Ten Times Table: Articles by Other AuthorsThis page contains articles on Ten Times Table by authors other than Alan Ayckbourn. The articles are the copyright of the respective author and should not be reproduced without permission.
by Stephen Wood (reprinted from the programme for the world premiere of Ten Times Table)
Whilst most of us were dashing round the shops for last minute presents, food and in some cases preparing for a week's holiday, Alan Ayckbourn was starting to put pen to paper on this, his twentieth play.* "Ideas" had been formulating in his mind for some time. During the "building" of Westwood I often found him sitting quietly in some half finished room - thinking. It was during this period that he handed me the title of the play on a little scrap of paper a mischievous grin on his face.
The basic theme had always been set round the Festival but originally only part of it was set in the committee room, the rest of the play explored the characters in their homes. Alan always writes in longhand through the night and sleeps during the day. Putting pen to paper started on the night of Tuesday 21 December / morning of Wednesday 22 and continued on Thursday 23 and Friday 24. On the Christmas morning at about 1.30 a change of plan! Half of the original idea was scrapped and the decision was made to set all the play in the committee room. Act I was finished by the end of the night. Alan awoke on Christmas day at about 2.30 in time to have poached eggs for Christmas lunch and to watch the Queen's speech. Act I was typed on Christmas night through to Sunday 26 morning while Act II was being written. Sunday 26 - Boxing Day morning Act II was being typed and Act III written in longhand. Boxing Day evening Act III was typed and the whole play checked for errors before being "run off", correlated and bound (20 copies). This took till 8am on Tuesday 28. He runs off all the original scripts in Scarborough before they are published for other theatres’ use later.
The Company "read through" of the play took place that evening after a sleep and a bath for the author and rehearsals started 10.00am next day.
*Ten Times Table is now considered to be the 21st of Alan Ayckbourn’s plays.
Copyright: Stephen Wood. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.