Harold pinter was one of the most influential British playwrights of modern times. At the time of his death in 2008, he had achieved fame also as a screenwriter, actor, director, poet, author and political activist. He was the 2005 Nobel Laureate in Literature.
Involving strong conflicts among ambivalent characters, Pinter’s dramas are stylistically marked by theatrical pauses and silences, comedic timing, irony and menace. The ambiguity in his themes raises complex issues of individual identity oppressed by social forces, language and the vicissitudes of memory.
Why did you choose these Pinter’s plays?
Joan Nordlund: We chose Moonlight because it is one of Pinter’s later plays, because of the excellent dialogue and because of the mixture of emotions that it arouses. We also thought it would go well with A Slight Ache.
Bruce Marsland: A Slight Ache is an early work by Pinter and, as such, it is interesting to view it in relation to how we know Pinter’s work developed later, as in plays like Moonlight. The double-bill provides a rare opportunity to compare Pinter’s early and late work, and see how his approach to topics and theatricality may or may not have changed over the years.
How would you define the plays?
JN: Moonlight is a play about death and life and the space between, about relationships and families, memories and fantasies.
BM: A Slight Ache is largely about identity. It’s about how we define ourselves and what we use to define our view of others. It’s about an exploration of self through the exploration of the other – and it recognises all the potential trauma that lies on that path.
What can the audience expect from the performances?
JN: I think they will find the play moving, absurd and funny at times, disturbing and puzzling. Above all, I hope that they will be entertained.
BM: As often with The Finn-Brit Players, this is an opportunity to see English-language theatre performed with the original text. Pinter is not about comfort but I hope we can provide committed and challenging performances, and even topics to debate in the pub afterwards.
What are your directors’ statements?
JN: Directing Pinter is a joy and a challenge. Most of his plays, in my opinion, are best performed in small theatre spaces, in which the dividing line between the audience and the action is not necessarily clear cut.
BM: For me, theatre is about direct emotional and intellectual contact between the performers and the audience. Theatre should stir new ideas and challenge established concepts. I hope we can achieve that, at least in part, with this double-bill.
Susan Fourtané – HT
Fabien Rapin -Image