Landscape, Cottesloe Theatre, London, November
- December 1994
transferred to The Pinter Festival, The Gate Theatre Dublin, 19
Beth - Penelope Wilton
Duff - Ian Holm
Directed by Harold Pinter
Setting - Eileen Diss
Costumes - Joan Bergin
Lighting - Mick Hughes
Ian Holm and Penelope Wilton give haunting, sombre, beautifully-chiselled
performances in Harold Pinterís haunting, sombre, beautifully-chiselled
play, a two-hander, 40 minutes long, and a miniature masterpiece.
Duff and Beth, middle-aged husband and wife, sit barely moving at
either end of an old kitchen table. They live and work in this large
house. The master is away: an absentee God. This is a portrait of
marriage as a desolate landscape. The dialogue is spare and simple,
both remote and pellucid, like lights in a mist. Husband and wife
have intertwined and grown inseparably together in shared pain.
He is earthier and more ordinary of the two; she is more dreamy,
inward-looking, self-sufficient. She has loved somebody once but
it was not Duff, and she is secretly nurtured by the memory. Duff
knows that he is being excluded but probably doesnít know why. He
is the suppliant, living in the urgent present, asking in vain to
be heard, to be admitted, and to have his simple strengths recognised.
Holm sits like an old stone crumbling from within. Wilton is wistful,
wounded, concentrating on the pain which tells her sheís alive.
An unforgettable duet.
The Sunday Times, 27th November 1994