To mark the tenth anniversary of the death of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter, a group of London production companies are mounting something that has never been done before – a season that includes all 20 of Pinter’s one-act plays. Where will they be performed? Where else? At the Harold Pinter Theatre.
The Pinter Theatre’s artistic director Jamie Lloyd, who will personally be directing five of the plays, says: “This season is an extraordinary opportunity to celebrate the legacy of an icon. Harold Pinter revolutionised international theatre and the political force of his words feels more vital than ever.”
The groups involved in producing Pinter at the Pinter include the Jamie Lloyd Company, Ambassador Theatre Group, Benjamin Lowy Productions, Gavin Kalin Productions, and Glass Half Full Productions.
Besides Jamie Lloyd, directors for this season include Patrick Marber, Lyndsey Turner, Ed Stambollouian, and Lia Williams.
Now check out this casting: Ron Cook, Danny Dyer, Martin Freeman, Tamsin Greig, Jane Horrocks, Celia Imrie, John Macmillan, Emma Naomi, Tracy Ann Oberman, Abraham Popoola, David Suchet and Nicholas Woodeson (among others).
Many of the cast and creatives involved in this season were Harold Pinter’s personal friends and collaborators, which makes Pinter at the Pinter all the more relevant, immediate, and exciting.
Which plays to see?
For this season, Pinter’s plays have been paired up into double bills, which means you can see two or more plays in one program. But with so many to choose from, how do you narrow it down? Assuming you’re not an over-the-top Harold Pinter fan who’s just going to buy tickets for every single program (though you could do that), here are a few we’d recommend….
The Lover / The Collection
Jamie Lloyd has been hailed by the Financial Times as a “major Pinter interpreter,” so you’ve got to see at least one Pinter play he’s directing. And it would be hard to do better than this double bill for two of Pinter’s comedic masterpieces. Sir Laurence Olivier regarded The Collection as one of the outstanding plays of the 20th century. Plus, you’ll get the chance to see David Suchet and John MacMillan, who feature in these two pieces. Suchet has actually worked under Pinter’s direction; he starred in Pinter’s production of Mamet’s Oleanna. So who better to bring some of Pinter’s finest comedy to life?
Moonlight / Night School
Richly funny and emotionally raw (at the same time), Moonlight explores the brutality of family life and the subjective quality of memory, as the past haunts the dark and lonely recesses of a dying father’s bedroom. Directing this play is Olivier Award-winner Lyndsey Turner, famous for her productions with the National Theatre (including Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch), the Royal Shakespeare Company, and various shows in the West End and Broadway.
A Slight Ache / The Dumb Waiter
Another Jamie Lloyd production is this program starring – wait for it – Danny Dyer (EastEnders) and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Sherlock). What more do you need to know? This double bill culminates the Pinter at Pinter season, and you know people always save the best for last. Both written in the late 1950s, A Slight Ache and The Dumb Waiter are brilliant comedies exploring the political machinations of the powerful and the powerless. One features a mysterious stranger, the other two hit-men searching for meaning as they await their next job.
And that’s only a taste of all the plays lined up for this exciting season at the Pinter! In other bills which we haven’t mentioned, you can find Pinter collaborators like Patrick Marber and Lia Williams, not to mention incredible actors and a slew of talented directors.
Just take it from producer Emily Vaughan-Barratt (ATG and The Jamie Lloyd Company):
“Having produced The Hothouse and The Homecoming with The Jamie Lloyd Company, it’s fantastic to be working with so many artists whose careers were directly affected by the great playwright himself. Danny Dyer holds dear his relationship with Harold, which started when they worked together on the playwright’s final play, Celebration; Patrick Marber directed the 40th anniversary production of The Caretaker; Celia Imrie has fond memories of playing Miss Cutts alongside Harold’s Roote in The Hothouse; Lia Williams and Nicholas Woodeson are long-term Pinter collaborators – indeed, Lia starred in Harold’s production of Mamet’s Oleanna, alongside David Suchet.”
And complete casting hasn’t even been announced yet!
For more information about each bill and how to buy tickets, head on over to our Pinter at the Pinter page. (Now that’s a mouthful!)