Monday, March 19, 2007

Reader's Diary #243- Harold Pinter: The Room (FINISHED)

I'm hoping that soon I'll be able to add "Actor's Diary" to my usual Reader's and Writer's Diaries. The local theatre group is auditioning for a role in Harold Pinter's The Room.

It's a very intriguing play. I heard someone mention it recently and they referred to it as "surreal". I'm not sure if I'd call it that. To me surreal is all about melting clocks and men with apples stuck in front of their faces. The Room isn't that. But it is interesting and I think I know what that person was getting at.

What I liked most is the eerie feel. I started off feeling as I did when I watched Nicole Kidman in The Others. I knew something was up, and though I didn't know what it was, I was slightly disturbed by the possibilities I imagined. Unlike The Others however, Pinter never does reveal the secret. Some might be put off by that, but I love it.

Everything in this play could still have a logical explanation, it could all be possible. Yet, it was more fun for me to think up a supernatural explanation. Perhaps Riley who comes up from the basement is a death figure, come to take Rose to the otherside. He does say he has a message from her father, that he wants her to "come home". When he calls her "Sal", Rose pauses slightly before saying not to call her that. Maybe it was her father's childhood nickname for her. Yet, if this sounds all a bit far-fetched, that's fine. It says no where that Rose's father is even dead! Perhaps there isn't much of a supernatural element at all (though the atmosphere Pinter has set up would certainly suggest something out of the ordinary).

There is some debate as to whether or not the landlord once had a sister (he says that he did, but for some reason Rose doesn't believe it). Maybe "Sal" had been her name. Riley is blind after all, it could have been a case of mistaken identity.

And there are even more mysteries; Why does Rose's husband only talk at the end? Why does Rose herself go blind? It's the almost complete lack of background and clues that makes the play so compelling and fun for me- though I'm sure plenty will find it frustrating as hell!

Given a choice of who I'd play, I'd pick Mr. Sands. Mr. Sands comes in with his wife supposedly to rent a room. His character is slightly cynical and know-it-all-ish (me at my worst?), but is almost comically balanced with his polite and jovial wife. It's not a pivotal role (at least I don't think so!), but it might be good for someone with as little acting experience as I. I'll give it a shot anyhow.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm sure it would be a fun play to produce, although I might just be amongst those who find the ambiguity frustrating as hell.

Break a leg during the audition. Wait a minute, somehow that came out sounding wrong.

John Mutford said...

Sometimes I find ambiguity frustrating and too often it seems like people just trying too hard to be deep and/or artsy. I didn't get that impression with this play.

The auditions haven't been scheduled yet, though they assume they'll be later this month.

Sam Sattler said...

Good luck, John. I look forward to hearing how this goes for you. I'm not familiar with the play but it certainly sounds unusual.

John Mutford said...

Thanks Sam, it is an unusual play. But quite enjoyable, in a dark way. I really don't read enough plays. Do you?

John Mutford said...

Well, didn't get a part. I thought the audition went okay, but I guess not good enough. A little disappointed, but I'll survive. C'est la vie.