The Pinter at The Pinter season is an unprecedented prospect. Though Pinter's work on stage and screen has defined and shaped modern British theatre, pioneering absurdism, banality and long, drawn out pauses, his single act plays are rarely performed, and have never been produced all together.
The season will introduce a new generation to mini-masterpieces such as The Dumb Waiter and lesser-known works including Pinter's first play The Room. 'Presenting all of Harold’s one-act plays is a great adventure,' says his widow Antonia Fraser. 'It’s never been done before and I am deeply excited at the prospect of seeing them all together in one season.'
The ambitious season is a co-production from The Jamie Lloyd Company, Ambassador Theatre Group, Benjamin Lowy Productions, Gavin Kalin Productions and Glass Half Full Productions, and many of the creatives involved were Pinter's friends and colleagues.
The twenty short shows will be split into groups, and performed in repertoire from September to February. Tickets range from £15 per show to the premium option of top tier seats for the whole season at £420.
David Suchet, Celia Imrie and Martin Freeman all star in Pinter at the Pinter season
One for The Road, The New World Order, Mountain Language, Ashes to Ashes and A Pres and an Officer
6 September - 20 October 2018
Jamie Lloyd directs three of Pinter's most alarming and unsettling political plays - and a the world premiere of newly discovered satirical sketch The Pres and an Officer. Discovered Pinter's widow Lady Antonia Fraser, the short work is a timely takedown of the Presidency. The role of president will be performed by a variety of guest stars.
One for The Road is a frightening study of torture, as a ruthless officer launches into an interrogation.
The same themes play out in The New World Order, which explores the relationship between brutality and democracy. And Mountain Language revolves around a group of prisoners attempting to communicate after their share language is banned.
The final show of the evening will be directed by actor and long-time Pinter collaborator Lia Williams. Ashes to Ashes brings a disturbing nightmare into the cosy domesticity of one couple's sitting room.
This triple bill boasts an impressed array of actors, including Antony Sher making his Pinter debut. He enthuses: 'I've always longed to be in a Pinter play... And what a play this is. One for The Road shows Pinter at the height of his powers'. Sher will be joined by Paapa Essiedu and Maggie Steed.
The Lover and The Collection
13 September – 20 October 2018
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Jamie Lloyd shifts from politcis to domestic comedy as he directs a pair of plays exploring lies, secrets and seduction. The Lover casts an average suburban couple into very stranges circumstances. The Collections, which Laurence Olivier himself praised as one of the best plays of the 20th Century, shows two couples aligned by sexual desire and power struggles.
The cast includes stage and screen stars David Suchet (Poirot), John Macmillan (Hanna; The Dark Knight Rises), BAFTA-nominee Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake) and Russell Tovey (Angels in America, National Theatre).
Landscape, A Kind of Alaska and Tess
Thursday 25 October – Saturday 8 December 2018
Tamsin Greig (Green Wing; Twelfth Night, National Theatre) stars in a double act exploring lonlieness and memory. In Landscape, she plays a woman who shuts away her husband in favour of her own inner world. And in A Kind of Alaska she plays a woman trapped between waking and dreaming after a twenty-nine year sleep. She is joined by stage legend Keith Allen.
And for 12 special guest performances from 19th November, close friend and long-term Pinter collaborator Penelope Wilton will perform Tess, the witty monologue written for her by Pinter.
Jamie Lloyd directs.
Moonlight and Night School
1 November - 8 December 2018
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Olivier-winning director Lyndsey Turner turns her talents to the slippery nature of the past. Moonlight is a raw, bleakly funny play about the memories that haunt a dying father. Then, inventive young director Ed Stambollouian takes us to the seedy nightclubs and scruffy boarding houses of 1960s London with Night School, which follows an East End criminal returning from prison to discover his room is now occupied by a secretive stranger.
Jessica Barden, who fizzed with freshness in Netflix hit End of the F**king World leads the cast.
The Room, Family Voices and Victoria Station
13 December 2018 - 26 January 2019
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Having directed the 40th anniversary production of The Caretaker, Patrick Marber worked alongside the playwright, striking up a working relationship and friendship. Now Marber leads a triple bill of strained comedies starring Jane Horrocks (Ab Fab, Little Voice).
The Room, which was Pinter's first play, introduces us to the odd, uneasy, murkily funny worlds for which he became renowned. Then Victoria Station and Family Voices explore the limitations and failures of our attempts to communicate and connect.
Party Time and Celebration
20 December 2018 - 26 January 2019
Ron Cook, Celia Imrie and Tracy Ann Oberman lead an all-star cast for a pair of plays centering around the pretensions of the monied classes. Party Time is a barbed attack of society's elites, set against a backdrop of government repression.
Celebration, the final play Pinter wrote, is a sprightly comedy about the vulgarity and ostentation of the nouveau riche. Jamie Lloyd directs both comedies.
A Slight Ache and The Dumb Waiter
31 January - 23 February 2019
The Pinter at The Pinter season ends with two comedies that are as powerful today as when first written in the late 50s. Star power comes courtesy of Martin Freeman and Danny Dyer, who is a voiciferous fan and friend of Pinter's after working alongside him a production of Celebration.
In A Slight Ache an enigmatic figure arrives into Flora and Edward's lives, changing them indelibly. And in The Dumb Waiter we watch as two hit-men lurk in a derelict building, idly chatting as they await their next job. The titular dumb waiter watches from the background.
|What||Pinter at The Pinter season, London|
|Where||Harold Pinter Theatre, Panton Street, London, SW1Y 4DN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Charing Cross (underground)|
06 Sep 18 – 23 Feb 19, Times vary
|Price||£15 - £65|
|Website||Click here for more information and tickets|