Spotlight on Pinter 2, the second bill of the Pinter at the Pinter Season
| By Ephram Ryan
The second event of Pinter at the Pinter is a double bill featuring The Lover and The Collection, both of which were written in Pinter’s comedy of menace period. Read all about this dark theatrical genre, complete with a brief handy overview of these two sexually themed plays. The show is set to star David Suchet (Oppenheimer, Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Agatha Christie's Poirot) and John MacMillan (King Lear, Maleficent, The Dark Knight Rises).
The term “comedy of menace” was used to denote a play that used fear and menace as a comedic device. It is derived from the Theatre of the Absurd movement that was prevalent following the Second World War and is based on Existentialist philosopher Albert Camus’s 1942 essay, “The Myth of Sisyphus,” which proposed that human civilisation was absurd and served no purpose. The genre is, essentially, a pessimistic point of view on humanity where no clear connection to reality is made.
The first Pinter piece for this production is 1962’s The Lover, a one-act play that follows a sexually deviant married couple, Richard and Sarah, who are caught in a love triangle. This 'randy' dramedy is dripping in overt sexuality, taking the audience on a sensual joy ride through twists and turns full of erotic fantasy and cat-and-mouse foreplay before the plot reaches an existential climax.
Pinter’s The Lover was last seen in the West End for its 2008 production at the Comedy Theatre, at which time it was still considered 'gauche' to be open about one’s sexuality. Society was still going through a modest 'Twilight phase' before Fifty Shades of Grey broke the conservative mould and normalised sexual intercourse as an acceptable topic of discourse.
Following the first half of the production and a “Pinter Pause” interval, The Collection picks up and tells the story of two couples, a heterosexual couple (James and Stella) and an implicitly gay couple (Bill and Harry), who become entangled in a web of betrayal and succumb to the temptations of the swinging sixties. Bill and Stella learn the hard way that promiscuity has its price.
This double bill packed with two ‘absurd’ plays of Pinteresque erotica is bound (and gagged) to be a sure-fire gem for the Pinter at the Pinter season. For those of you who enjoyed last year’s sadomasochistic Venus in Fur, which starred Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer, then you certainly won’t want to miss Pinter at the Pinter's second production. It’s double the show, double the dirty drama.
The Lover/The Collection with David Suchet and John MacMillan premieres at the Harold Pinter Theatre on 13 September 2018 and will run until 20 October 2018. Be sure to book your tickets early to avoid disappointment! For more information on the Pinter at the Pinter, click here.
Purchase your tickets to The Lover/The Collection here.