25 December 2008

Zichrono Livracha: Harold Pinter, 1930-2008

Nobel laureate, and tremendously influential absurdist playwright, Harold Pinter passed on Wednesday. Perhaps someone should throw a Birthday Party.

I remember seeing The Birthday Party when I was in high school, and have been a fan of Pinter's work - and those who were influenced by him, including Tom Stoppard and David Mamet - ever since. It was his use of language, silence, and the nuance of spoken interaction, that enabled him to probe the depths of the human condition:
Pinter once said of language, "The speech we hear is an indication of that which we don't hear. It is a necessary avoidance, a violent, sly, and anguished or mocking smoke screen which keeps the other in its true place. When true silence falls we are left with echo but are nearer nakedness. One way of looking at speech is to say that it is a constant stratagem to cover nakedness."

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