Harold Pinter

In 2007, a revival of Harold Pinter’s play The Homecoming was presented in New York. John Lahr’s review of the play, accompanied by a profile of Pinter appeared in the December 24th/December 31st issue of The New Yorker.

Lahr discusses the uncertainty and ambiguity that usually characterizes Pinter’s plays and clarifies Pinter underlying rationale for expressing himself this way. The profile is interspersed with biographical details of Pinter’s life, including his often-voiced political convictions. Here are a few of the passages that I made note of in Lahr’s provocative review/profile

Before, I thought theatre was about the spoken; after I understood the eloquence of the unspoken.

…the play’s spectacular combination of mystery and rigor had taught me something new about life, about language, about the nature of dramatic storytelling.

The truth, in other words, is anybody’s guess. Meaning is what you make it.

The Homecoming is ultimately not about the house or the woman but about whose perception of reality will prevail.

What it has to do with is thought: what has just been said and how to respond to what has been said.

There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false.

What took place, what was the nature of what took place, what happened? Pinter’s play’s reenact this difficulty of knowing.

Harold didn’t want something that made a statement, because a statement was lacking in ambiguity.

“I am writing nothing and can write nothing,” he said …in 1970. “I don’t know why. It’s a very bad feeling, I know that, but I must say I want more than anything else to fill up a blank page again, and to feel that strange thing happen, birth through fingertips. When you can’t write, you feel you’ve been banished from yourself.

The sound, like that of a stone dropped into a well, registers the depth of the distance between them.

I still have quite a bit of ferocity knocking around. It’s how to embody it.

…his easy access to his own turbulent internal climate…

“The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them."