Time Of My Life: Character Notes by Alan Ayckbourn

One of the criticisms levelled at Time Of My Life (and to an extent A Small Family Business before it) in contemporary reviews is Alan's decision to have just one actor playing all the waiters at the restaurant featured in the play. In an interview with the author Albert-Reiner Glaap, Alan explains that this is not to stereotype the characters but that it was written this way for a very specific reason in relation to the audience.

"The seventh character in the play is the waiter or a series of waiters, it is not just a gimmick. I have used it before, with one man playing lots of parts. In this case he serves as a sort of chorus and I suppose he encapsulates most of the waiters most of us have ever met, from the very bad tempered one who seems to really resent your arriving in his restaurant to the one I've had, and I am sure a lot of us have had, who sings to you, to the owner who's the sort of man who forms the restaurant, there is the jolly head-waiter and so on. There is a whole series of waiters that he plays, each sort of serving each couple, they do cross over, as five in one....
"He is a catalyst, really, I mean, chorus would be wrong. That suggests that he stands there and declaims to the audience. He links it all together in a funny way. Because it is always the same restaurant, at different times, different parts of the restaurant. In a way he links everything and he also is involved in the action. He is more than just a servant, he has a relationship - in the way waiters do.
"Aggi, one of the waiters, has a special relationship with the young couple. He gets very protective - like a guardian angel. He is the one who is always very pleased that he brought them together and he signals to them a lot and brings them special puddings and things. And then there is another one, Tuto, who looks after the older couple quite a lot, and finds himself at one point - when the wife has what amounts to a nervous breakdown over the sweet-trolley - and he has to console her for a little bit. So, in that sense they are involved."
(Extracts from an interview with Alan Ayckbourn taken from A Guided Tour Through Ayckbourn Country by Albert Reiner-Glaap)

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