Thursday, May 15, 2003

Mountain Language by Harold Pinter

"Mountain Language (1988) by Harold Pinter is perhaps the most concise, powerful, and violent example of what language is and can do, how language differentiates people and can make them mutually unintelligible." (Michel Aaij, 1998)


:: comment :: . . . students listen as Henry Wolf, Pinter's friend and peer (they went to high school together and have worked together ever since) . . . he was moved more by their work than the National Theatre performance . . . so much to experience . . .
"In his 1965 speech "Writing for the Theatre," Pinter famously commented,

"There are two silences. One where no word is spoken. The other when perhaps a torrent of language is being employed. When true silence falls, we are still left with echo but are nearer nakedness." One of the rich discoveries of Mountain Language is that, if language is a tool of oppression, silence can be unspeakably intimate and ultimately hugely liberating. When I first read the play, the sections that startled me the most were the "speeches" that occurred in silence, indicated by the stage direction "Voices over." Pinter employs an innovative technique in Mountain Language to indicate a kind of telepathic communication between characters who cannot or will not speak aloud: as they face each other, their thoughts travel between them over the sound system via pre-recorded text, so that we are literally privy to their most private communication.(Crimes of War: Article by Carey Perloff/small>)