| Prior to the 1950’s, and writers
like Pinter, theatrical convention meant plays offered escapism from
everyday life - their language and subject matter being far removed
from ordinary life. Playwrights like Pinter, moved away from these
conventions, introducing social and political themes, challenging
the audience, encouraging them to question and revise their preconceptions.
They used language that reflected this move away from fantasy to social
realism, reflecting the tone and texture of everyday conversation.
Pinter’s naturalist style of dialogue includes both pauses,
silences, repetition, with sentences often being left unfinished.
This style is far removed from the perfectly formed, articulate sentences
of conventional theatre prior to the 1950’s.
For more information on theatre of the 1950’s click on the
following link. Theatre in the 1950’s.
Until The Caretaker, Pinter’s plays had received
criticism, because of their style that was both unique and challenging,
moving away as it did from the normal theatrical conventions of
The Caretaker was to be Pinter's first box office success.
It opened at the Arts Theatre, London on 27 April 1960, transferred
to the Duchess on 30 May 2006 after the first month and ran for
444 performances. Subsequently it has been performed worldwide.
Pinter took on the role of Mick for a four week period when Alan
Bates went to work on Whistle Down the Wind.
The Caretaker has its roots in real life. Its characters
based on an incident in Pinter’s life and reflecting his interest
|“Pinter wrote The Caretaker
while living in a first floor flat in Chiswick High Road, at
number 373. The events that happened in the play are a fairly
close transcription of real events. Pinter and his wife Vivien
and their very young son Daniel were living in this very modest
two room flat and there was a kindly man who looked after the
flat for his brother, in real life his name was Austin. One
day Austin brought a tramp he’d met in a cafe back to
the house and the tramp stayed for two or three weeks. Pinter
knew the tramp very slightly and then one day he looked through
an open door and saw Austin with his back to the tramp gazing
out into the garden and the tramp busy putting stuff back into
some kind of grubby hold-all, obviously being given his marching
orders. All this matters because it then becomes the bones of
the plot of The Caretaker. The Caretaker is
not an absolute record of reality but it’s based on real
events and very closely on that particular part of West London.”
Michael Billington - Pinter at the BBC www.bbc.co.uk/pinter
Pinter took this snapshot and created The Caretaker. Information
on how Sheffield Theatres has interpreted The Caretaker
will be available online from October 2006.