A “Pause” For His Passing

The theater world lost one of its brightest lights on Christmas Eve with the death of playwright Harold Pinter. The 78-year-old British Nobel Prize winner, whose best-known plays included “The Homecoming” and “The Birthday Party,” succumbed to cancer. Pinter’s careful language and long pauses were so distinctive that his style became an adjective, “Pinteresque.”

In recent years Pinter had dedicated himself to political activism, frequently turning his attention to the U.S. On the eve of the Iraq War, he called the George W. Bush administration a “monster out of control.” After the war began, Pinter said U.S. policies were “beyond reason” and compared them to those of Nazi Germany. His attacks alienated some who thought that great playwrights needn’t be politically outspoken.

But during his 2005 Nobel acceptance speech — too ill to travel, Pinter made it from home — he illuminated his decision to take a political stand:

“So language in art remains a highly ambiguous transaction, a quicksand, a trampoline, a frozen pool which might give way under you, the author, at any time.

But as I have said, the search for the truth can never stop. It cannot be adjourned, it cannot be postponed. It has to be faced, right there, on the spot.”



~ by eaesthete on 12/29/08.

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