Taking Steps: Articles

This section features articles by Alan Ayckbourn and other authors on the play Taking Steps. Click a link in the right-hand column below to access the relevant article.

This article was drawn from correspondence written by Alan Ayckbourn and held in the Ayckbourn Archive in the Borthwick Institute for Archies at the University of York.

Thoughts on Taking Steps

Articles by Alan Ayckbourn

Introduction to Taking Steps
Taking Steps

Articles by Other Authors

No Dice in Barefoot Farce (Robin Herford)
The basis of the play: Innocence as opposed to corruption in the sense of the pursuance of one's own self-interest. You have Tristram and Kitty at the centre who are gentle, non-self interest seeking people who remain throughout the play totally innocent.

It's as if they don't speak the same language as the other character and the others, to a certain extent, don't understand them. It's perhaps no accident that Kitty is the only person who knows what Tristram is really talking about.

For the rest of the characters, they are merely living on the level they normally live at. Neither Crabbe nor Bainbridge would dream of going into the Post Office to buy a stamp without trying to negotiate a better price for it. If subsequently either of them could sell that same stamp to an old age pensioner at the back of the queue for a profit, they would do so. If asked, neither of then would consider this immoral either. Merely business. Crabbe is, of course, the bigger fish, if you'll pardon the pun and has a natural contempt for Bainbridge not particularly because Bainbridge is quite evidently trying to swindle him which he expects but because he is assuming that he, Crabbe, is stupid enough not to realise it.

Bainbridge's aim is to sell a white elephant in an appalling condition at the highest possible price.

Crabbe's aim is to purchase a white elephant for nothing, have it done up for virtually nothing and presumably at a later date, sell it at a vast profit.

All this is totally clear, I feel, providing the actors do not make the mistake of imbuing either Crabbe or Bainbridge with pleasant, sunny dispositions. They are deeply unpleasant men at root.

Elizabeth is likewise a deeply unpleasant woman. At the end of the play, she gets precisely what she deserves as does Mark who never for a second, like his sister, considers anyone but himself. They are, in the end, as self-seeking as Crabbe and Bainbridge. It is no accident that all four remain trapped inside the dark mansion whilst Kitty and Tristram escape to the sunlight. It is to be hoped that the house will eventually fall on them all.

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