I remember when I was much younger staying up til one in the morning watching ‘Harold Pinter’ night on BBC2 and being utterly captivated by the sections of his plays that they showed and by his performance in One for the Road that was shown as the finale. That night I went to sleep genuinely excited about theatre and plays and their possibilities. Sometime later i got a copy of (the radio play) ‘A Slight Ache’ on cassette and litened to it over and over again until the tape wore out. Later still I saw ‘Betrayl’ at the Theatre Royal in Bath and was blown away at the seemingly effortless skill and poignancy. Seeing it again more recently at theatre upstairs in Exeter I still got the same buzz from seeing it. A buzz and a feeling that none of my writing would ever come anywhere near that level.
His amazing eye for the menace that lurks just beneath the surface of society and skill in bringing it deftly out of the darkness and into the lights of a stage and showing us a hint of it is as remarkable and fresh as it first was when he first appeared all those years ago. Undoubtably his work will survive long after his death and justifiably so.
If I had to list people who have influence me and cemented my joy at the craft of theatre and playwriting he would be high, high on the list.
Although I loathe the whole notion of meeting people you admire, it saddens me that I will not get to in this case because I think I owe him a huge debt in forming one of the main passions of my life. So, for what it’s worth, thank you Harold.