on 16 April 2003
This is the story of three men. Mick is the proprietor of a shabby house in the country side. Aston-his brother-is always busy with something but never accomplishes anything. Finally there is Davies, some kind of a hobo, adopted by Aston who gives him a place to sleep and - after a while - asks him if he wants a job as caretaker. Davies is very reluctant and finds petty excuses to postpone the decision of becoming the caretaker.
What is the plot of this play? Everything stays the same, nothing will ever happen. It becomes clear that the three characters are stuck with each other (Pretty much like the characters of 'With closed doors' by J.P.Sartre.).
The most impressive part of the play is the monologue by Aston in which he tells how he was treated with electro shocks when he was a kid. This is one of the most gruesome parts I know in modern theatre.
I was discussing Pinter with a Pinter skeptic the other day, they saw him as a naked emperor, I find him very funny and entertaining and a huge influence. If my favourite of his later style is 'No Man's Land' this is the early play I most value. Of course the static quality is derived from Beckett, as is the pared-down language and use of silence as a definite presence. Two brothers. the go-getting proto-Thatcherite Aston, the slightly simple, ECT damaged Mick, find a disgusting tramp, Davies, in their shabby house in the country. The dirty, loquacious Davies is forever rabbiting on about his shoes, his woes, his everything and he seems to have a hold on the weak Mick. Over Aston he has less purchase and in the course of such action as there is, limpet-like he fights, his arguments as impressive as his apparel, for a place as Aston plans for HIS property development, at a time when much of London was starting to be rebuilt. Once asked what his plays were about, Pinter said "The weasel under the cocktail cabinet" which is to say he's not so much concerned with issues per se, his concern is with social dynamics, the why rather than the how. It's electric to see how his characters get on and instructive to observe people after you have seen these three in action, especially as enacted by Douglas Hodge, Rupert Graves or Michael Gambon, these three definite Pinter favourites. Great fun and highly influential.