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What's a Pinter Play?

Two Mystery Science Theater movies we've seen recently mocked the odd dramatic pauses in the dialogue by asking "What is this? A Pinter Play?" My degree in English Lit failing me, i had to look it up:

Harold Pinter, Playwright of the Pause:

But while Mr. Pinter's linguistic agility turned simple, sometimes obscene, words into dark, glittering and often mordantly funny poetry, it is what comes between the words that he is most famous for. And the stage direction "pause" would haunt him throughout his career.

Intended as an instructive note to actors, the Pinter pause was a space for emphasis and breathing room. But it could also be as threatening as a raised fist. Mr. Pinter said that writing the word "pause" into his first play was "a fatal error." It is certainly the aspect of his writing that has been most parodied. But no other playwright has consistently used pauses with such rhythmic assurance and to such fine-tuned manipulative effect.

By fnord12 | January 17, 2011, 10:25 AM | Movies | Link

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