spills of writing for the younger audience."
(Personal correspondence, undated)

"My research for Wildest Dreams was more third party than anything. I took no active part in any games. My concern was less to portray role playing games in a documentary sense than to use one as a dramatic basis upon which to build a picture of four people unable to cope with the demands of the real world. I suppose it could equally have been about four people obsessed with train-spotting or with the prospect of winning the lottery.
"As a consequence, I deliberately set out to portray a game that had little or no similarity to any real role playing game. The problem with all theatre is to present the specific in general enough terms to interest the majority. It was necessary therefore to make Warren's game vague enough to make those in the audience with an aversion to role playing games feel unthreatened by jargon. The inconsistencies and improbabilities of actually sitting down to play such a game are therefore deliberate. Onstage I even had a blank board."

(Personal correspondence, undated)

Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn