Hero's Welcome: Articles by Alan Ayckbourn

Preface to Alan Ayckbourn: Plays 6
Many of the characters in Hero's Welcome, are concerned with the past. It is in one sense a play about what happened or what didn't happen. Truth in this instance is elusive. The audience would be advised to take nothing any of the characters says in this particular play as gospel, not even the apparently straightforward and guileless hero himself, Murray.

I chose as a main theme the subject of male rivalry, a topic I briefly touched on in a much earlier play,
Time and Time Again. In Hero's Welcome, this alpha competitiveness between the men is the driving force of the drama. Years before, Brad, a spoilt, wealthy kid with all the best toys constantly competed with his childhood friend, the less well-to-do Murray. They challenged each other in all things laddish, be it sport, foolish dares, fast cars or, inevitably, women. With the departure of Murray in disgrace, their rivalry in the intervening years has naturally died down. But with the soldier's return, Murray, a much decorated national hero, his beautiful young bride, Baba, in tow, the personal battle between the two men is instantly reignited.

I doubt I have ever written a more overtly translucent and heroic figure than Murray or a more unscrupulous and devious one than Brad, but as I said beware of taking anything at face value. In this play the heroes become victims while the apparent victims and underdogs, surprisingly, take on the mantle of heroes.

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