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Harold Pinter, Comedian of Menace, Dead at 78

Harold Pinter, the funereal, extremely prolific, and acerbic author of the most excellent “The Birthday Party” and a well known master of “comedy’s of menace”, died today. He wrote screenplays, including for the films The Handmaids Tale.. very sci-fi. He’s one of the successfully political playwrights of the 1980s, an impossible era to be political in, and the 2000’s. His funeral was held at the Kensal Green Cemetery in London, UK:

“Harold Pinter’s family bade farewell to the late Nobel-prize winning playwright Wednesday at a simple, private funeral service — with arrangements directed by the writer himself, in advance.
Fellow thespians including actor Michael Gambon and dramatist Tom Stoppard joined some 50 guests gathered for the 15-minute ceremony in a London cemetery, a week after Pinter’s death from cancer on Christmas Eve.
His widow Lady Antonia Fraser led mourners at the Kensal Green Cemetery in northwest London, where Gambon read a passage from Pinter’s play “No Man’s Land” as requested by Pinter himself three months ago.” [via the AFP]

…and furthermore,

“Pinter’s dramas often involve strong conflicts among ambivalent characters fighting for verbal and territorial dominance and for their own remembered versions of the past; stylistically, they are marked by theatrical pauses and silences, comedic timing, provocative imagery, witty dialogue, ambiguity, irony, and menace. Thematically ambiguous, they raise complex issues of individual human identity oppressed by social forces, the power of language, and vicissitudes of memory. Although Pinter publicly eschewed applying the term “political theatre” to his own work in 1981, he began writing overtly political plays in the mid-1980s, reflecting his own heightening political interests and changes in his personal life.[5] This “new direction” in his work and his “Leftist” political activism stimulated additional critical debate about Pinter’s politics.[5] Pinter, his work, and his politics have been the subject of voluminous critical commentary.” [visit]

He even has an adverbial participle: Pinteresque. Pinteresque has been described by The Financial Times of London as: “…Full of dark hints and pregnant suggestions, with the audience left uncertain as to what to conclude.” They are so wrong, those FT’ers… the “Pinteresque” audience knows eaxctly how much unknowability to be uncertain about. Unlike others who just assume there wont be a worldwide financial depression anytime soon, or that theres nothing wrong with President Bush.


Below: Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party, post obituary, a scene with the manganimous Patrick Magee:



Harold Pinters Complete Works Vol I        Harold Pinter: The Handmaids Tale


December 25, 2008
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