The Revengers' Comedies: Character Notes by Alan AyckbournThe following article illustrates Alan Ayckbourn's thoughts on the character of Karen Knightly in response to an enquiry in 1989 about the character in performance.
Karen Knightly is far too complex to give any simple key to her personality.
She is a child in an adults' world. Probably neglected by her parents. Certainly spoilt.
With the collapse of any generally recognised moral consensus - certainly in this country - most of us make up the rules to suit ourselves. Put six strangers in a room and question them as to their moral beliefs and you will find them alarmingly diverse. Many will justify theft under certain circumstances. A few will even excuse murder. Karen merely combined her own code of ethics with her already alarming (nearly autistic) emotional isolation, creating a very dangerous personality.
Personally, I remain very fond of her - as did the actress who played her. We neither of us condoned all her actions of course but we loved her for her fun and her sheer zest for living. Let's face it, most of us would love to take a kick at the odd Bruce Tick occasionally. Karen just went a bit too far, that's all. Take comfort from the fact that, pure evil or not, the only people actually brought down by Karen Knightly were the ones susceptible to her whisperings, those with the seeds of their own destruction already in them. Henry and Imogen, basically good people, escape.
Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn. Please do not reproduce without permission of Alan Ayckbourn.