Went along to Pavilion Theatre last night to catch London Classic Theatre's production of The Caretaker, by Harold Pinter. Nicholas Gasson (above) was excellent as the garrulous tramp Davies, and fellow cast members Nicholas Gadd (Mick) and Richard Stemp (Aston) were also top notch in their roles - tightly wound performances all round, restrained and energetic in the right measures. Coupled with a tidily cluttered staging, it made for a real treat of a performance.
I'm currently reading Louis MacNeice's Varieties of Parable. In his introduction, he makes reference to the Theatre of the Absurd - Brecht, Beckett, Pinter & Co. - and this play in particular, saying;
"I could certainly 'identify', as they say, with either of the tramps in Waiting for Godot or, disgusting though he is, with Krapp in Krapp's Last Tape. And in Pinter I could identify with any one of the three characters in The Caretaker."
Funny to think of MacNeice enjoying this play - he seems to belong to such a different, previous world than Pinter. Easy to forget that The Caretaker was first staged in April 1960 - so we're just past the 50th anniversary(!) of this modern classic.
It is indeed possible to identify with all three characters. In fact, by play's end - after all the doubt, chattering, distraction, sprained intentions, tragic echoes and curtailed geographies - there's a distinct feeling that all three are aspects of one individual psyche. Id, Ego and Super-ego perhaps - though which is which could be a whole other conversation.
The Caretaker is at the Pavilion again tonight, before heading to the Old Courthouse Antrim from tomorrow, June 2nd. Highly recommended.
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