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078 – The Lover and The Collection, by Harold Pinter

078 – The Lover and The Collection, by Harold Pinter

Claudie Blakley as Sarah, and
David Morrissey as Richard
in The Lover
Theatre Royal Bath
March 2023
Photograph by Nobby Clark

078 – The Lover and The Collection, by Harold Pinter

We have a double-bill on the programme in this episode – two short plays written by Harold Pinter back in the early 1960s when his fame was very much on the ascendant. The first is The Lover, which initially appears to be a conventional sex comedy involving infidelity in a middle-class marriage, but which contains a twist that turns the play into a darker exploration of sexual compulsion. Pinter’s biographer, the theatre critic Michael Billington, described The Lover as “an absolute gem…one of the most candid and revealing plays about sex in the English language.” It was first written for TV and broadcast in March 1963, before being staged at the Arts theatre in London in September that year, both productions starring Pinter’s then-wife Vivien Merchant as Sarah.

The second play in our double-bill is The Collection, written a year earlier than The Lover, but which also explores the impact of apparent adultery, in this case on the relationships of two couples. All of the parties involved come to promote different versions of events in their attempts to manipulate others, such that they, and we, are left uncertain as to what the truth might be.

The Collection was also first written and presented as a television play in May 1961, and then produced on stage by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London, which Pinter co-directed with Peter Hall, in June 1962. The Financial Times described the play at the time as “an under praised little masterpiece.”

As we record this episode a new production offering a double-bill of both of the plays has just opened at the Theatre Royal in Bath, directed by Lindsay Posner, with David Morrisey leading the cast. Loyal listeners will recall that Lindsay joined me to help pay homage to Michael Frayn’s comic masterpiece Noises Off in episode 58, and I’m delighted to welcome Lindsay back to the podcast to talk about these two Pinter gems.

Other plays by Harold Pinter covered on The Play Podcast:
006 – Betrayal
075 – The Homecoming

 

Lindsay Posner

Lindsay Posner has a remarkable list of theatrical credits as a director, both in the UK and internationally. Most recently he has directed three productions at the Theatre Royal in Bath, including The Lover and The Collection, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and A View from the Bridge, which transferred to the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London’d West End. He also has directed Noises Off on two occasions: first at the Old Vic Theatre in 2011, and then again at Theatre Royal Bath in 2022, which as we recorded our episode on the play in January 2023 arrived in London’s West End.

A fuller list of Lindsay’s credits can be found here on his guest page.

 

Recommended Play

Lindsay recommended People, Places & Things by Duncan Macmillan.

Become a Patron!
Since I launched The Play Podcast in April 2020, I have managed to eschew any form of advertising or sponsorship, and I would like to continue to produce the podcast without doing so. I therefore invite you to help me to continue to make the podcast by becoming a Patron. Additional benefits available to Patrons include Footnotes on the plays covered in the podcast, as well as early access to The Play Review. For details click here Thank you very much for listening and for your support. Douglas
The Texts
If you are interested in buying the play text or other related books, we’d be delighted if you choose to purchase them from our selected partners Bookshop.org and Blackwell’s. Not only will you be supporting independent booksellers, we will also earn a small commission on every book you purchase, which helps to keep the podcast going. Click on the cover to buy from our chosen partner. Thank you.
You might also be interested in …
079 – The Hills of California, by Jez Butterworth

079 – The Hills of California, by Jez Butterworth

A new Jez Butterworth play is a theatrical event. The Hills of California is currently running at the Harold Pinter theare in London’s West End, directed by Sam Mendes. Do not be misled by the title, however, we are not in sunny California, but in the back streets of Blackpool, where four daughters come together to say goodbye to their dying mother. The play is a portrait of lost dreams, of deeply ingrained patterns of love and hurt within a family, and of suppressed and mutable memories.

I’m joined to explore this major new work by Sean McEvoy, author of Class, Culture and Tragedy in the Plays of Jez Butterworth.

078 – The Lover and The Collection, by Harold Pinter

078 – The Lover and The Collection, by Harold Pinter

We have a double-bill in this episode of two short plays written by Harold Pinter in the early 1960s: The Lover and The Collection, both of which explore sexual compulsion and the manipulation of truth within marriage or partnerships. As we record this episode a new production of both plays is playing at the Theatre Royal in Bath, directed by Lindsay Posner.

I’m delighted to welcome Lindsay back to the podcast to talk about these two Pinter gems.

Claudie Blakley and David Morrissey in The Lover
Photo by Nobby Clark

077 – An Enemy of the People, by Henrik Ibsen

077 – An Enemy of the People, by Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen’s play An Enemy of the People is a fable of truth and lies, politics and power, and the challenge and costs of pursuing an unpopular crusade to speak truth to power. It’s a story of ‘fake news’, manipulation of the media, the dangers of populism, and the environmental cost of capitalism. No wonder it strikes a chord in our time, for as we record this episode there are two major new productions of An Enemy of the People on the world stage.

I’m delighted to welcome back to the podcast, Ibsen expert, Professor Kirsten Shepherd-Barr, who I was privileged to talk with in episode 74 on Ibsen’s play Ghosts

Matt Smith as Thomas Stockmann
Duke of York’s Theatre, London
Photo by Manuel Harlan

Lindsay Posner

Lindsay Posner

Lindsay Posner

Lindsay Posner has a remarkable list of theatrical credits as a director, both in the UK and internationally. Most recently he has directed three productions at the Theatre Royal in Bath, including The Lover and The CollectionWho’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and A View from the Bridge, which transferred to the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London’d West End. He also has directed Noises Off on two occasions: first at the Old Vic Theatre in 2011, and then again at Theatre Royal Bath in 2022, which as we recorded our episode on the play in January 2023 arrived in London’s West End.

Lindsay was Associate Director at the Royal Court Theatre from 1987-1992, where Main House credits included COLQUHOUN AND McBRYDE, THE TREATMENT, DEATH AND THE MAIDEN, and AMERICAN BAGPIPES.

His other credits include: STONES IN HIS POCKETS (UK Tour), DEAR ARABELLA (Lyric Theatre Belfast), GOD OF CARNAGE (Theatre Royal Bath), ROMEO & JULIET  and RICHARD III (Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, York), THE LIE (Menier Chocolate Factory), THE TRUTH (Menier Chocolate Factory, Wyndham’s), CINDERELLA (Stage Entertainment Moscow), THE END OF LONGING (Playhouse), SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER (Theatre Royal Bath),
COMMUNICATING DOORS (Menier Chocolate Factory), HAYFEVER (Theatre Royal Bath/West End), SPEED THE PLOW (Theatre Royal Bath, West End), OTHER DESERT CITIES (Old Vic Theatre), THE WINSLOW BOY (Roundabout Theatre, New York; Old Vic Theatre),mA LITTLE HOTEL ON THE SIDE (Theatre Royal Bath), THE TURN OF THE SCREW (ACT Productions & Hammer Theatre of Horror; Almeida Theatre), UNCLE VANYA (Vaudeville Theatre; Stanhope Productions),
RELATIVELY SPEAKING (Bath Theatre Royal, West End), RICHARD III (The Old Globe Theatre, San Diego), ABIGAIL’S PARTY (Menier Chocolate Factory / Bath Theatre Royal & West End), NOISES OFF (The Old Vic Theatre & West End),
BUTLEY (The Duchess Theatre), AN IDEAL HUSBAND (The Vaudeville Theatre), HOUSE OF GAMES (Almeida Theatre),
A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE (Duke of York’s Theatre), CAROUSEL (Churchill Theatre, UK Tour and Savoy Theatre),
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (Sheffield Crucible and Savoy Theatre), 3 SISTERS ON HOPE STREET (Liverpool Everyman and Hampstead Theatre), TOM AND VIV (Almeida Theatre), FOOL FOR LOVE (Apollo Theatre), THE HYPOCHONDRIAC (Almeida Theatre), THE BIRTHDAY PARTY (Duchess Theatre), ROMANCE (Almeida Theatre), A LIFE IN THE THEATRE (Apollo Theatre), OLEANNA (Garrick Theatre), THE CARETAKER (Bristol Old Vic), SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO (Comedy Theatre), POWER (Cottesloe Theatre at the RNT), TARTUFFE (Lyttleton Theatre at the RNT), TWELFTH NIGHT (RSC, Stratford and the Barbican Theatre), THE RIVALS (RSC, Stratford and the Barbican Theatre), THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (RSC at The Pit), VOLPONE (RSC at The Swan), AFTER DARWIN (Hampstead Theatre), AMERICAN BUFFALO (Young Vic), THE PROVOK’D WIFE (Old Vic), THE LADY FROM THE SEA (Lyric Hammersmith and West ,THE SEAGULL (Gate Theatre, Dublin), THE ROBBERS (Gate Theatre, London), LEONCE AND LENA (Sheffield Crucible Studio), THE DOCTOR OF HONOUR (UK Tour and Donmar Warehouse), MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (Regents Park Open Air Theatre)

Recommended Play(s)

Lindsay recommended The Truth by Florian Zeller in episode 58, and 
he recommended People, PLaces & Things by Duncan Macmillan in episode 78.

 

 

 

 

 

 

058 – Noises Off, by Michael Frayn

058 – Noises Off, by Michael Frayn

Felicity Kendall as Dotty, Alexander Hanson as Lloyd, and Tracy-Ann Oberman as Belinda
in Noises Off, London 2023
Photo by Nobby Clark

 

058 – Noises Off, by Michael Frayn

Michael Frayn’s iconic comedy Noises Off is a farce about putting on a farce, in which a touring theatre company stage a dated British sex farce entitled Nothing On. As the hapless actors struggle to remember their lines and hit their queues, Frayn gives us a glimpse backstage of the mechanics of theatre, and of the disintegrating relationships of the cast as they toil through their interminable regional tour. Noises Off is a work of theatrical genius. Its parody of second-rate theatre-making is delivered with extraordinary invention and immaculate timing, while it also highlights the humanity of its characters as they stumble through the chaos of the production and their lives.

The play premiered at the Lyric theatre in Hammersmith in 1982, before transferring to the Savoy Theatre, where it won the Evening Standard award for Best Comedy and ran for 5 years with five successive casts. It was produced on Broadway in 1983, where the famed New York theatre critic Frank Rich called it the funniest play written in his lifetime. To mark its 40th anniversary, the Theatre Royal Bath mounted a revival, that as we record this episode arrives on stage at the Phoenix theatre in London’s West End in an hilarious production directed by Lindsay Posner.

I’m absolutely delighted to be joined today by Lindsay Posner, who has the distinction of having directed Noises Off twice in his distinguished career. What could possibly go wrong?!

PS You may also enjoy our episode with Michael Frayn on his play Copenhagen.

Lindsay Posner

Lindsay Posner has a remarkable list of theatrical credits as a director, both in the UK and internationally. He has directed Noises Off on two occasions: first at the Old Vic Theatre in 2011, and then most recently at Theatre Royal Bath in 2022, which as we recorded our episode arrived at the Phoenix Theatre in London’s West End.  At the same time, his production of Edward Albee’s classic Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf was running on the Ustinov stage at the Theatre Royal in Bath.

Lindsay was Associate Director at the Royal Court Theatre from 1987-1992. 

We’ve included a list of Lindsay’s other credits on his Guest page: Lindsay Posner.

Recommended Play

Lindsay recommended The Truth by Florian Zeller.

Photo © Marc Brenner
We have footnotes for this episode …

The Footnotes to our episode on Michael Frayn’s comic masterpiece Noises Off include extracts from the fictional programme to Nothing On, the play-within-the-play, and a reprisal of one of the best jokes in the play.

Become a Patron!

Since I launched The Play Podcast in April 2020, I have managed to eschew any form of advertising or sponsorship, and I would like to continue to produce the podcast without doing so. I therefore invite you to help me to continue to make the podcast by becoming a Patron.
Additional benefits available to Patrons include Footnotes on the plays covered in the podcast, as well as exclusive access to The Play Review.

For details click here

Thank you very much for listening and for your support.
Douglas

The Texts
If you are interested in buying the play text or other related books, we’d be delighted if you choose to purchase them from our selected partners Bookshop.org and Blackwell’s. Not only will you be supporting independent booksellers, we will also earn a small commission on every book you purchase, which helps to keep the podcast going. Click on the cover to buy from our chosen partner. Thank you.
You might also be interested in …
079 – The Hills of California, by Jez Butterworth

079 – The Hills of California, by Jez Butterworth

A new Jez Butterworth play is a theatrical event. The Hills of California is currently running at the Harold Pinter theare in London’s West End, directed by Sam Mendes. Do not be misled by the title, however, we are not in sunny California, but in the back streets of Blackpool, where four daughters come together to say goodbye to their dying mother. The play is a portrait of lost dreams, of deeply ingrained patterns of love and hurt within a family, and of suppressed and mutable memories.

I’m joined to explore this major new work by Sean McEvoy, author of Class, Culture and Tragedy in the Plays of Jez Butterworth.

078 – The Lover and The Collection, by Harold Pinter

078 – The Lover and The Collection, by Harold Pinter

We have a double-bill in this episode of two short plays written by Harold Pinter in the early 1960s: The Lover and The Collection, both of which explore sexual compulsion and the manipulation of truth within marriage or partnerships. As we record this episode a new production of both plays is playing at the Theatre Royal in Bath, directed by Lindsay Posner.

I’m delighted to welcome Lindsay back to the podcast to talk about these two Pinter gems.

Claudie Blakley and David Morrissey in The Lover
Photo by Nobby Clark

077 – An Enemy of the People, by Henrik Ibsen

077 – An Enemy of the People, by Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen’s play An Enemy of the People is a fable of truth and lies, politics and power, and the challenge and costs of pursuing an unpopular crusade to speak truth to power. It’s a story of ‘fake news’, manipulation of the media, the dangers of populism, and the environmental cost of capitalism. No wonder it strikes a chord in our time, for as we record this episode there are two major new productions of An Enemy of the People on the world stage.

I’m delighted to welcome back to the podcast, Ibsen expert, Professor Kirsten Shepherd-Barr, who I was privileged to talk with in episode 74 on Ibsen’s play Ghosts

Matt Smith as Thomas Stockmann
Duke of York’s Theatre, London
Photo by Manuel Harlan