(*) Ewa Procter
“O Inoportuno” (or rather, “The Caretaker”, its original title) is one of the most important and best known plays by Harold Pinter. The Brazilian staging I am reviewing now pays homage to one of the most famous theatre writers of the 20th Century, also winner of The Nobel Prize in Literature (2005). I am sure Harold Pinter’s name is familiar to all of you! Pinter was a British actor, director, playwright, poet and scriptwriter. And now, on the 10th anniversary of his death, all of us certainly wish to remember him!
“The Caretaker” was written in 1959, and was staged the following year in London with a huge success. It was due to this play that Pinter started to be known, and soon becoming one of the most respected and discussed playwrights in the entire word until his death in 2008.
Although influenced at first by Samuel Beckett, as well as by Franz Kafka, soon Pinter became one of the masters of the Theatre of the Absurd. In time, he developed his own style, with unique and remarkable characteristics: ambiguity, imminence of disaster, the passing of time, possible truths and lies, memory flaws, as well as, obviously, his famous pauses. “The Caretaker” has all of it, as it is a drama with strokes of both tragedy and comedy, showing the impossibility of communication and dealing with outcasts and lonely characters.
Ary Coslov, director of “O Inoportuno” is probably the greatest expert on Harold Pinter in Brazil! This is the forth work written by Pinter that he directs. Although it has always been his dream to have the opportunity to direct one of Pinter’s works, it was only in 2008 that this dream became true! “Betrayal” (called “Traição” in Brazil), brought Ary Coslov recognition both
from the audience and from the critics, and he received several theatre awards at the time. Although I was not writing for “The Umbrella” in those days, I saw the production and thoroughly enjoyed it! However, on October, 2014, I was able to review for my readers another of Pinter’s plays, called “A Estufa” (“The Hothouse”), also directed by Ary Coslov. You have probably realized by now that I am also a great admirer of Harold Pinter!
When I recently talked to Ary Coslov, he gave me some interesting information about “The Caretaker”: it seems that this play is staged in England about once a year! And that, these days, Harold Pinter is also considered a classic author, although he was born in the 20th Century!
If you are not familiar (or have forgotten) the story of “The Caretaker” here I will give you a short summary. Mick divides his flat with his older brother, Aston. The latter brings in Davies, an old man, probably a beggar whom he had rescued during a fight at a bar. Sorry for the old man, Aston offers him the flat as a shelter, until Davies is able to recover his strength, as well as to manage organizing his lost documents. During the play, as the men are forced to share the space, and to keep closer than they would like to be, their interests, lies and conflicts start to appear, provoking changes in the behavior of all three characters. They move between love and hate, sorrow and repulse, loneliness and sadness.
The three actors who play the roles are Daniel Dantas (Davies), André Junqueira (Aston) and Well Aguiar (Mick). Although the first two are very good, I wish to give an extra mention to Well Aguiar, as Mick, in the most difficult part of the play, where the actor brings us many nuances and changes in behavior, without ever moving away from what the original British character was supposed to be!
All this interesting text is played within the set by Marcos Flaksman. He recreated the chaotic and oppressing world of a decadent room. There are clothes and boxes all over the place, many objects with no use whatsoever, electric home appliances that do not work, and two old beds. The costumes by Kika Lopes have an air of old clothes, although they do not cover any specific period of time. This is due to the fact that this staging eliminated all the references to the after war period, contained in the play. All this brings the audience the right atmosphere, as the play becomes more contemporary. The lighting by Paulo César Medeiros, and the musical selection by Ary Coslov himself, is an added bonus to the evening. And, obviously, Pinter is there for everybody to enjoy his play!
“O Inoportuno” plays at Teatro dos Quatro, inside the Shopping da Gávea, Rua Marquês de São Vicente, 52 – 2nd floor, Gávea, Rio de Janeiro. Telephone number: 2239-1095. Performances take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 09:00 P.M., and on Sundays at 08:00 P.M. The prices are R$ 80,00 (eighty Reais) and R$ 40,00 (forty Reais), the latter for students and senior citizens, at all performances. The play lasts for ninety minutes, and is not advised for young people under the age of twelve. The Teatro dos Quatro seats 402 people, and there is paid parking inside the Shopping. However, if you do not want to drive to the theatre, there are plenty of taxis at the door of the Shopping, once the play is over. “O Inoportuno” opened on the 16th of November, and will run until the 23rd of December. Also an extra performance is scheduled, on the 20th of December, a Thursday.
So, if you miss seeing one of Pinter’s works, here is an excellent opportunity to correct this! Enjoy “O Inoportuno”!
(*) Ewa Procter is a writer and a theatre translator, and
Chair of the Instituto Cultural Chiquinha Gonzaga
Photo by Leo Ornelas.