HAROLD PINTER DIES
FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
This is the thing about life. You take the good with the bad. There is no choice in the matter. It’s wonderful to spend the holiday season celebrating with your loved ones.
Unfortunately, the world keeps on turning and we must adjust to circumstances beyond our control.
Regardless of how we feel.
It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to report these two news stories. But perhaps I can provide tributes (however inadequate) to these esteemed individuals’ respective memories.
So, in that particular spirit…
SIR HAROLD PINTER, praised as the most influential playwright of his generation – and a long time voice of political protest – died Christmas Eve, according to his second wife, LADY ANTONIA FRASER.
He was 78.
His distinctive contribution to the stage was recognized with the NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE in 2005.
“Mr. Pinter restored theatre to its basic elements: an enclosed space and unpredictable dialogue, where people are at the mercy of each other and pretence crumbles,” the NOBEL ACADEMY stated when it announced his award.
“With a minimum of plot, drama emerges from the power struggle and hide & seek of interlocution.”
The NOBEL PRIZE gave Mr. Pinter a global platform which he seized enthusiastically to denounce Bush and current prime minister TONY BLAIR.
Weakened by cancer and bandaged from a fall on slippery pavement, he seemed much older and very vulnerable when he emerged from his LONDON home to speak about his NOBEL PRIZE.
Though he had been looking forward to giving a NOBEL lecture – “the longest speech I will ever have made” – he first cancelled plans to attend the awards, then announced he would skip the lecture as well on his doctor’s advice.
He wrote 32 plays, one novel and 22 screenplays, including THE PUMPKIN EATER (1964), ACCIDENT (1967), THE LAST TYCOON (1976), THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT’S WOMAN (1981), the adaptation of his play BETRAYAL (1983) and the remake of SLEUTH (2007).
He admitted – and said that he deeply regretted – voting for Dame Thatcher in 1979 and TONY BLAIR in 1997.
Most prolific between 1957 and 1965, he relished the juxtaposition between brutality and the banal and turned the conversational pause into an emotional minefield. His characters’ internal fears and longings, their guilt and difficult sexual drives are set against the neat lives they have constructed in order to survive.
HAROLD PINTER once said of language, “The speech we hear is an indication of what we don’t hear. It is a necessary avoidance – a violent, sly and anguished or mocking smokescreen which keeps the other in its true place. When true silence falls, we are left with echo but are nearer nakedness. One way at looking at speech is to say that it is a constant stratagem to cover nakedness.”
His influence in the U.S. was felt in the plays of SAM SHEPARD and DAVID MAMET and throughout British literature.
“With his earliest work, he stood alone in British theatre up against the bewilderment and incomprehension of critics, the audience and writers too,” playwright TOM STOPPARD remarked when Mr. Pinter’s NOBEL PRIZE was announced.
“Not only has Harold Pinter written some of the outstanding plays of his time, he has also blown fresh air into the musty attic of conventional English literature, by insisting that everything he does has a public and political dimension,” added playwright DAVID HARE.
HAROLD PINTER was married to actor VIVIEN MERCHANT. In 1980, they divorced and he wed writer LADY ANTONIA FRASER the same year.
“It was a privilege to live with him for over 33 years,” said LADY FRASER.
“He will never be forgotten.”