Pinter's 'The Caretaker' - a racist relic?
Harold Pinter's The Caretaker is on locally in an acclaimed production. Classic play plus powerhouse performances = a peculiarly enervating evening.
I sat through Samuel Beckett's Endgame last week . . . and at least knew some jewels of lines are buried in the language stream. In its day Endgame was revolutionary. The Caretaker clearly had its own raw impact in 1960, Beckett gutted of the finer existential flights and theatrical comedy and rendered English. There was one fine speech about ECT treatment, but the three characters' voices were pretty much interchangeable. I used to be impressed that Pinter took language as tribal utterance, people steaming with passions they could not articulate, language blunt and repetitive, wielded like a weapon. That's still so . . . but it's a technique that now looks limited. What about some character development, narrative drive etc? The brothers in their shambolic London ruin would not exist nowadays in an age of property development. And the repeated racism against 'the blacks' who share the building is never challenged. If 'the blacks' existed in the same building at the time of the play, why not write them in to the drama? The play's a fairly nasty and pointless racist relic.