Thursday, December 18, 2008

The caretaker - Harold Pinter

This is arguably, one of the most popular plays by the Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter. Originally written and produced in 1960, first major success as a play write.

Confined to a room and three characters, brothers Aston and Mick and an old homeless Davis. As we understand later, Aston rescues Davis from a Cafe before being beaten up and take him to his house. He allows Davis to spent the night in his room and later allows him to stay until suitable alternates have been made by the later. Mick the younger brother, arrives later to the scene and virtually makes things uneasy for the old man. It hasn't been a smooth relationship between the brothers as they hardly speak to each other. Davis is offered a role of a care taker by Mick , provided he is able to establish his identity and credentials.

As things turns out in a couple of weeks, Davis trying to establish himself in the house by playing between the brothers. His changed behaviour and mannerisms puts him into trouble with Aston , which leads to Aston asking him to leave the place. His attempts to garner support of Mick also fails. Davis tries his luck with Aston again, pleading to allow him stay, unsuccessfully.

Typical of Pinters plays, bit absurd, conflict among the members , the abrupt change of character are all in this small play. A tramp with his racial blurts ( his comment on the Indian neighbours and calling them 'blacks') and perennial greed, a mentally challenged young man ( as we understand from the communication between Aston and Davis, where he talk about his stint in the mental hospital and being subjected to electric shock treatment) and a self employed youth trying to establish his authority over his elder brother all makes the undertone of this quite interesting.

Short and fascinating read, and I am sure will reveal more in re-read, which I intent to do.
The Caretaker
Harold Pinter78 Pages
Further read : Literary Encyclopedia , Culture vulture

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