Ian McKellen & Patrick Stewart
Billy Crudup & Shuler Hensley
No Man’s Land
By Harold Pinter
Directed by Sean Mathias
Special Presentation · Roda Theatre
August 3–31, 2013
Running time: 2 hours, including one 15-minute intermission
Internationally acclaimed for their performances on stage, screen, and television, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart will star at Berkeley Rep in a revival of Harold Pinter’s celebrated play. In No Man’s Land, we wonder if two writers really know each other. Or are they performing an elaborate charade? The ambiguity—and the comedy—intensify with the arrival of two other men, drawing the audience into a place between the present and time remembered, between reality and fantasy. Since its premiere in 1975 and its acclaimed 2008 London revival, No Man’s Land has been hailed as one of Pinter’s “indisputable modern classics” (Telegraph). Now these terrific actors take on this towering drama, helmed by award-winning director Sean Mathias, first for Berkeley Rep audiences, and then for Broadway where they will perform the play in rep with Waiting for Godot this fall. Don’t miss this strictly limited engagement.
Harold Pinter · Playwright
Harold Pinter was born in London in 1930. He lived with Antonia Fraser from 1975 until his death on Christmas Eve 2008. (They were married in 1980.) He wrote 29 plays including The Birthday Party, The Caretaker, The Homecoming, and Betrayal; 21 screenplays including The Servant, The Go-Between, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, and Sleuth; and directed 27 theatre productions, including James Joyce’s Exiles, David Mamet’s Oleanna, seven plays by Simon Gray, and many of his own plays including his last, Celebration, paired with his first, The Room, at The Almeida Theatre, London in the spring of 2000. In 2005 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Other awards include the Companion of Honour for services to Literature, the Legion D’Honneur, the Laurence Olivier Award, and the Moliere D’Honneur for lifetime achievement. In 1999 he was made a Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature. He received honorary degrees from 18 universities.
(Photo by Martin Rosenbaum)
Sean Mathias · Director
Sean Mathias has received global acclaim from Northern Ireland to New Zealand, from the West End to Broadway. He has earned an Edinburgh Fringe First Award, a Prix de la Jeunesse at the Cannes Film Festival, a London Critics’ Circle Award, and an Evening Standard Award, as well as nominations for Olivier and Tony Awards. He was artistic director of the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2009–10 where he staged Waiting for Godot starring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, and the debut production of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
(Photo by Donald Maclellan)
Peter Kaczorowski · Lighting Design
Previously for Berkeley Rep, Peter designed Waiting for Godot (1989) and The Speed of Darkness (1990), both directed by Tony Taccone. He continues to work for most of the other leading regional theatre companies in the U.S., as well as for New York resident companies like Lincoln Center, Roundabout, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Signature Theatre Company, Second Stage Theatre, and Encores! On Broadway, No Man’s Land and Waiting for Godot will represent Peter’s 50th and 51st productions. His other Broadway credits include The Assembled Parties; Breakfast at Tiffany’s; Nice Work if You Can Get It; Wit; The Road to Mecca; Venus in Fur; Anything Goes; A View from the Bridge; Waiting for Godot (with Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin); Grey Gardens; The Producers; Kiss Me, Kate; Contact; and Steel Pier. In opera, Peter comes to Berkeley directly from Seattle where he just re-mounted the Ring Cycle. He has lit productions for the Met, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Music Center Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera House, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Abroad, he has designed at the Royal Opera House, Scottish Opera, Opera North, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, L’Arena di Verona, Teatro La Fenice, Bonn, Lisbon. Peter is the recipient of Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, and Henry Hewes Design awards.
Rob Milburn & Michael Bodeen · Original Music & Sound Design
Rob and Michael’s Broadway credits include music composition and sound for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Miracle Worker, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Speed of Darkness; music for My Thing of Love; and sound for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Superior Donuts, reasons to be pretty, A Year with Frog and Toad, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Hollywood Arms, King Hedley II, Buried Child, The Song of Jacob Zulu, and The Grapes of Wrath. Their off-Broadway credits include music and sound for Checkers, How I Learned to Drive, Inked Baby, After Ashley, Boy Gets Girl, Red, Space, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, Marvin’s Room; sound for Family Week, Brundibar, The Pain and the Itch, and Jitney; and music direction and sound for Eyes for Consuela and Ruined. They have created music and sound at many of America’s resident theatres (often with Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre), plus the Comedy Theatre in London’s West End, the Barbican Center, the National Theatre of Great Britain, the Cameri Theatre in Tel Aviv, the Subaru Acting Company in Japan, and festivals in Toronto, Dublin, Galway, Perth, and Sydney.
Zachary Borovay · Projection Design
Zachary’s work was last seen at Berkeley Rep Anna Deavere Smith’s Let Me Down Easy. His recent Broadway credits include Rock of Ages (also London, Australia, Toronto, Las Vegas, U.S. national tour, and Norwegian Cruise Lines), Ann (also Kennedy Center), Evita (also national tour), Elf, Lombardi (Drama Desk nomination), To Be Or Not to Be, A Catered Affair (Drama Desk nomination), and Xanadu (also national tour and Japan). He also has designed for many regional theatre shows, including Chaplin at La Jolla Playhouse, Nerds at Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Peepshow at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, and Voyage de la Vie at Resorts World International in Sentosa, Singapore. Zachary is a formally trained musician (Berklee College of Music ‘95) and is a trustee on the executive board of United Scenic Artists. Visit borovay.com.
Tom Watson · Hair & Wig Design
Tom is head of the wig and makeup department at the Metropolitan Opera. He has designed wigs for more than 55 Broadway productions. His current and recent Broadway designs include Annie; The Big Knife; The Assembled Parties; An Enemy of the People; Picnic; A Christmas Story; Harvey; Million Dollar Quartet; Rock of Ages; Wicked; How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; The Addams Family; Promises, Promises; South Pacific; Sondheim on Sondheim; A View from the Bridge; and Sunday in the Park with George.
Elizabeth Smith · Dialect Consultant
Elizabeth’s Broadway credits include Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Arcadia, The Importance of Being Earnest, Top Girls, The Homecoming, Julius Caesar, Cymbeline, The Coast of Utopia, The Rivals, Henry IV, The Invention of Love, Twelfth Night, Ivanov, Racing Demon, Arcadia, Sight Unseen, The Retreat from Moscow, Tartuffe, Uncle Vanya, Night Must Fall, London Assurance, Tommy, My Fair Lady, Beauty and the Beast, Me and My Girl, Piaf, Rose, and Dracula. Her off-Broadway credits include The Comedy of Errors, Humble Boy, House and Garden, Hamlet, Fen, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Road to Mecca, and Cloud Nine. She has also worked at regional theatres such as the Long Wharf Theatre, Arena Stage, Hartford Stage, the Guthrie Theater, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Glimmerglass Opera. Elizabeth is a former faculty member of the Juilliard School and Bard College.
Ilene Starger & Zoe E. Rotter · Casting
On Broadway, Ilene served as casting director for Sean Mathias’ productions of Marlene, The Elephant Man, Dance of Death, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (also West End), as well as The Diary of Anne Frank, Dirty Blonde, and Closer (Artios Award for Outstanding Achievement in Casting). Her film credits include School of Rock (Artios Award), Sleepy Hollow, A Simple Plan, Parent Trap, First Wives Club, Marvin’s Room, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, No Way Out, The Pink Panther, The Pink Panther 2, Music & Lyrics, Two Weeks’ Notice, and Night at the Museum (Artios Award). For television, she has cast Witness to the Mob, The Great Gatsby, Earthly Possessions, and Amy & Isabelle. A member of AMPAS, she is also the former vice president of casting for Disney/Touchstone Pictures. Zoe’s theatrical casting credits include Breakfast at Tiffany’s (with Ilene Starger), Einstein on the Beach (world tour), Wild Swans (American Repertory Theatre/Young Vic), Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England (Two River Theater Company), and the Selected Shorts series at Symphony Space. Her film credits include The Girl in the Book and BearCity, as well as the short films Landlocked, This is Poetry, and Socks and Bonds.
William Joseph Barnes · Production Stage Manager
Billy has been actively engaged as a production stage manager on Broadway for the past 20 years. He is pleased and proud to have the following shows to his credit: I’ll Eat You Last; The Anarchist; One Man, Two Guv’nors; Hair (and national tour); A View from the Bridge; 9 to 5; Boeing-Boeing; A Chorus Line; Three Days of Rain; The Odd Couple; Glengarry Glen Ross; Laugh Whore; Assassins; Take Me Out; The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife; True West; Art; Proposals; Master Class; and Love! Valour! Compassion! He is grateful to Stuart Thompson, Sean Mathias, and Berkeley Rep for inviting him on this truly exciting theatrical adventure.
Michelle Heller · Assistant Stage Manager
Michelle is excited to be doing her first show at Berkeley Rep. She just concluded La Hija de Rappaccini with Gotham Chamber Opera, which performed at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Her recent productions have included Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Annie on Broadway, Misery at Bucks County Playhouse, as well as productions at Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Old Globe. Michelle is a proud graduate of the University of Maryland.
Andrew Britt · Assistant Director
China Lee · Associate Costume Designer
Gina Scherr · Associate Lighting Designer
Paul Weimer · Associate Scenic Designer
Christopher Cronin · Associate Sound Designer
Caite Hevner · Associate Projection Designer
Billy Crudup · Foster
Billy Crudup has appeared on Broadway in the 2011 revival of Arcadia (Tony Award nomination), The Coast of Utopia (Outer Critics Circle nomination, Drama Desk nomination, Tony Award), The Pillowman (Tony nomination), The Elephant Man (Outer Critics Circle nomination, Tony nomination), The Three Sisters (Drama Desk nomination), Bus Stop, and the original production of Arcadia (Theatre World Award, Outer Critics Circle nomination, Clarence Derwent Award). His off-Broadway credits include The Metal Children, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Measure for Measure, and Oedipus. His film credits are Rudderless, The Convincer, Too Big to Fail, Eat Pray Love, Watchmen, Public Enemies, Dedication, Mission Impossible III, Trust the Man, The Good Shepard, Stage Beauty, Big Fish, Almost Famous, Jesus’ Son (Best Actor Award, Paris Film Festival; Independent Spirit Award nomination), Sleepers, Everyone Says I Love You, Grind, World Traveler, Charlotte Gray, Princess Mononoke, The Hi-Lo Country, Waking the Dead, Inventing the Abbotts, Without Limits (National Board of Review Award), and Moment Avenue. Billy is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BA) and New York University (MFA).
(Photo by Richard Phibbs)
Shuler Hensley · Briggs
Following his acclaimed performance in The Whale (Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards; Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, and Drama Desk nominations), Shuler Hensley was seen in the Kennedy Center’s production of The Guardsman, directed by Gregory Mosher. He has previously appeared on Broadway as The Monster in Young Frankenstein (also the U.S. national tour), Kerchak in Tarzan, Jud Fry in Oklahoma! (also at the National Theatre and London’s West End; Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Olivier Awards), and Javert in Les Misérables. He has been seen off Broadway in Fiorello! (Encores! Great American Musicals in Concert), The Whale (Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards; Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, and Drama Desk nominations), Silence! The Musical, Sweet and Sad (Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble), That Hopey Changey Thing, and The Great American Trailer Park Musical. His other credits include Ghost Brothers of Darkland County (the Alliance Theatre), All About Us (Westport Country Playhouse), The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera (Hamburg, Germany), and The Most Happy Fella (American Songbook at Lincoln Center). Opera appearances include Wozzeck (Curtis Institute of Music) and Regina (Kennedy Center). He recently appeared in Carousel at Avery Fisher Hall with the New York Philharmonic, which was nationally broadcast on PBS. Other orchestra engagements include the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and the New World Symphony Orchestra. His TV credits are The Americans, Ed, Deadline, Gary Powers, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent, and The Jury. His film appearances include After.Life; The Legend of Zorro; Van Helsing; The Bread, My Sweet; and Opa! Upcoming film projects are Odd Thomas and Cruiser. He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Ian McKellen · Spooner
Ian McKellen has been honored with more than 40 international awards for his performances on screen and stage. When last onstage in San Francisco in Shakespeare’s Richard III, he was adapting the play for the cinema, which was filmed entirely on location in London. He was born in 1939 and raised in the industrial north of England. He started acting professionally in 1961. He has regularly been leading man for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Great Britain and on the West End stage in Shakespeare and a wide range of classic and new plays. For Sean Mathias, he was Max in Bent, Uncle Vanya, and an outrageous Widow Twankey in the Old Vic’s Christmas pantomime. McKellen has often worked on stage in the USA. In New York, he won every available award for his Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus (1981). His solo show Acting Shakespeare packed theatres across the States and is now a teaching aid throughout the country. In 2001, he returned to Broadway in Dance of Death, again directed by Sean Mathias, and hosted Saturday Night Live. He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2004. Most recently, he played King Lear for the RSC at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. McKellen has starred in more than 40 movies. In 1996, he co-produced, co-scripted, and starred in his film adaptation of Richard III. After Stephen King’s Apt Pupil, he achieved his first Oscar nomination as film director James Whale in Gods and Monsters. He was the villain in The Da Vinci Code, the mutant Magneto in four X-Men films (with Patrick Stewart), and the wizard Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and again in the record-breaking The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey. His latest venture is Vicious, the UK ITV sitcom with Derek Jacobi. His full career details can be found at mckellen.com.
(Photo by Sarah Dunn)
Patrick Stewart · Hirst
Patrick Stewart most recently appeared on stage in Edward Bond’s Bingo at the Young Vic and Chichester Festival Theatre, and as Shylock in a 2011 RSC production of The Merchant of Venice, directed by Rupert Goold. His previous collaboration with Goold, in the title role of Macbeth, played Chichester, London, BAM, and then Broadway, earned an Evening Standard Award and Tony and Olivier nominations. Stewart is an Honorary Associate Artist with the RSC, having appeared in over 60 productions, including most recently a 2008 production of Hamlet playing Claudius opposite David Tennant (Olivier Award), and repertory productions of Antony and Cleopatra and The Tempest in 2005. In 1978, he won an Olivier Award for his performance in Peter Brook’s production of Antony and Cleopatra and was nominated for his role in The Merchant of Venice. He also appeared in the now legendary Peter Brook production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. On Broadway and West End stages, Stewart has appeared in A Life in the Theatre, The Master Builder, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, and The Tempest. For his acclaimed solo production of A Christmas Carol, Stewart played over 40 characters, garnering an Olivier, Drama Desk, and What’s on Stage Award. Perhaps best known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation, both on television and film, and as Professor Charles Xavier from the X-Men films, Stewart has also enjoyed a successful film and television career, earning Golden Globe, Emmy, and SAG Award nominations. Screen appearances include King of Texas; Jeffrey; Dune; Excalibur; LA Story; Robin Hood: Men in Tights; Conspiracy Theory; Extras (for which he earned an Emmy nomination); The Lion in Winter; I, Claudius; and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. His vocal talents have been heard on The Simpsons, American Dad, and Family Guy, and as narrator of Seth MacFarlane’s hit comedy, Ted. Stewart recently completed production on the Israeli film Hunting Elephants and the film adaptation of Stephen Belber’s Match and will soon reprise his role as Professor Xavier in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
(Photo by Robert Ascroft)
Joel Leffert · Spooner / Hirst
Joel was recently seen in The Talking Band’s Marcellus Shale off Broadway at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club; as Rothko in Red at Theatreworks in Colorado Springs; as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol at the Public Theatre in Lewiston, Maine; as Danforth in The Crucible at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor; and as Claudius in Hamlet at Hip to Hip Theatre Company. On Broadway and at the National Theatre in London, he was in the world premiere of Tennessee Williams’ Not About Nightingales, directed by Trevor Nunn. His other off-Broadway appearances include Hard Times at Pearl Theatre Company, The Gardens of Frau Hess for Jewish Repertory Theatre, the title role in Richard III for Salamander Rep, and Mark Lear in Vaclav Havel’s The Memorandum for The Actors Company Theatre. Joel’s TV and film credits include 666 Park Avenue, Law & Order, Six Degrees, Deconstructing Harry, Green Lights, The Killing Floor, and Falling Star.
Colin Ryan · Foster / Briggs
Colin has been seen in New York productions of Twelfth Night, Waiting for Godot, This Lime Tree Bower, Bill & Lenny, Protest, Julius Caesar, Othello, and Brecht on Brecht. His regional credits include Henry V, A Streetcar Named Desire, Pride & Prejudice, A Christmas Carol, Disney’s Beauty & the Beast, The Malcontent, King John, Romeo & Juliet, The Ladies Man, The Three Musketeers, A Laughing Matter, She Stoops to Conquer, and The Complete Works… (Abridged). Colin received an MFA from the Shakespeare Theatre’s Academy for Classical Acting.
The actors and stage managers are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
Ian McKellen is appearing with the permission of Actors’ Equity Association.
“Listening to Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart state, bandy and insinuate the language of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land is like hearing master cellists perform a Bach cantata. Watching them inhabit the silences eloquently elaborates the comedy and treacherous drama. With Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley in the supporting roles, the veritable all-star production that opened Sunday at Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theatre is a master class in Pinter performance. And a very enjoyable one at that…Director Sean Mathias, who also staged McKellen and Stewart’s highly praised Godot in London, orchestrates the action with a delicate touch and a fine eye for sly physical comedy…Stooped, careworn and uncomfortably conscious of his epically rumpled gray suit—with white shoes and socks—McKellen is almost unrecognizable from previous roles. His walk is a vivid combination of a shamble and the body’s ill-remembered impression of a light step…Stewart is every bit as impressive, whether sitting stolidly in his armchair, anticipating his next drink or gingerly placing a foot to balance his unsteady walk to the liquor cabinet…Crudup and Hensley add the expected undercurrent of unstated, smiling menace; and each excels in his own arias and physical bits…Pinter’s themes of unreliable memory, inherent loneliness and evasive truths revolve within the repeating circles of Stephen Brimson Lewis’ imposingly grand, spare, curved set. But these four actors make the immersion in Pinteresque futility memorable and edgily joyous.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Feels like a gift from theater gods…Directed by the estimable Sean Mathias, this is a rich symphony in Pinter played by two virtuosos of the theater…Our guides on this voyage into the void are Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, two peerless interpreters of Pinter’s infamous ambiguity…Both McKellen and Stewart parse the text with equal portions gravitas and grace. The enigmas are as sly as ever but each moment also feels grounded in an achingly real sense of truth and humor…Mathias keeps the audience on tenterhooks as the actors nimbly navigate the play’s sharp switchbacks in tone and subtext…There’s no denying the power of this eerie narrative to haunt the imagination…From the first night cap to the last toast, this is a booze-soaked aria in pauses that speak volumes and stares that will stop your heart…Exquisite!”—San Jose Mercury News / Bay Area News Group
“Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and No Man’s Land are a brilliant match. In the new revival of Harold Pinter’s play at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the legendary actors give a thrilling master class in the existential drama and mordant humor battling for supremacy in this groundbreaking 20th century work…This New York-bound production, deftly directed by Sean Mathias and buoyed by the considerable star power of its two leading men, casts a mesmerizing spell.”—San Francisco Examiner
“What pure theatrical pleasure it is to spend two hours in the baffling world of playwright Harold Pinter with Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart as our guides. These two fascinating craftsmen, under the direction of the equally astute Sean Mathias, are a show unto themselves in the choices they make, the characters they draw and the relationships they forge with each other and with the audience. No Man’s Land may be about some sort of limbo between the vibrancy of youth and the incapacity of old age (or, more simply, between living life and just waiting for death), but in truth, it’s a masterful workshop in which gifted thespians practice their craft.”—Theater Dogs
“There are Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart–who played superhuman archenemies in the X-Men films–being as heartbreakingly human and co-dependent as an old married couple…Mr. McKellen and Mr. Stewart were must-see names of the London classical repertory long before they entered more crowd-pleasing chapters in their careers.”—New York Times (Ben Brantley)
“[Pinter] was rightly perceived to be the heir to Samuel Beckett, who was his friend and mentor. Like Beckett, Mr. Pinter created worlds profoundly comic and tragic, in which meaning is never fixed, memory lies and people are betrayed not just by one another but also by their own minds…The influence of Mr. Pinter, whose masterworks include The Homecoming (1964) and No Man’s Land (1974), cannot be underestimated.”—New York Times (Ben Brantley)
“The play is a masterly summation of all the themes that have long obsessed Pinter: the fallibility of memory, the co-existence in one man of brute strength and sensitivity, the ultimate unknowability of women, the notion that all human contact is a battle between who and whom. It is in no sense a dry, mannerist work but a living, theatrical experience full of rich comedy in which one speech constantly undercuts another.”—The Guardian
Prologue: From the artistic director
“What the hell is going on?”
In a Harold Pinter play, everything is true. And everything is false. Everything is real. Or perhaps not real. There are no traditional boundaries that define behavior, no clear lines of demarcation to tell us what we should believe. There are only actions, actions expressed through stark imagery and spoken language that seem to slip and slide between different realms of consciousness. The effect is startling and eerie, at once terrifying and hilarious. One minute we’re watching a horror movie and the next a vaudeville sketch. Like a mystery play where the major clues have been removed, it’s ultimately up to us to decide the narrative of the story.
In lesser hands, this technique would be an unmitigated disaster. But Harold Pinter was a brilliant artist. His spectacular skill as a writer was wedded to his obsessive explorations of power and territory. His characters are always on the hunt, circling around each other, sniffing for the smell of fear or submission. Even the most casual exchanges are fueled with an underlying need for control. The result is a series of theatrical games, sometimes menacing and sometimes ludicrous, where the rules may change as quickly as the results. But these little games exist in the context of the larger game, the game of life, where all results remain elusive, where “understanding” is fleeting, and where moments of dizzying clarity are subsumed by the shroud of unknowing.
Mastering the complexity of Pinter’s work requires an extraordinary creative team. It goes without saying that the cast assembled here, featuring Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Billy Crudup, and Shuler Hensley, are among the world’s finest actors. Under the inspired direction of Sean Mathias and his superb designers, we have every expectation that this production of No Man’s Land will be strikingly memorable. The show travels from here to New York, where it will play in repertory with Waiting for Godot. A glorious match of plays that led the charge in re-defining modern drama and challenged the very notion of entertainment. I can think of no better way to re-examine these plays than with these players.
We couldn’t be more proud of being a part of it.
Please see the interactive program or the PDF above for additional insightful articles.
Director Sean Mathias gives us the scoop on the theatrical event of the year.
Discover more about Harold Pinter, read interviews with the cast, and see what inspired the artistic team of No Man’s Land.
No Man’s Land is a modern classic from the English writer Harold Pinter, whose dark humor and terse, poetic dialogue quickly made him one of the 20th century’s most distinct and admired playwrights.
- This film captures an evening of readings from Pinter’s poems, plays, and prose that celebrated Pinter’s expansive body of work. Featuring actors such as Jude Law, Jeremy Irons, and Alan Rickman, the evening was put together by the National Theatre in London in 2009 and recorded by the BBC.
- This interview with Pinter, from The Paris Review in 1966, catches the playwright at the midpoint of his career. Well-established with plays such as The Homecoming and The Caretaker, Pinter discusses the beginnings of his writing career and early literary influences.
- Following Pinter’s death in 2008, this New York Times obituary remembers his writings, political legacy, and the long pauses which became his trademark.
Conversations with Pinter by Mel Gussow
- Although the playwright was well-known for his reluctance to disclose personal information or give definitive interpretations of his work, New York Times drama critic Gussow brings together over 20 years of interviews that reveal much about Pinter’s life and philosophy.
Harold Pinter by Michael Billington
- Billington’s lovingly crafted biography delves deeply into the facts of Pinter’s life and work, providing detailed analysis of each play and searching out overall trends in his writing.
Select works by Pinter
In a career that spanned six decades, Pinter embraced a variety of literary forms, with numerous plays, films, novels, and poems to his name.
The Birthday Party
- Pinter’s first full-length play was met with outrage and confusion when it opened in London in 1958. Since then, the story, in which two ominous men suddenly appear at a boardinghouse, has been celebrated for its universal resonance.
- One of Pinter’s best-known works centers on the return of Teddy and his wife, Ruth, to his family home. The response of his brothers, uncle, and father provide a hilarious and riveting exploration of sex, family, and power dynamics.
- This evocative portrait of longing, distance, and love from 1967 marks a shift in Pinter’s writing away from more traditionally structured plays into a poetic exploration of memory.
- As the title suggests, Betrayal explores marital infidelity (among other types of deception) in one of Pinter’s most accessible plays.
The Pumpkin Eater (1964)
- The story of a strained marriage, starring Anne Bancroft and Peter Finch and based on the novel by Penelope Mortimer, was one of Pinter’s first screenplays.
The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981)
- Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons star in a film based on John Fowles’ novel about a romance between a socially outcast woman and gentleman set in the Victorian era. Pinter translated the novel’s literary framework into a meta-theatrical structure, telling the story of actors who are making a film of The French Lieutenant’s Woman.
- Pinter’s dark wit and nuanced, fascinating power plays are brilliantly executed by Michael Cain and Jude Law in this film—adapted from Anthony Shaffer’s play—about a rich, aged writer who invites a young man into his home.
Collected Prose & Poems
- Pinter’s work in the theatre blossomed out of his love of poetry, and he wrote poems throughout his life. This collection includes much of that work, as well as his shorter works of fiction.
The Proust Screenplay
- In one of Pinter’s unproduced screenplays, he takes on one of the great challenges of adaptation through distilled images and simple dialogue that transforms the essence of Marcel Proust’s novel Remembrance of Things Past.
Meet the cast
- A breezy conversation captures a sense of McKellen’s humor and warmth, as well as insight into his activism for gay rights and what it’s like to be confused for a wizard.
- An in-depth profile of Stewart from The Independent covers everything from his Star Trek days to his efforts to raise awareness about domestic violence.
- Hensley’s perspective on playing monsters, Broadway musicals, and how to fly in Tarzan are all revealed in this podcast from The American Theatre Wing.
- In this rare profile with the New York Times, Crudup discusses his displeasure with talking about himself or revealing his process as an actor. Nevertheless, he sheds some insight into his acting philosophy and the diverse roles that have attracted him.
The conversation in No Man’s Land draws its characters across time, into memories that are haunting, evocative, and unsubstantial. Pinter’s exploration of the elusive quality of memory aligns with the work of neurologists who seek to understand how exactly humans can understand their past.
- Through the lens of two extraordinary cases—a woman who remembers practically every day of her life and a man who has lost almost his entire memory—this National Geographic articles takes a look at the scientific explanation of what memory is and the role it plays in our lives.
- This New York Times article looks at the impact nostalgia has on mood. While nostalgia was initially seen as a neurological disorder—the term was coined in 1688 to describe the sense of longing for home described by Swiss mercenaries who were abroad—this study finds that it actually increases optimism and decreases fear of death.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
- Noted neurologist Oliver Sacks spoke with the No Man’s Land team as part of their preparation for the show. In this book, the failure of memory is one among many neurological disorders that Sacks describes in brief narratives taken from his clinical studies.