in: HAROLD PINTER: Stages, Networks, Collaborations, Basil Chiasson and Catriona Fallow, Editor, Methuen, London , London, pp.88-104, 2021
This important book offers a thematic collection of critical essays, ideal for undergraduate courses on modern British theatre, on Harold Pinter's theatrical works, alongside new interviews with contemporary theatre practitioners.
The life and works of Harold Pinter (1930–2008), a pivotal figure in British theatre, have been widely discussed, debated and celebrated internationally. For over five decades, Pinter's work traversed and redefined various forms and genres, constantly in dialogue with, and often impacting the work of, other writers, artists and activists.
Combining a reconsideration of key Pinter scholarship with new contexts, voices and theoretical approaches, this book opens up fresh insights into the author's work, politics, collaborations and his enduring status as one of the world's foremost dramatists.
Three sections re-contextualize Pinter as a cultural figure; explore and interrogate his influence on contemporary British playwriting; and offer a series of original interviews with theatre-makers engaging in the staging of Pinter's work today. Reconsiderations of Pinter's relationship to literary and theatrical movements such as Modernism and the Theatre of the Absurd; interrogations of the role of class, elitism and religious and cultural identity sit alongside chapters on Pinter's personal politics, specifically in relation to the Middle East.
Part One: (Re)situating Pinter, Critical Orientations
1 Pinter's Modernism(s) Revisited: A Drama Reliant upon Prose
Basil Chiasson (Western University, Canada)
2 The Theatre of the Absurd as Professional Network in Harold Pinter's Early Career
Harry Derbyshire (University of Greenwich, UK)
3 The Elite Pinter and the Pinter Elite
James Hudson (University of Lincoln, UK)
4 'Too Much of a Modern?' Pinter's Jewishness
Eckart Voigts (TU Braunschweig, Germany)
5 Pinter's Connections with the Middle East
Ibrahim Yerebakan (Recep Tayyip Erdogan University, Turkey)
Part Two: Pinter as Playwright, Playwrights and Pinter
6 'An insistence in my mind': Pinter's Writing Ethic
Steve Waters (University of East Anglia, UK)
7 Beyond the Mainstage: Harold Pinter at the Royal Shakespeare Company
Catriona Fallow (Queen Mary University of London, UK)
8 Theatre's Dark Matter: Pinter's 'Staging' of Systemic Violence and its Influence in Contemporary British Theatre
Alex Watson (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)
9 Faith, Telos and Failure: Pinter, Butterworth, Kelly
David Pattie (University of Birmingham, UK)
10 The Crimpesque: Pinter's Legacy in the Theatre of Martin Crimp
Maria Elena Capitani (University of Parma, Italy)
Part Three: Conversations with Collaborators
“I really like the way the different strands are woven together : reconsideration of Pinter's status, biographical (including his Jewishness) and political factors, his relationship with the theatre of his time and his position within the major trends of 20th century European theatre. The presence of a practising British playwright within the contributors thinking about Pinter's working methods is very interesting as is the commentary on Pinter's influence on contemporary playwrights such as Martin Crimp, Dennis Kelly, Jez Butterworth. The final section of proposed interviews will tap into the current revival of interest in Pinter production – the 2018 Bristol Old Vic all-black actors production of The Caretaker and the current high-profile and critically acclaimed season of plays presented at the Pinter Theatre in London are just two examples.” – Professor Claire Cochrane, University of Worcester, UK
“This fascinating collection of essays and interviews breaks new ground in Pinter studies. Offering fresh perspectives from leading scholars and theatre practitioners – on Pinter's plays, the theatrical and institutional contexts that shaped his career, and the extraordinary influence and legacy of his drama – this is a major reassessment of Pinter the playwright, collaborator, and cultural icon.” – Chris Megson, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
“An essential, up-to-date collection of kaleidoscopic perceptions of Pinter's work. Ranging from past to future, this rich collection encompasses varying scholarly views – revisiting Pinter's drama in different contexts or examining his influence on subsequent playwrights – and concludes with the perspectives of innovative Pinter collaborators, who also chart new approaches for future productions. ” – Yael Zarhy-Levo, Tel Aviv University, Israel
“The Oxford English Dictionary records the use of the adjective Pinteresque as early as 1960, when only three years after his dramatic debut Harold Pinter was already being monumentalized. Against the myth of the sui generis artist, this book offers a competing view. Surveying the landscape of Pinter's idols, peers, and heirs – and of the global networks, cultural institutions, and material practices that made him – Chiasson, Fallow and their collaborators reveal the fertile soil in which a legacy could take root.” – R. Darren Gobert, Duke University, USA