* 1st page: Pinter: Homecoming (directing, Fall 2oo6 -- moved)
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Stage Directing Theory
Directing Theory: pre-text, text and super-text = playscript + spectacle + public
Mamet Page

"Stage set for 'kitchen dramas'"... Sounds of street, traffic.

"Humans and Other Animals"... klan, gang, pack, why they are together ("family" -- "blood knots," "blood line")...

Family (THEMES):

Gender : "sex" came with this Generation (children of WWII). "Young angry men" -- not just "Fathers & Sons", against "mothers", nation, life. + "Men without Women"!

"She" is the only center, woman. Like in pre-history.

Low "class" -- the majority. No more Hamlets, only grave-diggers.

Songs, radio, movies = their poetry. Bear = their drink.

Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini -- their leaders. Here is the borderline between History and Postmodern.

Pinter Project

Fine Art, photography images: vermeer = color, light

old newspapers, nothing is thrown out.

radio is on?

small lamps everywhere, dark. A cave. Fireplace (in the middle) under the glass coffee table. And -- red dinner lamp shade above.

depth of space, the rooms are way back, door frames (perspective), light comes from both sides. What is behind the last door?

Where is the door outside?

My Shows

Pinter'0? + Mamet'06
Chekhov/Realism and Pinter = The Angry Theatre: New British Drama by John Russell Taylor; Hill and Wang, 1962

Harold Pinter and the New British Theatre by D. Keith Peacock; Greenwood Press, 1997 - 1: A Theatre Hermetically Sealed - NOTES - 2: Harold Pinter, Poet, Novelist, and Actor - NOTES - NOTES - 4: Comedies of Menace and the Pinteresque - NOTES - 5: Caught in the Past: The Memory Plays and After - NOTES - 6: Pinter and Politics - NOTES - 7: Past and Future - NOTES - Appendix: Pinter on Radio, Television, and Film

"Northen Mind": Bergman, Tarkovsky, but COMEDY! Dark, but not satire? Stern -- tradition. Swift? ...

Pinter timeline BBC


bbc.co.uk/arts * Profiles of Harold Pinter and other major writers

Pinter did what Auden said a poet should do. He cleaned the gutters of the English language, so that it ever afterwards flowed more easily and more cleanly. We can also say that over his work and over his person hovers a sort of leonine, predatory spirit which is all the more powerful for being held under in a rigid discipline of form, or in a black suit...The essence of his singular appeal is that you sit down to every play he writes in certain expectation of the unexpected. In sum, this tribute from one writer to another: you never know what the hell's coming next."
David Hare in Harold Pinter: A Celebration * Faber and Faber 2000 (p 21)

We are PLAYING Pinter (British, 50 years ago)!

Peter Hall, UK/US 1973 Sunday 27 October 10pm-11.50pm

Harold Pinter wrote The Homecoming in 1964 and Peter Hall directed it at the Aldwych Theatre the following year. The idea of filming The Homecoming was conceived by the American Film Theatre, whereby a series of productions were commissioned, filmed, screened for a limited run and the prints then destroyed.

It was an attempt to capture the spontaneity of theatre audiences, allowing only a select few to truly experience the work, although luckily, some of the prints escaped their final intentions.

Set in a North London terrace The Homecoming centres on the suffocating relationship of tyrannical father Max (Paul Rogers), his sons Lenny (Ian Holm) and Joey (Terrence Rigby) and his brother Sam (Cyril Cusack). The rancorous family unit is temporarily wrong footed with the arrival of eldest son Teddy (Michael Jayston), visiting from America with his wife Ruth (Vivien Merchant). As smoldering grudges and hostilities violently erupt, the family's past dysfunctions emerge kicking and screaming into the present, heightened by the specter of their dead mother.

Peter Hall took great care to preserve the ambiance of the original production. The Aldwych set was described by Penelope Gilliatt in The Observer as "...in monotone greys, the colours of mashed newspapers and cigarette ash and old socks" and so it remains here. Hall's wonderfully unobtrusive direction beholds the true nastiness of the situation, executed by every member of this superb cast with dynamite impact.

Not without its gallows humour, derived from the barrage of outrageous insults, the overall effect is compulsively bleak, as described at the time by Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times, "The pauses are pregnant with doubt, fear, triumph, pain, retreat and nasty calculation. The words they employ are either banalities or the acid-tipped darts of family warfare. Each man seems unable to keep his own identity without shredding the egos of all the others in the house…The homecoming shakes up the pecking order and sets off a new scramble for places."

Beware the sensitive, this is Pinter at his best.

Clare Norton-Smith
Pinter at the BBC homepage

David Mainwood
When Harold Pinter acts in his own plays, particularly his more explicitly political plays, he almost invariably plays the character of the monster, the interrogator, the tormentor, the character that he and the audience has least sympathy with. Is there a reason for this, and how far do you think that, as an actor, he comes to inhabiting these roles?

Michael Billington
Intriguing question. I think it applies quite specifically to One for the Road where Pinter famously played the interrogator, but he also has played Goldberg in The Birthday Party. I think it's because there's a lot of juice in the writing. Pinter realises that if you're going to write a play about victimisation and interrogation, you have to give the leading character not only a rich personality but also a level of complexity. I would offer you the example of the recent One for the Road. I don't know whether you saw that on BBC Four, but there's a superb moment where Pinter is seen for about a minute as the interrogator Nicholas before the victims arrive, sitting alone in a room, with his head in his hands, not speaking. And it was as if Pinter was trying to explain to us that even people in positions of authority and power over others are themselves riddled with some kind of inner doubt and uncertainty about what they are doing. That is why Pinter likes to play these roles, because they're complex human beings. *

Ursula Bingham, Sittingbourne, Kent:
Which of Pinter's works do you consider to be the worst and which to be the best and why?

Michael Billington:
The best for me is The Homecoming in 1965, simply because it covers so much. The family as a jungle, sexual tension, the idea that we never fully disclose ourselves to other people. It's rich in themes and I've seen it played many times and it always delights. It's barbaric and it's comic, and it's tragic and it's brilliant. *


Pinter's plays obviously belong to their era, The Birthday Party is of the late 1950s, The Caretaker and The Homecoming belong to the 1960s and there are references to that world. And yet his plays make total sense when they're revived nearly 50 years later. I don't see any contradiction or paradox in this. I think all plays operate on two levels. They are both expressions of the time in which they are written and they're expressions of eternal truths in human behaviour and that applies any first rate writer. So I don't think Pinter's plays will date in the sense you mean. I think they will be available down the decades because they're dealing with qualities in human life, particularly insecurity, uncertainty, fear and terror that remain permanent.

... Adrian Fear, London:
In the pantheon of great British playwrights where would you place Pinter and why?

Michael Billington:
I don't compile lists of playwrights in batting order. You have to start with Shakespeare out in front anyway and the rest following on a distance behind which I think Pinter would be the first to acknowledge. I would rate Pinter highly as one of the great 20th-century playwrights not just in Britain but everywhere else for several reasons. He helped redefine the nature of theatre. He demolished an idea of the omniscient author. What Pinter did was to show that the dramatist is someone who can present exciting evidence and then leave it to the audience to deduce what that evidence actually means. Secondly, I think, Pinter did revolutionise speech in British theatre and language. Before Pinter there was something called poetry and there was something called prose. Poetry was always heightened and rather flowery and occupied so many words per line and prose was rather drab and flat. Pinter's fantastic achievement, I think, was to create a prose poetry of his own and to take the ordinary speech of everyday and bring out its poetic quality, its rhythms, its repetitions, its hesitations, its sudden flowerings into ecstatic speech.

I suppose thirdly what Pinter did, was to create archetypal characters on stage. Figures like Davies the tramp in The Caretaker or Max, the bullying patriarch, in The Homecoming embody something much larger themselves. Davies becomes an archetype for a man who is both persecuted and a persecutor and Max becomes a prototype of the head of the household who is riddled with sexual and emotional insecurity. He creates huge characters on the stage. I would simply say his work will live on whether he occupies number five or number seven in the batting order.

from THR413:

Harold Pinter: The Homecoming (in Modern Drama)


MAX, a man of seventy

SAM, a man of sixty-three

[young actors to play]

mother [ghost, no words]