Harold Pinter has had a long association with the Almeida Theatre; seven of his plays have been staged here, three of these as world premieres:
Betrayal - 1991
Party Time - premiere - 1991
No Man's Land - 1993
Moonlight - premiere - 1993
Celebration (premiere)/The Room - 2000
The Homecoming - 2008
Artistic Director of the Almeida, Michael Attenborough, discusses Pinter as his favourite playwright:
"Pinter takes his audience through an experience that is very ambivalent. You get seduced in and then you get smacked. You get pulled into the atmosphere and the tension between the characters and then get duly shocked, thrilled or surprised. You're always on a knife-edge of involvement and non-involvement, and it's precisely this lack of comfort that makes his plays so intriging...
People often have this vision of Harold as an irredeemably serious man but his legacy both as a man and as a writer is twinned with great humanity and humour - you are switching almost second by second from horror to laughter. I think I've always distrusted pieces of theatre that are completely devoid of humour because I don't think life's like that - even in the most ghastly of circumstances something arises which is absurd or ridiculous or ironic. That is the nature of the human condition and that is where Pinter's legacy resides, in that twin vision of brutality and humour."
Extract from Almeida Theatre's Circle of Supporters' Spring 2008 newsletter.More Information
Pinter in his own words:
"I have often been asked how my plays come about. I cannot say. Nor can I ever sum up my plays, except to say that this is what happened. That is what they said. That is what they did. Most of the plays are engendered by a line, a word or an image. The given word is often shortly followed by the image. I shall give [an] example of [a] line which came right out of the blue into my head, followed by an image, followed by me... The first line of The Homecoming is 'What have you done with the scissors?'... I had no further information..."
Extract from Harold Pinter's acceptance speech for his Nobel Prize for Literature, December 2005.
The full speech can be read at http://www.nobelprize.org