The Norman Conquests: Frequently Asked Questions

Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist Simon Murgatroyd's answers some of the most frequently asked questions about Alan Ayckbourn's Drowning On Dry Land. If you have a question about this or any other of Alan Ayckbourn's plays, you can contact the website via the Contact Us page.

What happens at the end of the play?
Essentially, Charlie discovers the way to the top of the folly. Any more than that is really how each individual interprets the play. Whilst Charlie arriving at the summit of the tower is metaphorical is debatable, although it should not be directed as anything other than as written and treated as reality, and - again - open to the audience's interpretation. However, as the playwright states, the climax of the play is essentially a man who can achieves nothing managing to climb some stairs: "In the end all he accomplished, poor man, is climbing the stairs to nowhere, which more or less sums up his life."

What does the title of the play mean?
The actual title of the play is a quote from an old English proverb discovered by Alan: "Browsing through one of my dictionaries of quotations, I came across an old English proverb: 'It is folly to drown on dry land.' Heaven knows how old or English it is, but I liked it."

All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.