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Ian McDiarmid as Davies
The Caretaker
Chichester Festival Theatre
June 2024
Photo by Ellie Kurttz

083 – The Caretaker by Harold Pinter

Jul 10, 2024 | Podcast Episodes | 0 comments

The Caretaker was Harold Pinter’s breakthrough play. It premiered at the Arts Theatre Club in London’s West End in April 1960, transferring to the Duchess Theatre where it ran for 444 performances, and then to Broadway. A film version of the play followed in 1963. The success of The Caretaker changed its author’s life, and perhaps the future of British theatre.

The play is set entirely in a single room in a dilapidated house in West London, where three men who live on the margins of society engage in a territorial and psychological battle. The characters’ mysterious manoeuvrings are presented in what we now recognise as Pinter’s cryptic mix of comedy and menace, delivered with his characteristic relish in the precision and panache of language.

As we record this episode a new production of the play has opened at the Chichester Festival theatre directed by Justin Audibert, and I am delighted to welcome Justin to the podcast to help us interpret Pinter’s enigmatic work.

Justin Audibert

Justin Audibert is the Artistic Director of the Chichester Festival Theatre, one of the UK’s most illustrious producing theatres. Justin was previously the Artistic Director of the Unicorn Theatre, and his other directing credits include productions at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Soho Theatre and many more.

His productions of Macbeth and The Winter’s Tale, both adapted by him for young audiences, are part of the National Theatre Collection.

In 2012 he was the recipient of the Leverhulme Award for Emerginf Directors from the National Theatre Studio.

He is a trustee of Invisible Flock and the Peggy Ramsay Foundation,and is on the Advisory Council for the Children’s Touring Partnership.

Recommended Play

Justin recommended Red Pitch by Tyrell Williams, and
‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore by John Ford.

 

Photo by Seamus Ryan

Photo © Marc Brenner
We have footnotes for this episode …

The Footnotes to our episode on Harold Pinter’s breakthrough play, The Caretaker, include notes on the source for the character of Aston, the use of language as a means of evasion and negotiation, and the significance of Aston’s statue of Buddha.

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