Chewing over old times with Harold Pinter’s pal
It’s hard to know what life achievements merit a documentary these days (Mabel and Fatty Viewing the World’s Fair at San Francisco is, believe it or not, a real film), but winning the Nobel Prize for literature, turning down a knighthood, not to mention cranking out over 30 plays and 20 screenplays most definitely makes you a candidate. Harold Pinter, the father of his very own particular brand of absurdist theatre, which came to be known as ‘Pinteresque’, left behind a legacy of domestic dramas and tense silences when he passed away in 2008. His good friend, himself a critically acclaimed British actor and director, Harry Burton, who made the documentary Working with Pinter just a year before Pinter’s death, is coming to Copenhagen for an evening where he will show his film as well as lead a discussion about Pinter’s work.
Ian Burns, the founder and artistic director of That Theatre Company, is delighted to present Harry Burton in accordance with That Theatre Company and Why Not Theatre Company’s production of Old Times (see G3 for details, page 18 of the newspaper for a review, and page 12 for details of another evening featuring Burton), in which he also plays the party of Deeley.
“The word ‘genius’ is used far too often in my opinion,” he told InOut. “But Pinter carried the flag that Shakespeare and others held for a while. His plays are also poems, or collections of poems within a framework for a particular play, and as an actor they sit very well on the tip of one’s tongue once you’ve married the imagery to the words … Just like Shakespeare. If it’s done well, the audience see those pictures as they’re being described on stage.”
Thursday evening will be a special opportunity to view the film and partake in a discussion with its director, who will speak about his work with Pinter and his unique insight into Pinter’s life and work – all over a glass of wine and snacks. Burns describes the hour-long documentary as “a portrait of Pinter as he sits and watches and comments on actors doing scenes from his plays. What comes across is a man of the theatre who loves and admires actors and the way they work.”
Burton, who met Pinter when he was only 18 while the two were playing for the same cricket team, was a close personal friend and professional colleague of Pinter’s. “This closeness allowed him access to one of the world’s greatest wordsmiths, and I think it’s a privilege to be able to get closer to what was a private man,” said Burns.
After the discussion there will be the opportunity to see one of Pinter’s most acclaimed plays, Old Times, performed by That Theatre Company and Why Not Theatre Company.
An Evening with Harry Burton
Krudttønden, Serridslevvej 2, Cph Ø; Thu (Nov 8) 17:30; tickets 100kr (250kr for both talk and performance of Old Times)