The Playgoer: Pinter update

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Pinter update

As the Times reports today (and Webloge graciously posted in a comment here to yesterday's Pinter story) Harold Pinter is indeed far from done with theatre. Get this: Harold Pinter, now battling with what seems a quite serious case of cancer of the esophogous, will perform Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape. This is the play, remember, where a silent(or mostly silent?) ageing man onstage looks, or listens, back on his life by playing a series of old recordings of himself. I suppose the play's use of tape recordings makes the acting job feasible for the reportedly weak-voiced Pinter. Not that anyone expects feelings from Beckett, but this sounds already like an incredibly moving production of the piece. (Not that the playwright--either one!--would want that, of course.)

It will be part of the Royal Court's 50th Anniversary Season. Also slated: a new Tom Stoppard (stiffing the National? or did he get stiffed?); The Seagull by way of Christopher Hampton (is there a living English playwright who hasn't done a Seagull???*) a revival of Churchill's Cloud 9, and a revival of the play that started it all Look Back in Anger. (If anyone can rescue the reputation of that now-tepid curiosity, it's the Court, one would imagine.) Plus readings of other selected highlights of their prodigious and prestigious repertoire of premieres.

*The same could be said with big American playwrights and Three Sisters (Mamet, L. Wilson, now Craig Lucas, etc). Has Chekhov adaptation become some new rite-of-passage into "respectability"? And do we really need yet another approximated contemporary paraphrase of someone else's literal translation? (Lanford Wilson did learn Russian at least, god bless him.) I'm all for new english versions of foreign classics, but do we really need to keep reinventing the wheel on the same four plays! Basically, we have plenty of selection now in the Chekhov department. Time for a moratorium, I think.

2 comments:

George Hunka said...

Not that anyone expects feelings from Beckett, but this sounds already like an incredibly moving production of the piece. (Not that the playwright--either one!--would want that, of course.)

Beg pardon? Beckett and Pinter both have produced extraordinarily moving plays and novels. Complex, sure, but deeply moving and emotionally powerful, and I don't think either of them would deny that those are the experiences they intended to provide.

Unless I'm reading you wrong, in which case, sorry.

The Playgoer said...

Fair point, George. I suppose my tongue was not firmly enough in my cheek when I typed that...Though I do wonder if either writer would even allow for someone to interpret their work as even "bittersweet", which is my first response to Pinter's "Krapp." (Not to be confused with Pinter's Crap, which many will no doubt decry today after the news of the Nobel...)