The renowned British playwright, Harold Pinter, has died. The announcement was made by his wife, the biographer Lady Antonia Fraser.
Pinter on language — no one was better at exploring its obfuscation and its capacity for deflection, at mining the reefs and shoals of ordinary conversation.
He once said: “The speech we hear is an indication of that which we don’t hear. It is a necessary avoidance, a violent, sly, and anguished or mocking smoke screen which keeps the other in its true place. When true silence falls we are left with echo but are nearer nakedness. One way of looking at speech is to say that it is a constant stratagem to cover nakedness.”
His influence on the theatre world was enormous. Without Pinter, there would be no David Mamet, no Sam Shepard. Read “The Birthday Party” (brilliant, brilliant — and, a young man’s play: Pinter wrote it when he was only 28) or “The Homecoming.” Then, watch a Sam Shepard play, either “Buried Child” (which self first saw before son was born, at The Magic Theatre in Fort Mason — Shepard’s spiritual home) or “Curse of the Starving Class”, staged just this fall by ACT (with, by the way, a smashing set design by the Obie and Tony-winning Filipino set designer and director Loy Arcenas).
Or watch David Mamet’s “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Heck, watch a Coen brothers movie!
Language and its violence were his true subjects.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.