A Chorus Of Disapproval: Articles

This article by Alan Ayckbourn was written during 1995 and is drawn from personal correspondence held in the Ayckbourn Archive. For other articles about the play, click on the link in the right hand column below.

Staging A Chorus Of Disapproval (1990)

Regarding-the staging of A Chorus of Disapproval - it's difficult to know where to start...

What it's not intended„ to be, is a 'send up' of Amateur Operatics. I think Dafydd's production is probably over-ambitious (but then he has pretensions towards The Profession). They should all be trying their best. As with most societies there are the good the bad and the hide-them-wherever-you-can-her-husband's-lent-us-half-the-props.

Essentially, remember it's the story of the honest man amongst rogues. I always feel that if Jesus came back today there would shortly be a Sunday Tabioid article about him, linking him to Mafia crime. The point is, villains always assume that honest people are just better and cleverer villains than themselves. Most of them spend the play trying to figure Guy's angle.

Guy's greatest failing is his complete inability to say no to anyone or anything. He hates to hurt peoples' feelings. But he should never be played knowingly.

The Beggar's Opera, of course, mirrors the play rather closely. What is sometimes misunderstood at the end is the way the actual play's ending changes to mirror the original John Gay play. Gay's ending is blatantly cynical. 'You want a happy ending, there you are, you've got it.' Guy, like MacHeath, is reprieved - thanks to the stroke of an author's pen.

Keep it moving. It's long, especially the first half. It needs pace and very swift scene changes.

Don't be afraid of the play's occasional darknesses of texture. And please don't feel the need to lighten them. A number of my plays have sunshine and shadows. This is one. There are some-deeply unpleasant people in this play. The Hubbards and the Huntley-Pikes are quite appalling. Even Hannah's not as nice as she first appears. She's a professional victim. I feel deeply sorry for my women characters but often they do, in-truth, get the husbands they deserve!

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