We’ve been working on a production of Harold Pinter’s politically charged play ‘Mountain Language‘, which we’ll be showing at the Florrie at the end of May, on both Tuesday 29th and Thursday 31st.
First published in the Times Literary supplement in 1988, ‘Mountain Language’ was one of Pinter’s most overtly political plays and centres around language and the freedom of speech, amongst other things.
Facilitated by Maggie, our production will place emphasis on the violation of women to bring a timely new interpretation to the play. Set inside a prison, the production will be an immersive experience that conveys the inmates’ feelings of isolation and alienation. In this stark exploration of human rights and wrongs, it is the visiting women that we see suffer the most in the hands of the absurd and sadistic guards.
Blunt and straight to the point, ‘Mountain Language’ packs a punch. It manages to leave a lasting impression with audiences in a short space of time, conveying a sense of oppression, injustice and the irrationality of bureaucratic institutions.
The one-act play ‘Mountain Language’ usually lasts no longer than half an hour, but our immersive production will almost double the time. The audience will become entangled in the narrative as active ‘spectactors’ (spectator/actors). Taken through the farfetched bureaucracy of the prison, fully engaged in the stories of the characters, the shared experience will hopefully help the play’s powerful messages resonate long after the production.
Part of the Arts Lab ethos is that we work with everyone, from complete beginners to experienced professionals and this will be reflected in the cast. As with everything we do, the money made will be reinvested back into the Arts Lab, with everyone working on good will on a wholly collaborative creative process.
Following last year’s memorable ‘Renaissance Of Mathew Street‘ performance/ceremony/happening and the reading of Alistair Fruish’s unique and experimental novel ‘The Sentence‘, the Arts Lab released ‘The Renaissance Of Mathew Street‘ comic book early in 2018, followed by a video showing ‘Alan Moore In Conversation With Youth‘ at 2017’s 14 Hour Super Weird Happening. This Harold Pinter adaptation will be the first time the Arts Lab has taken to the stage.
A Nobel prize winner, Harold Pinter was one of the most important British playwrights of the 20th Century. Celebrated for works like ‘The Birthday Party’ (1957), ‘The Homecoming’ (1964) and ‘Betrayal’ (1978), he’s a prolific writer, who’s also acted, directed and worked as a screenwriter over a career that stretches over more than 50 years. He emerged in the late ’50s and made his name on the back of his second production, the aforementioned ‘The Birthday Party’. The latter half of his career grew more and more political and ‘Mountain Language’ is possibly his most confrontational.
Working for the literary based NGO, International PEN, Harold Pinter travelled to Turkey with fellow playwright Arthur Miller in 1985 to highlight the plight of imprisoned writers, protesting against their torture. It has been said that it was the Turkish suppression of the Kurdish language encountered by Pinter that inspired ‘Mountain Language’. The author has denied this however:
“The play is not, however, ‘about the fate of the Kurdish people’ and, above all it is not intended as a ‘parable’… I mean, throughout history, many languages have been banned––the Irish have suffered, the Welsh have suffered and the Urdu and the Estonians’ language banned.”
A ‘heavy medicine’ that will hopefully address some of ails of society, this is an ambitious first production from the Liverpool Arts Lab. Feeding off the synergy engendered in our past events and capers, we’ll be working hard to ensure we do Pinter’s play justice.
Tuesday 29th/Thursday 31st May
The Florrie, L8 4RF
Doors: 7pm / Show: 7.30pm
Tickets available here