Last night I went to see Old Times with a couple of friends. The play follows a particular evening in the lives of married couple Kate and Deeley, an evening when Kate’s old friend Anna comes to visit. It’s 80 minutes long and stars Kristin Scott-Thomas, Rufus Sewell and Lia Williams so I was ready for enoyable evening.
I did not factor in that it was a Harold Pinter play.
As we walked back across Leicester Square to the tube station and puzzled over what we’d seen, all I could say was ‘I just don’t get it’.
We debated what we thought it might mean – I had read somewhere that the two female characters actually represent two facets of the same woman’s personality and the play explores Deeley’s interactions with each. We compared notes on restlessness and boredom – both our own and of those around us throughout. We all agreed that it was well-acted but enjoyable? It was thought-provoking – definitely – but I was left feeling a bit ‘so what’ about it all – but not so much that I was sorry I had gone.
It wasn’t until this sharing afterwards that it occurred to me that this had happened before.
I saw my first Pinter – Betrayal – back when I was living in Melbourne. And then it was Old Times last night. A Pinter pas-de-deux so to speak.
And I realised that both times I’d felt the same…incomplete-ness. A kind of bereft-ness, like I’d been on the outskirts of a conversation that I didn’t quite understand and had then been cut loose and left to drift away.
I’m not averse to a challenge but after a couple of similar experiences, I’m starting to think that perhaps Pinter’s just not for me.
Or maybe it’s just that I need another Pinter Pause…