Friday, January 9, 2009

Goodnight, Mr. Pinter

There are some playwrights whose work I can't help but read out loud, when I'm reading them. Something about the rhythm and realness of the words. Edward Albee. Lanford Wilson. Sam Shepard. And absolutely Harold Pinter, who died over the Christmas holiday.

I was thinking about Harold Pinter on my way into work this morning. There are many tools at the playwright's disposal when she or he is scribbling away. Dialogue is just one tool. Sometimes I think it's even more important what the character's don't say. And certainly, I'm a huge proponent of action. What are they doing? Actions speak louder than words, and sometimes more honestly...

Pinter was awesome at allowing the audience to figure out things, as opposed to telling them things. I saw a performance of "Old Times" last year, with my friend Dorinne, and it took my breath away. What wasn't said. What was circled around (like predators and prey). The large meaning in small pauses, before someone answered. How an answer can mean something completely different if there's a pause in front of it.

I'm not an actor, but I'd rather like to try acting in a Pinter play, because I think I'd learn an enormous amount from trying to live inside one for the 10 weeks or so that it takes to rehearse and perform a show.


Goodnight, Mr. Pinter. And thank you for the plays.

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