A Kind of Alaska - 1990

(Radio production)

BBC World Service 27 January 1990

with Anna Massey, Carole Boyd and Harold Pinter

Directed by Walter Acosta

'I must be quite old. I wonder what I look like...I certainly have no intention of looking into a mirror.'
When Harold Pinter wrote this play, he acknowledged his debt to one of the most remarkable medical books of the '70s by Oliver Sacks, about a mysterious epidemic that swept Europe and the United States in the winter of 1916-17. A Kind of Alaska is a fictional recreation of the case of a patient who fell victim to the sleeping sickness when she was 16 years old. The play provides another staring role for Anna Massey as Deborah, who remains cut off from the world of consciousness for another 29 years. She is 'woken up' by Hornby, a doctor who married her sister Pauline (Carole Boyde) but who has devoted most of his attention to Deborah all these years.
The play describes in moving and powerful terms Deborah's painful realisation that she had lost almost 30 years of her life and must come to terms with her new reality. This production, directed by Walter Acosta, features a rare and most welcome appearance of the distinguished playwright Harold Pinter as Hornby.
London Calling, January 1990

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