“Pinter restored theatre to its basic elements: an enclosed space and unpredictable dialogue, where people are at the mercy of each other and pretense crumbles”
Nobel Academy on why it awarded Harold Pinter the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005.The absolute evisceration of pretense will almost certainly be the cornerstone of the ideas that will define Harold Pinter’s legacy. He simply had absolutely no patience whatsoever for bullshit. On stage it made for bad theatre, and in the international arena it had catastrophic human consequences.
Pinter’s Nobel lecture had very little to do with theatre and everything to do with being one of the quintessential critiques of the Bush administration and post-WWII US foreign policy.
Above all things, it is a call to arms for citizens to defend truth in the public sphere. For Pinter, although truth can be many shades of malleable grey in art, there is a central truth that all inhabitants of earth share. It is the job of intellectuals to defend this truth against the manipulations of self-serving often murderous interests:
“I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.”You can read the full text of Harold Pinter’s Nobel lecture to the Swedish Academy here.
Master artist and unflinching social justice and peace activist