My Wonderful Day

by Alan Ayckbourn
directed by Richard Hamburger
May 18, 2011June 19, 2011

Blog

Alan Ayckbourn’s Wonderful Career

By David Gardner

Born on April 12, 1939, Alan Ayckbourn just recently celebrated both his 72nd birthday and the completion of his 75th full-length play, making him one of the most prolific writers of our day. But not only prolific, this London-born playwright’s body of work has earned over 35 awards and honors, including a Tony, two Olivier Awards, two Moliere Awards, and a Special Tony for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater. In 1997 Ayckbourn was knighted for his service to the theatre, and his plays—both new and revived—continue to delight audiences in both England and America.

An interview with director Richard Hamburger

Interview by David Gardner

“You’re looking for an interesting story, depth of character, accuracy of observation, humor, and some insight into the world we live in.”

David Gardner: When you read through a script for a play you might direct, what goes through your head?

Richard Hamburger: You’re looking for the human possibilities to reveal unpredictable areas. You’re looking to see if it’s accurate to the way people actually are, rather than an idealization of how they should be. You’re looking to see whether it’s an original voice, rather than an imitation of someone else, or unduly influenced by a presently-fashionable author. You’re looking for an interesting story, depth of character, accuracy of observation, humor, and some insight into the world we live in.

Alan Ayckbourn on My Wonderful Day

by William Steinberger

Alan Ayckbourn is one of the most prolific playwrights at work today. His output, however, extends far beyond the seventy-three plays he has authored. He is also a frequent essayist and interviewee on the subject of his work.

Ayckbourn has spoken at length about how he sees My Wonderful Day unfolding from Winnie’s perspective. The play was originally titled “Winnie’s Wonderful Day.” The change in title reflects Winnie’s role as first person viewer. The play is a children’s view of the adult world. “Adults drift away and you hear them talking in a corner,” he told the Yorkshire Post, “but you stay with [Winnie].” Interestingly, Ayckbourn’s official website notes that “prior to My Wonderful Day, children are generally heard but not seen in Alan’s plays.” As we learn about the adults that inhabit My Wonderful Day, “Winnie just observes, writes and makes us wonder: who are the children?”

Ayckbourn also sees Winnie in some ways as the most commonsensical and mature character in the play. “Her mother is a dreamer…and she says they’ll go back to the land of sunshine and you think, ‘C’mon mum get real.’” To The Press, he described, “By the age of eight or nine, you’re beginning to sort your parents out.” He further observed, “I wanted the child, Winnie, to be quite young. Young enough that the adults would misread her."