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Everything You Need to Know About Pinter at the Pinter

10 July 2018 by TodayTix
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Harold Pinter (Photographed by Martin Rosenbaum)

The Harold Pinter Theatre is about to get even more Pinteresque, with Pinter at the Pinter, a full season of the eponymous playwright’s work from The Jamie Lloyd Theatre Company. The era-defining writer penned 29 plays over the course of his 50-year career, and 17 of those plays will be staged in rep as part of the landmark season, which coincides with the 10th anniversary of Pinter’s death.

Director Jamie Lloyd, who is at the helm of many of the productions, has been heralded as a major Pinter interpreter. He directed “The Caretaker” at the Sheffield Crucible in 2006, and he also directed “The Hothouse” in 2013 and “The Homecoming” in 2016 at Trafalgar Studios. So he’s bringing some serious mettle to this season

Never been to a Pinter play and are curious what to expect from the season? Are you a huge Pinter fan and looking to learn more? Check out our handy guide to Pinter at the Pinter, and make sure to get your tickets now from £18.

1. Pinter’s friends are part of the season
The people involved with the season are some of Pinter’s closest colleagues and most trusted interpreters. Pinter’s collaborator and friend Patrick Marber directs Pinter’s first play “The Room,” in rep with “Victoria Station” and “Family Voices,” Dec. 13, 2018 – Jan. 26 2019.

2. Get ready for the Pinter pause.
If you’ve ever been sitting with a friend — or even with a large group — and a sudden silence speaks louder than words, you might call that moment “Pinteresque.” The playwright became famous for his use of pauses. Look out for these dramatic moments of tension in all of the works in the season.

3. Pinter was a political activist.
Pinter saw his role as a writer as a critic of the abuse of human rights and apparent invulnerability of power. (Sound familiar?) Directed by Lloyd and Lia Williams, four of Pinter’s most ardent political masterpieces — “One for the Road,” “The New World Order,” “Mountain Language,” and “Ashes to Ashes” — will open the season, Sept. 6-Oct. 20, in rep. “One for the Road” follows a government official questioning a dissident and his family, while “The New World Order” explores what happens when abuse of power becomes a means to freedom and democracy. “Mountain Language” centers on a group of captives, who must find a new shared way to communicate, after their language has been barred by the state, and “Ashes to Ashes” is set in a living room, where a couple’s life is infiltrated by a nightmare.

4. It’s not all about the drama.
Despite his bigger works like “Betrayal” and “The Birthday Party” boasting heavy plots, Pinter actually had a comedic hand as well. Two of his miniature comedic masterpieces from the 1960s, “The Lover” and “The Collection,” will be a part of this landmark season in productions directed by Lloyd, running Sept. 13-Oct. 20. Starring John Macmillan and David Suchet, the plays follow the sexual politics of couples. Lloyd also takes on two more comedies, “A Slight Ache” and “The Dumb Waiter,” as the final shows of the season. Danny Dyer and Martin Freeman star in this plays, which Pinter wrote in the late 1950s.

5. Welcome to the world of the memory play.
Pinter was known for the “memory play,” i.e. the work is characterized by the sometimes fleeting nature of a person’s memory. He mainly wrote in this style from the late ‘60s to the early ‘80s, and two works from this period — “Landscape” and “A Kind of Alaska” — are part of the season, running Oct. 25-Dec. 8. In “Landscape,” a woman is trapped inside a beautiful memory while he husband looks on from the outside, and in “A Kind of Alaska,” a woman wakes up from a 29-year sleep suspended between the conscious and unconscious worlds. Lloyd directs.

6. Lloyd isn’t the only director in the season.
In addition to Marber and Williams, directors Lyndsey Turner and Ed Stambollouian will bring Pinter’s “Night School” and “Moonlight” to the stage Nov. 1-Dec. 8. Turner takes on “Moonlight,” which is set in a dying father’s bedroom as the past starts to haunt him. Stambollouian directs “Night School,” which follows an East End criminal in 1960s London who comes home to a young woman with a secret.

7. Pinter’s life ended with a party
The playwright’s last play, “Celebration,” was a hilarious and scathing examination of London’s nouveau riche, and it will play in rep with the apty named “Party Time,” which explores similar themes. Lloyd will direct both plays in rep Dec. 20, 2018-January 26, 2019.

Still looking for more information? Check out our handy guide to Harold Pinter.