SHOW (PERSON) 10
This time we’re not going to look at a show. No. Just to mix things up a bit we’re going to look at a person. One of the most important writers of his time. How very exciting. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:
Pinter is known for his pauses (pause). He loved them (pause). He included at least ten of them in every page of his script (pause). And sometimes he used more than one pause at the same time for extra effect (pause pause pause). However, (pause), Pinter was more than just a man who liked awkward silences (pause), he also liked dialogue (pause), he was just very choosy about when he used it (long pause for dramatic purposes followed by another pause).
Pinter originally trained as an actor, but after realising that there wasn’t much money in it he decided to write instead. And a bloody good job that he did. His first play was called The Room (not the recent film), and his second was The Birthday Party.
Pinter’s style was described by critics as the ‘comedy of Menace’ - because of the way he mixed comedy with the threat of menace, and has nothing at all to do with Dennis The Menace. He wrote 29 plays, 21 screenplays, and directed 27 theatre productions. Throughout his career Pinter won numerous awards, including the Nobel Prize for literature in 2005, the Wilfred Owen prize, and 1st prize for the ‘best pause during a tap routine’ at his local YMCA summer talent contest (1980).
The longest Pinter pause in recorded history was done by Michael Gambon in a 1970 production of The Homecoming – where he paused for a remarkable 15 days. Closely followed by John Gielgud who did a pause for 12 days in a 1975 production of No Man’s Land. Dean Gaffney recently argued that his pause of 10 years was the longest of all – but it was discounted as it was not actually in a play – it was just a pause in his career, dear.