"Alan Ayckbourn is probably the most successful in-his-own-lifetime playwright there has ever been. In 1973 he had five plays running concurrently in the West End, British theater's commercial heartland, and four plays on Broadway - New York has even renamed a street Ayckbourn Alley. He has won numerous awards for his plays - including Absurd Person Singular, The Norman Conquests, Just Between Ourselves, A Chorus of Disapproval and Communicating Doors - and has worked with some of theater's most celebrated names - Jane Asher, Richard Briers, Michael Gambon, Julia McKenzie, Penelope Keith, Peter Hall. Renowned from London to New York to Tokyo, he was knighted in 1997 for his services to the theater. Yet he spends most of his time away from the limelight in a Yorkshire seaside town not writing at all but running a small repertory theater." "In this biography Paul Allen explores Ayckbourn's family background, looking at his unsettled and sometimes solitary childhood. There follows a hasty first marriage, the often farcical life of a frustrated young actor, and the setbacks and false dawns endured by the novice writer before he became the great comic hit-maker of the 1970s. Audiences since have been literally falling into the aisles with laughter, even as they register the seriousness of his preoccupation with mans inhumanity to woman. With the first-hand testimony of scores of colleagues who have worked with Ayckbourn at length in Scarborough as well as the more celebrated London collaborators, Allen traces the development of his more savagely comic critique of public life in the 1980s and 90s."--BOOK JACKET.