No Man’s Land

Looking forward to tomorrow’s performance of Harold Pinter‘s No Man’s Land with Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Billy Crudup, and Shuler Hensley! Finished reading the play a few minutes ago…

I am left wondering what it was that I just read. Four men. Two in their 60s. One is well to do (Hirst) and the other has fallen on hard times (Spooner). Of the younger men, one is in his 40s. The other is in his 30s. The younger two are Hirst’s secretary are servant.

Apart from the underlying questions, Do the two older men know one another from another time and place? Are they just pulling a scam on one another? or are they just a figment of the other’s imagination? In addition to trying to place this into meaningful context, I’m left wondering about the human qualities of these men and where they end up when the curtain closes.

I wish that I had a deeper understanding of the arts…that I understood everything that I read the first time through. Truth be told, I struggle with drama and many of the classics. There are just so many ways to read them. Should I focus on the protagonist, try to glean what the author’s subtle message is, or simply enjoy the work at face value? Frankly, I do enjoy reading stories at face value.  I also like looking for deeper meaning in the prose. I suppose too, that is why I’m captivated by Pinter’s work.

Is Hirst suffering from memory loss…or confusion? Is it the alcohol, age, or something else?…Alzheimer’s? How did they come to be in their current state of affairs? And if indeed they truly knew one another, how did they endure the  terrible pain they inflicted on one another in their youth?

Whoa! Thank you Mr. Pinter for writing a play that touches on the human condition, explores it in a raw and powerful way and put it to the stage. Looking forward to Captain Piccard and Gandalf’s rendition of your work!

 

Update:

The play was fabulous! Ian and Patrick were masterful in the presentations of  Spooner and Hirst. They were at once, energetic, thoughtful, and captivating. The transformation from a theater house to Hirst’s drawing room was a quick and relatively smooth one. 

They were true to the script in their presentation, and yet I’m so very glad they had a slightly different interpretation of it than I. As a result, the lines were both familiar and new at the same time…and the way that they could hold the audience and capture the humor of a situation! Fantastic. 

One thing that stands out for me is that they actually ate and drank on stage. Who knows what it was they were drinking, but several glasses were poured and disappeared…and later, when breakfast arrived, Ian gobbled it down during the conversation with Briggs… Perhaps this happens often, but it is the first time I’ve seen it on stage. 

We had the very good fortune of seeing the performance at the Roda Theater. There are no bad seats in the house, though I might recommend an aisle if you want to get snacks or take a break during the intermission as the lobby fills quickly.  The Rep is also nice because there is easy access to BART (downtown Berkeley) or parking structures. 

I easily recommend this performance. 

 

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