Director’s Note: THE NORMAN CONQUESTS
THE NORMAN CONQUESTS are about relationships and the fraught, funny, sad, sometimes preposterous way husbands and wives act and react with each other. The trilogy looks at a desperate weekend in which the family is thrown together. Even though the plays were written in 1973 and set in Britain, their universal and timeless themes are still very much relevant to today. We are still trying to work out who we are in relation to gender, family, love, sex and belonging. The characters’ interaction is funny because we recognise ourselves. Society may have changed the way it reacts to certain gender politics but the rift between partners and the desperation of trying to make things work within a family is still exactly the same. Each play stands alone and you get a full story with no compromise in writing or plot. Alan Ayckbourn’s brilliance is in his clever plotting within each play and if you see all three you will see why I use the word genius when describing the trilogy. It is breathtaking, simple storytelling that happens to be extremely entertaining. The plays are wonderful when seen individually but really pay off when seen all together, in any order. You hear people laugh at a moment in the living room because they saw the moment before, with different detail, in the dining room. It’s extraordinarily clever. And I’m thrilled to be staging such a remarkable feat of writing particularly with this incredible cast.