English department to present staged
reading of four plays by Harold Pinter
Works illustrating a contemporary playwright's "political anxiety" will come to life when Yale's English department continues its annual tradition of staging a rehearsed reading of a lesser-known British play in conjunction with an exhibit at the Yale Center for British Art.
The event will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 28, in the lecture hall of the Yale Center for British Art, 1080 Chapel St. It is free and open to the public, and will last about an hour.
This year's staged reading celebrates the museum's exhibition of recent paintings by Howard Hodgkin, which opens on Wednesday, Jan. 31. (See related story.) It will feature four short plays by contemporary British playwright Harold Pinter, 2005 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature: "Mountain Language" (1988), "Party Time" (1991), "Press Conference" (2002) and "Apart From That" (2006).
"All these plays but the last are politically explicit to an extent surprising from the author of earlier and more familiar works like 'The Birthday Party,' 'The Homecoming' and 'Betrayal,'" says Murry Biggs, adjunct associate professor of English and theater studies, who will direct the readings.
"Yet, as his Nobel acceptance speech reminded the world, Pinter has always been politically engaged, especially in defiance of repressive government," notes Biggs. "Three of the plays chosen for the January reading dramatize this political anxiety, sometimes in deliberately shocking language. 'Apart From That' lasts about a minute, and demonstrates the vacuity (according to the playwright) of most cellphone discourse. Its brevity also suggests the recognition by older dramatists (Beckett too comes to mind) that, artistically speaking, more can be accomplished by less."
The reading will be presented by English department faculty members William Deresiewicz, Stefanie Markovits, David Quint and Margaret Spillane; English graduate students Christopher Grobe and John Muse; Toni Dorfman, director of undergraduate studies in the Theater Studies Program; School of Drama student Amy Boratko; and theater studies majors Albert Lawrence '07 and Joshua Odsess-Rubin '08.
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